Act 2, Sc. 2, lines 298-316: What contrasts are there in the images Hamlet uses to develop this passage?

Hamlet. the earth seems to me a sterile promontory, this most

excellent canopy air, look you, this brave o'erhanging

firmament, this majestical roof fretted with golden fire, why,

it appeareth nothing to me but a foul and pestilent

congregation of vapours. What a piece of work is a man, how

noble in reason, how infinite in faculties, in form and

moving how express and admirable, in action how like an

angel, in apprehension how like a god: the beauty of the

world, the paragon of animals - and yet, to me, what is this

quintessence of dust? Man delights not me - no, nor woman

neither, though by your smiling you seem to say so.

Rosencrantz. My lord, there was no such stuff in my


Hamlet. Why did ye laugh then, when I said man delights not me?

Rosencrantz. To think, my lord, if you delight not in man,

what Lenten entertainment the players shall recieve from you.

We coted them on the way, and hither are they coming

to offer you service.

Asked by
Last updated by Aslan
Answers 1
Add Yours

Hamlet uses the fresh coastal Danish air and sky to contrast the inner workings of the Danish monarchy. He compares Denmark to a prison full of poisonous and foul air.