act 2 scene 2

what is significant about hamlets lines "i am but man north-northwest: when the wind is sountherly i know a hawk from a handsaw"  

Asked by
Last updated by Roskolnikov
Answers 1
Add Yours

This question has been answered on this very forum!

Hamlet wishes to point out that there is method and cunning behind his "madness." THe imagery involves bad weather and hunting birds. Beyond the chaos, Hamlet is saying that he knows a hunting hawk from a hunted "handsaw" or heron. Hamlet means that he is able to distinguish his enemies and friends. This pointed comment is meant for his "friends" Rosencrantz and Guildenstern.