Hamlet Act 4 Scene 4 “How all occasions do inform against me”

How all occasions do inform against me,
And spur my dull revenge! What is a man,
If his chief good and market of his time
Be but to sleep and feed? a beast, no more.
Sure, he that made us with such large discourse,
Looking before and after, gave us not
That capability and god-like reason
To fust in us unused. Now, whether it be
Bestial oblivion, or some craven scruple
Of thinking too precisely on the event,
A thought which, quarter’d, hath but one part wisdom
And ever three parts coward, I do not know
Why yet I live to say ‘This thing’s to do;’
Sith I have cause and will and strength and means
To do’t. Examples gross as earth exhort me:
Witness this army of such mass and charge
Led by a delicate and tender prince,
Whose spirit with divine ambition puff’d
Makes mouths at the invisible event,
Exposing what is mortal and unsure
To all that fortune, death and danger dare,
Even for an egg-shell. Rightly to be great
Is not to stir without great argument,
But greatly to find quarrel in a straw
When honour’s at the stake. How stand I then,
That have a father kill’d, a mother stain’d,
Excitements of my reason and my blood,
And let all sleep, while, to my shame, I see
The imminent death of twenty thousand men,
That, for a fantasy and trick of fame,
Go to their graves like beds, fight for a plot
Whereon the numbers cannot try the cause,
Which is not tomb enough and continent
To hide the slain? O, from this time forth,
My thoughts be bloody, or be nothing worth!

 

Hamlet’s Soliloquy in Act 4 Scene 4 marks the most dramatic change in Hamlet’s character that we see in the play. Moving from a philosopher deep in thought to a soldier bent on immediate action, Hamlet resolves to finally avenge the death of his father through battle. For the entire play, we see Hamlet working in the background, using spies to gather information and deceptively testing his uncle through the play reenacting his father’s death. From this scene on, he works directly against his uncle to achieve his goals. This soliloquy also marks Hamlet as a foil for Fortinbras, who after the death of his father, immediately gathers an army to take down Hamlet’s castle without worrying about the philosophical ramifications.  After Scene 4, Hamlet acts in much the same way, taking the battle directly to his uncle, and while he still dies in the end, he achieves his goals nonetheless.

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6 Responses to Hamlet Act 4 Scene 4 “How all occasions do inform against me”

  1. beans11 says:

    The second sentence in this post is not only the most poetic, but it is the most telling of the character of Hamlet as it includes fundamentals of his personality and motifs of the play as a whole.

  2. dennysmythe says:

    Ryan does a nice job of explaining Hamlet’s soliloquy and his dramatic change in his frame of mind from peaceful thought to violent action. “Moving from a philosopher deep in thought to a soldier bent on immediate action, Hamlet resolves to finally avenge the death of his father through battle.”

  3. jillianhaywood says:

    The second sentence is the most memorable aspect of this response, as it is here that Ryan first expresses the change in Hamlet’s character in this soliloquy.

  4. psiripakorn says:

    The last sentence portrays Hamlet’s faithfulness to his father and his personal pride, so even though Hamlet knows that he will die from killing his uncle, he does it anyways for the sake of his pride.

  5. sagemaggi says:

    The second sentence does a great job of showing the connection between “both Hamlets” and showing the transition between the two.

  6. pistolpete42 says:

    In the middle of the analysis Ryan conveys a major part of the play,”From this scene on, he works directly against his uncle to achieve his goals”. Hamlet changes who how he uses his time to get revenge, which he directed upon King Claudius.

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