Shakespeare Quotes

The time is out of joint

Hamlet:
Let us go in together,
And still your fingers on your lips, I pray.
The time is out of joint—O cursèd spite,
That ever I was born to set it right!
Nay, come, let's go together.

Hamlet Act 1, scene 5, 186–190

To Hamlet, the state of affairs (the "time") in Denmark resembles a dislocated shoulder, "out of joint." He sees himself as the physician who will have to operate on the crippled kingdom not just by setting the bones, but also by removing a cancer: King Claudius.

The dour Dane mutters these sentiments after encountering his father's ghost. We have seen that he is already plotting the way to "heal" the time—by first pretending to be sick himself [see ANTIC DISPOSITION]. But while he speaks to his companions with resolution, in these remarks which end the first act he betrays feelings of resentment and unfitness to the task. These feelings will become the subject of his greatest soliloquies.

Themes: revenge, expressions and idioms, time

Speakers: Hamlet