Hamlet Questions and Answers
by William Shakespeare

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In act 1, scene 4, what does Hamlet mean by saying, "I do not set . . . immortal as itself"?

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Maud Scarbrough eNotes educator | Certified Educator

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The full quote is as follows:

Why, what should I fear?

I do not set my life in a pin's fee

And for my soul—what can it do to that

Being a thing as immortal as itself?

It waves me forth again. I'll follow it.

In the scene, the ghost of Hamlet's father is beckoning him to follow. Horatio and Marcellus advise him against it, saying that it may lead him to the sea or to the "dreadful summit of the cliff," but Hamlet says he has nothing to fear. Even if the ghost could do damage to his soul, which as an immortal Hamlet says it can't, Hamlet doesn't...

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