Please explain the following quotation: "So oft it chances ... To his own scandal."I want to know some literary terms like irony and simile. Are they in this quote?

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sullymonster eNotes educator| Certified Educator

Hamlet here, as he does so often in this play, is expounding on the nature and behavior of man.  He says here that so often, men are born with a particular fault.  He admits that the fault is not to be blamed on the man himself, for no one can pre-choose the characteristics that make up his person.  However, this fault is so destructive that, no matter how good the man is otherwise, it will always taint the behavior and bring down the good name of that man.  Hamlet, here, is referring to Claudius, Gertrude, and himself, as well as foreshadowing the destruction of all three that the play will bring about.

Besides foreshadowing, Shakespeare uses many similes and metaphors:  Calling the fault a "vicious mole" of nature and a "dram of eale"; saying that even if a man be "as pure as grace"; referring to a man's intellect as a "fort" of reason. 

Shakespeare's complex studies of human nature, as especially portrayed in such plays as Macbeth and Hamlet, were forebearers of character-centered novels and plays.  Shakespeare was the ground-breaking writer that abadoned the larger than life epic stories for more realistic and multifaceted tales of the human condition, opening the door for such writers as Charles Dickens, Jane Austen, and the majority of 20th century authors.

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