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"Goodnight Sweet Prince" - What is the meaning behind this quote from Hamlet? A...

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racin89scot | eNotes Newbie

Posted October 9, 2007 at 2:10 PM via web

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"Goodnight Sweet Prince" - What is the meaning behind this quote from Hamlet? A cover-up to a murder? A suicide?

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mitchrich4199 | High School Teacher | (Level 1) Associate Educator

Posted January 24, 2011 at 6:56 PM (Answer #3)

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This line is Horatio's tribute to his dead friend and prince, Hamlet. It comes directly after Hamlet's final line of the play:

O, I die, Horatio;
The potent poison quite o'er-crows my spirit:
I cannot live to hear the news from England;
But I do prophesy the election lights
On Fortinbras: he has my dying voice;
So tell him, with the occurrents, more and less,
Which have solicited. The rest is silence.

Hamlet dies not knowing what the fate of Rosencrantz and Guildenstern was, but knowing that Fortinbras has come from Norway and will take over Denmark as its King. Horatio replies, to the audience and the surrounding crowd on the stage:

Now cracks a noble heart. Good night sweet prince:
And flights of angels sing thee to thy rest!

He is merely saying goodbye to his friend. Horatio is the only person in the play who understands Hamlet's "noble heart," so it is fitting that he is the person who sends him to heaven in eloquence.

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goodnightquotes | Student, Grade 10 | eNotes Newbie

Posted March 19, 2011 at 12:30 AM (Answer #4)

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He is merely saying goodbye to his friend. It's out of respect of Horatio's death.

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rondog91 | eNoter

Posted June 10, 2011 at 6:14 PM (Answer #5)

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Goodnightquotes,

I believe you made a mistake by saying Horatio's death.  As I am sure you know, it is Horatio's line directed, with respect, to his dead friend Hamlet.

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