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why does hamlet say to horatio this quote act one, scene two, l. 179-180: "thrift,...

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hodoo | Student, Undergraduate | eNotes Newbie

Posted April 2, 2007 at 3:20 PM via web

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why does hamlet say to horatio this quote
act one, scene two, l. 179-180:
"thrift, thrift, horatio! the funeral baked meats... the marriage tables."

what would be two siginificances in the quote?

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dedalus | High School Teacher | (Level 1) eNoter

Posted April 2, 2007 at 9:39 PM (Answer #1)

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hamlet is referring to the haste of his mother's new marriage. he captures this hurried affair by saying the funeral meats were turned around and served cold for the marriage- which signifies a very short passage of time (think of turkey sandwiches after thanksgiving).
this also relates to shakespeare's comedy _much ado about nothing_ where a similiar event happened: foods for hero's marriage were served after her (supposed) funeral (when the wedding was called off by claudio).

again it just shows hamlet's bitter disposition towards his mother's hasty remarriage.

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

Posted April 16, 2007 at 6:24 AM (Answer #2)

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This quotation is yet another example of Shakespeare's incredible wit. Not only is Hamlet commenting on the swiftness of his mother's marriage to his uncle, a marriage which he is claiming happened so quickly that the leftovers from Old Hamlet's funeral could be served to the wedding guests, but he is also providing Horatio with a very sarcastic explanation as to why the wedding was so rushed, and that sarcasm reveals his disgust with his mother and uncle at their impatience to marry.

He is saying that it was necessary to rush the wedding in order to save money. According to American Heritage dictionary thrift means "wise economy in the management of money and other resources; frugality."

Of course the royal family would have no need of thrift. So Hamlet's using thrift as an excuse for rushing the wedding is really just showing a distast for his mother's hasty remarriage. He is actually saying that she should have shown enough respect for his father and her dead husband to wait a more suitable amount of time.

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