Hamlet Questions and Answers
by William Shakespeare

Hamlet book cover
Start Your Free Trial

Review the following quote from Shakespeare's Hamlet: "What a piece of work is man - how noble in reason and infinite in faculties."   What can I write about it in essay?

Expert Answers info

Susan Smith eNotes educator | Certified Educator

calendarEducator since 2009

write713 answers

starTop subjects are Literature and Social Sciences

You might use this quote to explore the way Hamlet thinks.  The quote occurs in Act 2, scene 2 when Hamlet is talking with Rosencrantz and Guildenstern, who have been sent to spy on him.  The quote is key to understanding Hamlet's character as well as some of the major themes in the play.

For an essay, you might address the idealistic view of mankind expressed in the quotation.  It defines man as a magnificent machine, able to perform wondrous acts.  Yet, the purpose of this machine is not clear.  Hamlet questions the use of such gloriousness:

And yet to me what is this quintessence of dust?

Is the machine to be used to plot and kill a brother, as did Claudius?  Is it to be used to plot revenge for the murder of a father, as is Hamlet's mission?  What purpose fits the beauty of the machine?

Here is the question that plagues Hamlet throughout the play.  What is man's purpose?  And what is Hamlet's purpose in particular?  And suppose there is no true purpose--that man is artfully created,...

(The entire section contains 2 answers and 1,007 words.)

Unlock This Answer Now


check Approved by eNotes Editorial

booboosmoosh eNotes educator | Certified Educator

calendarEducator since 2003

write4,119 answers

starTop subjects are Literature, History, and Social Sciences

check Approved by eNotes Editorial