BM1 - Introduction to Literature - Assignment 2: Hamlet

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Please address the following tasks!

Format your text according to the directions given on the style sheet!

You may write up to three pages of text, using complete sentences only. Longer assignments will not be accepted!

  1. Analyse the communicative situation in this dialogue (refer to the version from the first quarto). Concentrate on form, length of individual speeches, interruptions and the domination of one speaker or idea.
  2. What do you find out about Hamlet's and Ophelia's characters in this passage? Identify different modes of characterisation and analyse their effect. Do the differences between the first and second quarto versions produce differences in the respective characterisations?
  3. Discuss different options of accounting for Hamlet's behaviour in this scene in the light of your knowledge of the entire play.

Hamlet, First Quarto Edition (1603), E1 r-v/ cf. 3rd. Arden Edition: 3.1.102-148

    Ham.   Are you honest?
    Ofel.   What meanes my Lord?
    Ham.   That if you be faire and honest,
Your beauty should admit no discourse to your honesty.
    Ofel.   My Lord, can beauty haue better priuiledge than with honesty?
    Ham.   Yea mary may it; for Beauty may transforme
Honesty, from what she was into a bawd:
Then Honesty can transforme Beauty:
This was sometimes a Paradox,
But now the time giues it scope.
I neuer gaue you nothing.
    Ofel.   My Lord, you know right well you did,
And with them such earnest vowes of loue,
As would haue moou’d the stoniest breast aliue,
But now too true I finde,
Rich giftes waxe poore, when giuers grow vnkinde.
    Ham.   I neuer loued you.
    Ofel.   You made me beleeue you did.|<E1v>
    Ham.   O thou shouldst not a beleeued me!
Go to a Nunnery goe, why shouldst thou
Be a breeder of sinners? I am my selfe indifferent honest,
But I could accuse my selfe of such crimes
It had beene better my mother had ne’re borne me,
O I am very prowde, ambitious, disdainefull,
With more sinnes at my becke, then I haue thoughts
To put them in, what should such fellowes as I
Do, crawling between heauen and earth?
To a Nunnery goe, we are arrant knaues all,
Beleeue none of vs, to a Nunnery goe.
    Ofel.   O heauens secure him!
    Ham.   Wher’s thy father?
    Ofel.   At home my lord.
    Ham.   For Gods sake let the doores be shut on him,
He may play the foole no where but in his
Owne house: to a Nunnery goe.
    Ofel.   Help him good God.
    Ham.   If thou dost marry, Ile giue thee
This plague to thy dowry:
Be thou as chaste as yce, as pure as snowe,
Thou shalt not scape calumny, to a Nunnery goe.
    Ofel.   Alas, what change is this?
    Ham.   But if thou wilt needes marry, marry a foole,
For wisemen know well enough,
What monsters you make of them, to a Nunnery goe.
    Ofel.   Pray God restore him.
    Ham.   Nay, I haue heard of your paintings too,
God hath giuen you one face,
And you make your selues another,
You fig, and you amble, and you nickname Gods creatures,
Making your wantonnesse, your ignorance,
A pox, t’is scuruy, Ile no more of it,
It hath made me madde: Ile no more marriages,
All that are married but one, shall liue,
The rest shall keepe as they are, to a Nunnery goe,
To a Nunnery goe.|<E2>    


Second Quarto Edition (1604)

    Ham.  Ha, ha, are you honest.
    Oph.  My Lord.
    Ham.  Are you faire?
    Oph.  What meanes your Lordship?
    Ham.  That if you be honest & faire, you should admit
no discourse to your beautie.
    Oph.  Could beauty my Lord haue better comerse
Then with honestie?
    Ham.  I truly, for the power of beautie will sooner transforme ho-
nestie from what it is to a bawde, then the force of honestie can trans-
late beautie into his likenes, this was sometime a paradox, but now the
time giues it proofe, I did loue you once.
    Oph.  Indeed my Lord you made me belieue so.
    Ham.  You should not haue beleeu'd me, for vertue cannot so
euocutat our old stock, but we shall relish of it, I loued you not.
    Oph.  Prince of Denmarke.
    Oph.  I was the more deceiued.
    Ham.  Get thee a Nunry, why would'st thou be a breeder of sin-
ners, I am my selfe indifferent honest, but yet I could accuse mee of
such things, that it were better my Mother had not borne mee: I am
very proude, reuengefull, ambitious, with more offences at my beck,
then I haue thoughts to put them in, imagination to giue them shape,
or time to act them in: what should such fellowes as I do crauling be-
tweene earth and heauen, wee are arrant knaues, beleeue none of vs,
goe thy waies to a Nunry. Where's your father?
    Oph.  At home my Lord.
    Ham.  Let the doores be shut vpon him,
That he may play the foole no where but in's owne house,
    Oph.  O helpe him you sweet heauens.
    Ham.  If thou doost marry, Ile giue thee this plague for thy dow-
rie, be thou as chast as yce, as pure as snow, thou shalt not escape ca-
lumny; get thee to a Nunry, farewell. Or if thou wilt needes marry,
marry a foole, for wise men knowe well enough what monsters you
make of them: to a Nunry goe, and quickly to, farewell.
    Oph.  Heauenly powers restore him.
    Ham.  I haue heard of your paintings well enough, God hath gi-
uen you one face, and you make your selfes another, you gig & am-
ble, and you list you nickname Gods creatures, and make your wan-
tonnes ignorance; goe to, Ile no more on't, it hath made me madde,
I say we will haue no mo marriage, those that are married alreadie, all
but one shall liue, the rest shall keep as they are: to a Nunry go.