What are some of the best 15 lines in Hamlet to recite?For my english class, I must memorize at least 15 consecutive lines in Hamlet and we have to recite them in front of our class. I need to find...

What are some of the best 15 lines in Hamlet to recite?

For my english class, I must memorize at least 15 consecutive lines in Hamlet and we have to recite them in front of our class. I need to find a good piece that I can do, but I'm having trouble finding a good passage. Any suggestions?

Expert Answers
literaturenerd eNotes educator| Certified Educator

There are multiple choices regarding the "best 15 lines" to memorize from Shakespeare's play Hamlet.

Deciding which ones to choose to memorize is the hardest thing to do than the memorization itself. What you need to do is decide what makes Hamlet most memorable for you. Is Hamlet a man who speaks only of revenge? Is he a man who seems to be best remembered as one who considers his actions as ones which call for his death?

Regardless of the passage you choose, be sure to read it with emotion. Hamlet was an emotional man. Lack of emotion will work against you in memorization. The greater the connection you have to the lines, the easier the lines will be to memorize and the better the presentation will be.

Based upon this, I have two suggestions for you:

1. The memorable "To be, or not to be" soliloquy found in Act III, Scene i.


2. Hamlet's Revenge monologue found in Act IV, Scene iv.

rienzi | Student

1. from 2.2 Hamlet (15 lines)

The rugged Pyrrhus, like the Hyrcanian beast,'--
it is not so:--it begins with Pyrrhus:--
'The rugged Pyrrhus, he whose sable arms,
Black as his purpose, did the night resemble
When he lay couched in the ominous horse,
Hath now this dread and black complexion smear'd
With heraldry more dismal; head to foot
Now is he total gules; horridly trick'd
With blood of fathers, mothers, daughters, sons,
Baked and impasted with the parching streets,
That lend a tyrannous and damned light
To their lord's murder: roasted in wrath and fire,
And thus o'er-sized with coagulate gore,
With eyes like carbuncles, the hellish Pyrrhus
Old grandsire Priam seeks.'


2. from 4.7 Gertrude (18 lines)

There is a willow grows aslant a brook,
That shows his hoar leaves in the glassy stream;
There with fantastic garlands did she come
Of crow-flowers, nettles, daisies, and long purples
That liberal shepherds give a grosser name,
But our cold maids do dead men's fingers call them:
There, on the pendent boughs her coronet weeds
Clambering to hang, an envious sliver broke;
When down her weedy trophies and herself
Fell in the weeping brook. Her clothes spread wide;
And, mermaid-like, awhile they bore her up:
Which time she chanted snatches of old tunes;
As one incapable of her own distress,
Or like a creature native and indued
Unto that element: but long it could not be
Till that her garments, heavy with their drink,
Pull'd the poor wretch from her melodious lay
To muddy death.

3. from 4.7 Claudius (16 lines)

O, for two special reasons;
Which may to you, perhaps, seem much unsinew'd,
But yet to me they are strong. The queen his mother
Lives almost by his looks; and for myself--
My virtue or my plague, be it either which--
She's so conjunctive to my life and soul,
That, as the star moves not but in his sphere,
I could not but by her. The other motive,
Why to a public count I might not go,
Is the great love the general gender bear him;
Who, dipping all his faults in their affection,
Would, like the spring that turneth wood to stone,
Convert his gyves to graces; so that my arrows,
Too slightly timber'd for so loud a wind,
Would have reverted to my bow again,
And not where I had aim'd them.

4. from 2.1 Polonius (15 lines)

At 'closes in the consequence,' ay, marry;
He closes thus: 'I know the gentleman;
I saw him yesterday, or t' other day,
Or then, or then; with such, or such; and, as you say,
There was a' gaming; there o'ertook in's rouse;
There falling out at tennis:' or perchance,
'I saw him enter such a house of sale,'
Videlicet, a brothel, or so forth.
See you now;
Your bait of falsehood takes this carp of truth:
And thus do we of wisdom and of reach,
With windlasses and with assays of bias,
By indirections find directions out:
So by my former lecture and advice,
Shall you my son. You have me, have you not?

5. from 2.1 Ophelia (14 lines)

He took me by the wrist and held me hard;
Then goes he to the length of all his arm;
And, with his other hand thus o'er his brow,
He falls to such perusal of my face
As he would draw it. Long stay'd he so;
At last, a little shaking of mine arm
And thrice his head thus waving up and down,
He raised a sigh so piteous and profound
As it did seem to shatter all his bulk
And end his being: that done, he lets me go:
And, with his head over his shoulder turn'd,
He seem'd to find his way without his eyes;
For out o' doors he went without their helps,
And, to the last, bended their light on me.