Hamlet Act 4 Scene 5 Analysis Essay


She speaks much of her father, says she hears

There’s tricks i' th' world, and hems, and beats her heart,

Spurns enviously at straws, speaks things in doubt

That carry but half sense. Her speech is nothing,

Yet the unshaped use of it doth move

The hearers to collection. They aim at it,

And botch the words up fit to their own thoughts,

Which, as her winks and nods and gestures yield them,

Indeed would make one think there might be thought,

Though nothing sure, yet much unhappily.


She talks about her father a lot, and says she hears there are conspiracies around the world, and coughs, and beats her breast, and gets angry over tiny matters, and talks nonsense. Her words don’t mean anything, but her babbling causes her listeners to draw conclusions. They hear what they want to hear. Her winks and nods and gestures do suggest that she means to convey a message, and not a happy one.


    Oh, for two special reasons,

Which may to you perhaps seem much unsinewed,

But yet to me they are strong. The queen his mother

Lives almost by his looks, and for myself—

My virtue or my plague, be it either which—

She’s so conjunctive to my life and soul,

That, as the star moves not but in his sphere,

I could not but by her. The other motive

Why to a public count I might not go,

Is the great love the general gender bear him,

Who, dipping all his faults in their affection,

Would, like the spring that turneth wood to stone,

Convert his gyves to graces—so that my arrows,

Too slightly timbered for so loud a wind,

Would have reverted to my bow again,

And not where I had aimed them.


Oh, for two main reasons which may seem weak to you, but strong to me. The queen, his mother, is devoted to him. And (for better or worse, whichever it is) she is such a part of my life and soul that I can’t live apart from her, any more than a planet can leave its orbit. The other reason why I couldn’t prosecute and arrest Hamlet is that the public loves him. In their affection they overlook all his faults. Like magic, they convert them into virtues, so whatever I said against him would end up hurting me, not him.

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