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What are some quotes that reveal Hamlet's attitude of superiority?

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pozziezozziegirl | Student, Undergraduate | eNotes Newbie

Posted December 21, 2008 at 9:56 AM via web

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What are some quotes that reveal Hamlet's attitude of superiority?

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mwestwood | College Teacher | (Level 3) Distinguished Educator

Posted December 21, 2008 at 12:22 PM (Answer #1)

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In a recent television documentary, it was reported that psychologists concur that people who are realistic would be diagnosed as clinically depressed. Hamlet is such a person; he perceives the true nature of the characters in Shakespeare's play.  And, because he is so realistic, Hamlet descends into deep melancholia and feelings of isolation.  In his attempt to reclaim being--"to be, or not to be"--Hamlet lashes out cynically at the foibles of those who have contributed to the making of "something....rotten in Denmark." 

For one, Hamlet is repulsed by Polonius, calling him "a hypocrite" and a "wretched, rash, intruding fool" (iii,iv,33-32-33).

Dismissing Rosencrantz and Guildenstern, former friends, as hypocrites, also, Hamlet calls Rosencrantz a "sponge" (IV.ii,12):

But such officers [as you] do the king best service in the end.  he keeps them like an apple in the corner of his jaw, first mouthed to be last swallowed.  When he needs what you have gleaned [by getting information from me], it is but squeezing you and, sponge, you shall be dry again(Iv,ii,15-18).

Also subject to Hamlet's superior accusations of hypocrisy, Gertrude asks her son, "What have I done that thou dar'st wag thy tongue/In noise so rude against me?" (III,iv,40-41)  And, Hamlet replies, showing her a picture of his father, reminding her of King Hamlet's majesty, comparing him to Claudius. 

Ha, have you eyes?You cannot call it love, for at your age/The heyday in the blood is tame...What devil was't/..Eyes without feeling, feeling without sight...(III,iv,68-79)

The queen tells Hamlet that his criticism of her, his words are "like daggers [that]enter in my ears...(III,iv,96).  And, certainly Hamlet is cruel to Ophelia, yet later he declares his love for her. (I'm out of room)

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