Shakespeare Quotes

More in sorrow than in anger

Hamlet:
Then saw you not his face.

Horatio:
O yes, my lord, he wore his beaver up.

Hamlet:
What, look'd he frowningly?

Horatio:
A countenance more
In sorrow than in anger.

Hamlet Act 1, scene 2, 229–232

There's been a ghost prowling around outside the castle at Elsinore, and Hamlet's friend Horatio has gotten a good look at him. The ghost hasn't been wearing a rodent around his face, as Horatio's description might suggest: he wore his "beaver" (the visor of his helmet) raised, so Horatio recognized the host as Hamlet's father, and noted his expression. Horatio uses "more in sorrow than in anger" as an adjectival phrase, to describe a thing (a face); we use it, and its like, as an adverbial phrase, to describe an action ("She did such-and-such more in sorrow than in anger"). Either way, someone we expect to be furious (and it's not clear why Horatio should expect this) manifests a disarming sadness. When the ghost finally appears to Hamlet, however, his anger pretty much blots out his sorrow.

Themes: supernatural phenomena, marriage

Speakers: Hamlet, Horatio