100 Famous Hamlet Quotes By William Shakespeare

Srija Chanda
Jan 29, 2024 By Srija Chanda
Originally Published on Feb 17, 2021
Edited by Monisha Kochhar
Statue of Hamlet William Shakespeares characer.
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Read time: 14.9 Min

'Hamlet: Prince of Denmark' is easily one of the best works of William Shakespeare.

The play has cemented itself as an important piece of world literature. It is also probably the most quoted of all William Shakespeare plays.

The play 'Hamlet' is still a huge part of English literature and has also inspired pop culture. Hamlet made his home in the heart of millions across the world. If you are a die-hard fan of Shakespeare's genius, you will love these 'Hamlet' quotes. 'Hamlet' happens to be one of the most quotable of Shakespeare's plays. Here are the important quotes in 'Hamlet'. These are famous quotes from 'Hamlet' and who said them.

If you like Hamlet quotes, check out 'Hamlet' revenge quotes and 'The Tempest' quotes.

Best Quotes From ‘Hamlet’

Being one of the most important texts that define the English language and literature, 'Hamlet' is a favorite among scholars. The philosophy and tragic beauty behind 'Hamlet' make it one of the best tragedies ever written. And what are tragedies without beautiful dialogues? Here are the best 'Hamlet' quotes. These 'Hamlet' important quotes are some of the most famous Shakespeare quotes you can come across.

1. "Why, then, ’tis none to you, for there is nothing either good or bad but thinking makes it so. To me, it is a prison." - Hamlet.

2. "To die, to sleep— To sleep, perchance to dream." - Hamlet.

3. "The rest is silence." - Hamlet (last words of Hamlet).

4. "The lady doth protest too much, methinks." - Gertrude.

5. "Though this be madness, yet there is method in ’t." - Polonius.

6. "O, woe is me

T’ have seen what I have seen, see what I see!" - Ophelia.

7. "Now cracks a noble heart. Good night, sweet prince,

And flights of angels sing thee to thy rest." - Horatio.

8. "Something is rotten in the state of Denmark." - Marcellus.

9. "My words fly up, my thoughts remain below;

Words without thoughts never to heaven go." - Claudius.

10. "Doubt thou the stars are fire,

Doubt that the sun doth move,

Doubt truth to be a liar,

But never doubt I love." - Hamlet's Letter to Ophelia.

11. "I have heard of your paintings too, well

enough. God hath given you one face, and you

make yourselves another." - Hamlet.

12. "Neither a borrower nor a lender be,

For loan oft loses both itself and friend,

And borrowing dulls the edge of husbandry." - Polonius.

13. "To be or not to be—that is the question." - Hamlet.

14. "There are more things in heaven and earth, Horatio,

Than are dreamt of in your philosophy." - Hamlet.

15. "Therefore, since brevity is the soul of wit,

And tediousness the limbs and outward flourishes,

I will be brief. " - Polonius.

16. "This above all: to thine own self be true,

And it must follow, as the night the day,

Thou canst not then be false to any man." - Polonius.

17. "Alas, poor Yorick! I knew him, Horatio—a fellow of infinite jest, of most excellent fancy." - Hamlet.

18. "Frailty, thy name is woman!" - Hamlet.

19. "The body is with the King, but the King is not with the body." - Hamlet.

20. "O most pernicious woman!

O villain, villain, smiling, damnèd villain!

My tables—meet it is I set it down

That one may smile and smile and be a villain.

At least I am sure it may be so in Denmark." - Hamlet.

21. "For this relief much thanks; 'tis bitter cold

And I am sick at heart." - Francisco.

22. "Not a mouse stirring." Francisco.

23. "O, what a rogue and peasant slave am I!" - Hamlet.

24. "How all occasions do inform against me, and spur my dull revenge."  - Hamlet.

25. "If it be now, 'tis not to come: if it be not to come, it will be now: if it be not now, yet it will come: the readiness is all."  - Hamlet.

26. "You come most carefully upon your hour." - Francisco.

27. "In the most high and palmy state of Rome,

A little ere the mightiest Julius fell,

The graves stood tenantless and the sheeted dead

Did squeak and gibber in the Roman streets." - Horatio.

28. "A little more than kin, and less than kind." - Hamlet (First words by Hamlet to Claudius).

29. "Good Hamlet, cast thy nighted colour off,

And let thine eye look like a friend on Denmark." - Gertrude.

30. "All that live must die,

Passing through nature to eternity."- Gertrude.

31. "Seems," madam? Nay, it is; I know not "seems." - Hamlet (Hamlet to his mother, Gertrude).

32. "A truant disposition, good my lord." - Horatio.

33. "We'll teach you to drink deep ere you depart." - Hamlet.

34. "He was a man, take him for all in all,

I shall not look upon his like again." - Hamlet.

35. "In the dead waste and middle of the night." - Horatio.

36. "A countenance more in sorrow than in anger." - Horatio.

37. "All is not well;

I doubt some foul play; would the night were come!" - Hamlet.

38. "Give it an understanding, but no tongue." - Hamlet.

39. "Foul deeds will rise,

Though all the earth o'erwhelm them, to men's eyes." - Hamlet.

40. "Do not, as some ungracious pastors do,

Show me the steep and thorny way to heaven,

Whiles, like a puffed and reckless libertine,

Himself the primrose path of dalliance treads,

And recks not his own rede. " - Ophelia.

41. "I do not set my life at a pin's fee,

And for my soul, what can it do to that,

Being a thing immortal as itself?" - Hamlet.

42. "Give every man thine ear, but few thy voice;

Take each man's censure, but reserve thy judgment.

Costly thy habit as thy purse can buy,

But not expressed in fancy; rich, not gaudy;

For the apparel oft proclaims the man." - Polonius.

43. "You speak like a green girl,

Unsifted in such perilous circumstance." - Polonius.

44. "When the blood burns, how prodigal the soul

Lends the tongue vows." - Polonius.

45. "Unhand me, gentlemen,

By heaven! I'll make a ghost of him that lets me." - Hamlet.

46. "Revenge his foul and most unnatural murder." - Ghost.

47. "Murder most foul, as in the best it is;

But this most foul, strange, and unnatural." - Ghost.

48. Hamlet: "There's never a villain dwelling in all Denmark

But he 's an arrant knave."

Horatio: "There needs no ghost, my lord, come from the grave

To tell us this."

49. "Every man has business and desire,

Such as it is." - Hamlet.

50. "These are but wild and whirling words, my lord." - Horatio.

51. "O day and night, but this is wondrous strange!" - Horatio.

52. "To put an antic disposition on." - Hamlet.

53. "The time is out of joint; O curs'd spite,

That ever I was born to set it right!" - Hamlet.

54. "Rest, rest, perturbed spirit!" - Hamlet.

55. "Lord Hamlet, with his doublet all unbraced;

No hat upon his head; his stockings fouled,

Ungartered, and down-gyved to his ankle." - Ophelia.

56. "This is the very ecstasy of love." - Polonius.

57. "To define true madness,

What is't but to be nothing else but mad?" - Polonius.

60. "That he is mad, 't is true: 't is true 't is pity;

And pity 't is 't is true." - Polonius.

61. "Lord Hamlet is a prince, out of thy star." - Polonius.

62. Polonius: "Do you know me, my lord?"

Hamlet: "Excellent well; you are a fishmonger."

63. "Ay, sir; to be honest, as this world goes,

is to be one man picked out of ten thousand." - Hamlet.

64. Polonius: "What do you read, my lord?"

Hamlet: "Words, words, words."

65. "They have a plentiful lack of wit." - Hamlet.

66. Polonius: "My honourable lord, I will most humbly take my leave of you."

Hamlet: "You cannot, sir, take from me any thing that

I will more willingly part withal; except my life,

except my life, except my life."

67. "A dream itself is but a shadow." - Hamlet.

68. "O God! I could be bounded in a nut-shell,

and count myself a king of infinite space, were it not that I have bad dreams." - Hamlet.

69. "He that plays the king shall be welcome; his majesty shall have tribute of me." - Hamlet.

70. "There is something in this more than natural, if philosophy could find it out." - Hamlet.

Important 'Hamlet' Quotes

William Shakespeare wax figures

Some 'Hamlet' quotes are so famous that many people in the world know them, regardless of having read the play. An example of such quotes is "To be or not to be". Here are some important 'Hamlet' quotes.

71. "I am but mad north-north-west; when the wind is southerly, I know a hawk from a handsaw." - Hamlet.

72. "One fair daughter and no more,

The which he loved passing well." - Hamlet.

73. "Come, give us a taste of your quality." - Hamlet.

74. "The play, I remember, pleased not the million; 'twas caviare to the general." - Hamlet.

75. "Will you see the players well bestowed? Do you hear, let them be well used; for they are the abstracts and brief chronicles of the time: after your death you were better have a bad epitaph than their ill report while you live." - Hamlet.

76. "Use every man after his desert, and who should 'scape whipping?" - Hamlet.

77. "I, A dull and muddy-mettled rascal, peak,

Like John-a-dreams, unpregnant of my cause,

And can say nothing." - Hamlet.

78. "Am I a coward?

Who calls me villain? breaks my pate across?

Plucks off my beard and blows it in my face?

Tweaks me by the nose? gives me the lie i' the throat,

As deep as to the lungs?" - Hamlet.

79. "For murder, though it have no tongue, will speak

With most miraculous organ." - Hamlet.

80. "The devil hath power

To assume a pleasing shape." - Hamlet.

81. "The play's the thing

Wherein I'll catch the conscience of the king." - Hamlet.

82. 'Tis too much proved--that with devotion's visage

And pious action, we do sugar o'er

The devil himself." - Polonius.

83. "Rich gifts wax poor when givers prove unkind." - Ophelia.

84. "I am myself indifferent honest." - Hamlet.

85. "Be thou as chaste as ice, as pure as snow, thou shalt not escape calumny. Get thee to a nunnery, go." - Hamlet.

86. "I say, we will have no more marriages." - Hamlet.

87. "Now see that noble and most sovereign reason,

Like sweet bells jangled, out of tune and harsh." - Ophelia.

88. "I have thought some of Nature's journeymen had made men and not made them well, they imitated humanity so abominably." - Hamlet.

89. "No, let the candied tongue lick absurd pomp,

And crook the pregnant hinges of the knee

Where thrift may follow fawning." - Hamlet.

90. "A man that fortune's buffets and rewards

Hast ta'en with equal thanks." - Hamlet.

91. "Give me that man

That is not passion's slave, and I will wear him

In my heart's core, ay, in my heart of heart,

As I do thee." Hamlet.

92. "It is a damn'd ghost we have seen,

And my imaginations are as foul

As Vulcan's stithy." - Hamlet.

93. "Nay, then, let the devil wear black, for I 'll have a suit of sables." - Hamlet.

94. "For, O, for, O, the hobby-horse is forgot." - Hamlet.

95. Ophelia: "'Tis brief, my lord."

Hamlet: "As woman's love."

96. "What! frighted with false fire?" - Hamlet.

97. "Let me be cruel, not unnatural;

I will speak daggers to her, but use none." - Hamlet.

98. "They fool me to the top of my bent." - Hamlet.

99. "By and by is easily said." - Hamlet.

100. "O, my offence is rank, it smells to heaven;

It hath the primal eldest curse upon 't,

A brother's murder." - Cladius.

101."For in that sleep of death what dreams may come,

When we have shuffled off this mortal coil,

Must give us pause." - Hamlet.

102. "Soft you now,

The fair Ophelia.—Nymph, in thy orisons

Be all my sins remembered." - Hamlet.

103. "We fat all creatures else to fat us, and we fat ourselves for maggots." - Hamlet.

104. "Her death was doubtful,

And, but that great command o’ersways the order,

She should in ground unsanctified been lodged

Till the last trumpet." - Priest.

105. "O, my offense is rank, it smells to heaven;

It hath the primal eldest curse upon ’t,

A brother’s murder." - Claudius.

106. "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!" - Hamlet.

107. "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?" - Hamlet.

108. "I loved Ophelia. Forty thousand brothers

Could not with all their quantity of love

Make up my sum. What wilt thou do for her?" - Hamlet.

109. "How all occasions do inform against me

And spur my dull revenge." - Hamlet.

110. "So, again, good night.

I must be cruel only to be kind.

This bad begins, and worse remains behind." - Hamlet.

111. "But, to my mind, though I am native here

And to the manner born, it is a custom

More honored in the breach than the observance." - Hamlet.

112. "What if it tempt you toward the flood, my lord?

Or to the dreadful summit of the cliff

That beetles o’er his base into the sea,

And there assume some other horrible form

Which might deprive your sovereignty of reason

And draw you into madness?" - Horatio.

113. "This bodes some strange eruption to our state." - Horatio.

114. "Taint not thy mind, nor let thy soul contrive

Against thy mother aught. Leave her to heaven

And to those thorns that in her bosom lodge

To prick and sting her." - Ghost of King Hamlet.

115. "For anything so o’erdone is from the purpose

of playing, whose end, both at the first and

now, was and is to hold, as ’twere, the mirror up to

nature, to show virtue her own feature, scorn her

own image, and the very age and body of the time

his form and pressure." - Hamlet.

116. "This physic but prolongs thy sickly days." - Hamlet.

117. "I’ll have these players

Play something like the murder of my father

Before mine uncle. I’ll observe his looks;

I’ll tent him to the quick. If he do blench,

I know my course." - Hamlet.

118. "Mad as the sea and wind when both contend

Which is the mightier." - Gertrude.

119. "If thou didst ever hold me in thy heart,

Absent thee from felicity awhile

And in this harsh world draw thy breath in pain

To tell my story." - Hamlet.

120. "Let four captains

Bear Hamlet like a soldier to the stage,

For he was likely, had he been put on,

To have proved most royal; and for his passage,

The soldier’s music and the rite of war

Speak loudly for him." - Fortinbras.

121. "Now might I do it pat, now he is praying." - Hamlet.

122. "How now! a rat? Dead, for a ducat, dead!" - Hamlet.

123. "bloody deed! almost as bad, good mother,

As kill a king, and marry with his brother." - Hamlet.

124. "You can't call it love, for at your age

The hey-day in the blood is tame, it's humble." - Hamlet.

125. "Speak no more;

Thou turn'st mine eyes into my very soul." - Gertrude.

126. "For in the fatness of these pursy times,

Virtue itself of vice must pardon beg." - Hamlet.

127. "For 'tis the sport to have the engineer

Hoist with his own petard." - Hamlet.

128. "Diseases desperate grown,

By desperate appliances are relieved,

Or not at all." - Claudius.

129. "A man may fish with the worm that hath eat of a king, and eat of the fish that hath fed of that worm." - Hamlet.

130. "We go to gain a little patch of ground,

That hath in it no profit but the name." - Captain.

131. "Lord! we know what we are, but know not what we may be." - Ophelia.

132. "When sorrows come, they come not single spies,

But in battalions." - Claudius.

133. "That we would do

We should do when we would." - Claudius.

134. "And where the offence is let the great axe fall." - Claudius.

135. "How absolute the knave is! we must speak by the card, or equivocation will undo us." - Hamlet.

136. "No place, indeed should murder sanctuarize." - Claudius.

137. "Lay her i' the earth:

And from her fair and unpolluted flesh

May violets spring!" - Laertes.

138. "Sweets to the sweet: farewell!" - Gertrude.

139. "There's a divinity that shapes our ends,

Rough-hew them how we will." Hamlet.

140. "The bravery of his grief did put me

Into a towering passion." - Hamlet.

141. "I have shot mine arrow o'er the house,

And hurt my brother." - Hamlet.

142. "Why, as a woodcock to mine own springe, Osric;

I am justly killed with my own treachery." - Laertes.

143. "Report me and my cause aright

To the unsatisfied." - Hamlet

144. "I am more an antique Roman than a Dane." - Horatio

145. "Now cracks a noble heart. Good-night, sweet prince,

And flights of angels sing thee to thy rest!" - Horatio

146. "If thou didst ever hold me in thy heart,

Absent thee from felicity awhile,

And in this harsh world draw thy breath in pain,

To tell my story." - Hamlet

146. "I once did hold it, as our statists do,

A baseness to write fair." - Hamlet

147. "I thought thy bride-bed to have decked, sweet maid,

And not have strewed thy grave." - Gertrude

148. "To what base uses we may return, Horatio! Why may not imagination trace the noble dust of Alexander, till we find it stopping a bung-hole?" - Hamlet

149. "There is no ancient gentlemen but gardeners, ditchers and grave-makers; they hold up Adam's profession." - The First Gravedigger

150. "Sweets to the sweet: farewell!" - Gertrude

Here at Kidadl, we have carefully created lots of interesting family-friendly quotes for everyone to enjoy! If you liked our suggestions for famous Hamlet quotes, then why not take a look at 'The Taming of the Shrew' quotes or 'King Lear' quotes.

second image credit: Massimo Todaro / Shutterstock.com

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Written by Srija Chanda

Master of Arts specializing in Mass Communication/Media Studies

Srija Chanda picture

Srija ChandaMaster of Arts specializing in Mass Communication/Media Studies

An aspiring media professional, Srija is currently pursuing her Master's degree in Mass Communication at St. Xavier's University, Kolkata, after completing her degree in journalism. With experience in PR and social media, she has also honed her leadership skills through her participation in a youth parliament. Srija's interests include devouring books, watching movies, and exploring new places through travel.

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