Hamlet Questions and Answers
by William Shakespeare

Hamlet book cover
Start Your Free Trial

What is the significance of the following quote from Shakespeare's Hamlet: . . . let not ever / The soul of Nero enter this firm bosom / Let me be cruel,...

What is the significance of the following quote from Shakespeare's Hamlet:

. . . let not ever
The soul of Nero enter this firm bosom
Let me be cruel, not unnatural.

Expert Answers info

David Morrison eNotes educator | Certified Educator

calendarEducator since 2017

write11,189 answers

starTop subjects are Literature, History, and Law and Politics

This quotation encapsulates Hamlet's dilemma in a nutshell. On the one hand, he wants to exact a bloody, terrible revenge on all those who've wronged him—especially Claudius, the man who murdered his father. Deep down, he often wishes he could be like the tyrannical Roman Emperor Nero, a man renowned for his cruelty.

On the other hand, Hamlet still takes the ideal of a Christian prince seriously enough to pull back from the brink and not let his desire for revenge consume him to the point where he becomes someone and something he isn't.

To a large extent, it's Hamlet's desire to avoid becoming another Nero that is responsible for his notorious procrastination. Instead of dashing off to the palace and killing Claudius when he finds out he was responsible for murdering his father, he bides his time for what seems like an...

(The entire section contains 3 answers and 437 words.)

Unlock This Answer Now


Further Reading:

check Approved by eNotes Editorial

Gretchen Mussey eNotes educator | Certified Educator

calendarEducator since 2015

write10,189 answers

starTop subjects are Literature, History, and Law and Politics



Further Reading:

check Approved by eNotes Editorial

Alec Cranford eNotes educator | Certified Educator

calendarEducator since 2011

write5,851 answers

starTop subjects are Literature, History, and Social Sciences

check Approved by eNotes Editorial