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October 19, 2005

Incestuous Sheets

Shakespeare, Hamlet (Acts 1 & 2) -- Drama as Literature (EL 250)

....O, God! a beast, that wants discourse of reason,
Would have mourn'd longer--married with my uncle,
My father's brother, but no more like my father
Than I to Hercules: within a month:
Ere yet the salt of most unrighteous tears
Had left the flushing in her galled eyes,
She married. O, most wicked speed, to post
With such dexterity to incestuous sheets!

It is not nor it cannot come to good:
But break, my heart; for I must hold my tongue.

This is defintly one of my favorite lines in the play, especially the bolded part. I read Hamlet last year in AP English and enjoyed it a lot. A lot of the quotes were familiar to me, but this one stuck out moreso than others. I like how Hamlet puts into words how his mother moved on so quickly.

Posted by AmandaNichols at October 19, 2005 08:17 PM

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I agree with you Amanda. I got the feeling also that he did not really approve of his mother moving on and wanting to marry her husbands brother. In a way it is wrong. I talked a little about this on my blog. But I'm writing my reflection on this topic.

Posted by: Denamarie at October 19, 2005 10:41 PM

I agree as well Amanda. His mother moved on so fast to Claudius that he never really had time to adjust to the loss. I agree with Denamarie about how it is wrong in a sense. I don't understand how one can have a loss like that and then move on to his brother so quickly.

Posted by: Danielle Meyer at October 20, 2005 01:34 PM


That is a wonderful point. In the play, Claudius also rubs this in to Hamlet alot. Take a look at my blog sometime, that is what I wrote about for this first act.

Good job, Miss Amanda!

Posted by: Katie Aikins at October 20, 2005 03:02 PM

The incestuous sheets part really got my attention. It is obvious that Hamlet's mom was comitting incest, but it made me feel bad for him. I feel sympathy for Hamlet through the actions of his family.

Posted by: Rachel Prichard at October 20, 2005 03:53 PM

Look at the way he goes after his mother in the bedroom scene. She had nothing to do with his father's murder, but he's attacking her almost as if she had been a part of it.

It may be a fault of his - the fact that he gets distracted from the real culprit to go after the moral misgivings of his mother since she married Claudius so quickly. Also because she went from a noble man to a horrible man.

Posted by: Kayla Sawyer at October 20, 2005 04:35 PM

Having read Hamlet before, I am sure you are familiar with the idea that Hamlet has an Oedipus complex. I was curious of what you thought about it. I personally think that is taking it overboard, like you all said, it is natural for Hamlet to be upset about his mother remarrying so soon. I would be upset if I was in his position too. Actually, their quick marriage you wonder whether there might have been something between Claudius and Gertrude before the King was killed.

Posted by: Lorin Schumacher at October 20, 2005 07:28 PM

I really like that quote a lot too Amanda. It's so powerful!

Posted by: Chera Pupi at October 20, 2005 07:45 PM

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