1. Sc. 2, Lines 129–159: What does this speech reveal about the reason for Hamlet’s attitude toward Claudius and his mother? What does he resolve to do about this situation?
Hamlet. O, that this too, too sullied flesh would melt, Thaw, and resolve itself into a dew, Or that the Everlasting had not fixed His canon ’gainst self-slaughter! O God, God, How weary, stale, f lat, and unprofitable Seem to me all the uses of this world! Fie on ’t, ah fie! ’Tis an unweeded garden That grows to seed. Things rank and gross in nature Possess it merely. That it should come to this: But two months dead—nay, not so much, not two. So excellent a king, that was to this Hyperion to a satyr; so loving to my mother That he might not beteem the winds of heaven Visit her face too roughly. Heaven and earth, Must I remember? Why, she would hang on him As if increase of appetite had grown By what it fed on. And yet, within a month (Let me not think on ’t; frailty, thy name is woman!), A little month, or ere those shoes were old With which she followed my poor father’s body, Like Niobe, all tears—why she, even she (O God, a beast that wants discourse of reason Would have mourned longer!), married with my uncle
2. Sc. 2, Lines 160–184: How do you know that Hamlet thinks highly of Horatio? Explain Hamlet’s mocking, ironic humor in lines 178–179. Paraphrase lines 181–182 and explain the element of humor in Hamlet’s words here. Why might Hamlet joke like this with Horatio? What do his wisecracks about his mother’s wedding reveal about him?
[Enter Horatio, Marcellus, and Barnardo.]
Horatio. Hail to your lordship.
Hamlet. I am glad to see you well. Horatio—or I do forget myself!
Horatio. The same, my lord, and your poor servant ever.
Hamlet. Sir, my good friend. I’ll change that name with you. And what make you from Wittenberg, Horatio?—Marcellus?
Marcellus. My good lord.
Hamlet. I am very glad to see you. [To Barnardo.] Good even, sir.— But what, in faith, make you from Wittenberg?
Horatio. A truant disposition, good my lord.
Hamlet. I would not hear your enemy say so, Nor shall you do my ear that violence To make it truster of your own report Against yourself. I know you are no truant. But what is your affair in Elsinore? We’ll teach you to drink deep ere you depart.
Horatio. My lord, I came to see your father’s funeral.
Hamlet. I prithee, do not mock me, fellow student. I think it was to see my mother’s wedding.
Horatio. Indeed, my lord, it followed hard upon.
Hamlet. Thrift, thrift, Horatio. The funeral baked meats Did coldly furnish forth the marriage tables. Would I had met my dearest foe in heaven Or ever I had seen that day, Horatio!