I need one good speech in Act IV of Hamlet. The speech has to give a "cause and effect" explanation to the audience of Shakespeare's time.It can be regarding social, cultural or economic values. I...

I need one good speech in Act IV of Hamlet. The speech has to give a "cause and effect" explanation to the audience of Shakespeare's time.

It can be regarding social, cultural or economic values.

I have to expand on that one speech

Thanks

Asked on by ufcfan

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hi1954's profile pic

hi1954 | Teacher | (Level 1) Associate Educator

Posted on

There are really only two great "speeches" in Act IV of Hamlet, one by Hamlet and one by the King.  The King's speech, in IV.5, which begins "O, this is the poison of deep grief," gives a sort of synopsis of the situation at this point in the play.  Hamlet's speech in IV.4, lines 32 through the end, is probably more what you're after.  This is the speech with the lines

"Rightly to be great

Is not to stir without great argument,

But greatly to find quarrel in a straw

When honor's at the stake."

jillyfish's profile pic

jillyfish | Student, Undergraduate | (Level 1) Valedictorian

Posted on

Act IV, Scene IV. Hamlet has just witnessed Fortinbras, the man of action, set off to fight a meanigless war against Poland for pride's sake only. Halet is impressed and makes this long speech about what it means to act like a man...

What is a man,(35)
If his chief good and market of his time
Be but to sleep and feed? A beast, no more.
Sure, he that made us with such large discourse,
Looking before and after, gave us not
That capability and godlike reason(40)
To fust in us unused. Now, whether it be
Bestial oblivion, or some craven scruple
Of thinking too precisely on the event—
A thought which, quarter'd, hath but one part wisdom
And ever three parts coward—I do not know(45)
Why yet I live to say 'This thing's to do,'
Sith I have cause, and will, and strength, and means
To do't. Examples gross as earth exhort me.
Witness this army, of such mass and charge,
Led by a delicate and tender prince,(50)
Whose spirit with divine ambition puff'd,
Makes mouths at the invisible event,
Exposing what is mortal and unsure
To all that fortune, death, and danger dare,
Even for an eggshell. Rightly to be great(55)
Is not to stir without great argument,
But greatly to find quarrel in a straw
When honour's at the stake. How stand I then,
That have a father kill'd, a mother stain'd,
Excitements of my reason and my blood,(60)
And let all sleep, while to my shame I see
The imminent death of twenty thousand men
That for a fantasy and trick of fame
Go to their graves like beds, fight for a plot
Whereon the numbers cannot try the cause,(65)
Which is not tomb enough and continent
To hide the slain? O, from this time forth,
My thoughts be bloody, or be nothing worth!

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