Is Hamlet the most quoted play of all time? Quite possibly, and with due reason! As with so many of his plays Shakespeare brings the characters to life with memorable dialogue and some fantastic quotes. Read our selection of the very best Hamlet quotes below, along with speaker, act and scene.

“O, that this too, too solid flesh would melt,
Thaw and resolve itself into a dew!”

(Hamlet, act 1 scene 2)

“Listen to many, speak to a few.”

(Polonius, act 1 scene 3)

“Neither a borrower nor a lender be,
For loan oft loses both itself and friend,
And borrowing dulls the edge of husbandry.”

(Polonius, act 1 scene 3)

This above all: to thine own self be true,
And it must follow, as the night the day,
Thou canst not then be false to any man.”

(Polonius, act 1 scene 3)

“…though I am native here
And to the manner born, it is a custom
More honoured in the breach than the observance.”

(Hamlet, act 1 scene 4)

“Something is rotten in the state of Denmark.”

(Marcellus, act 1 scene 4)

“That one may smile and smile and be a villain.”

(Hamlet, act 1 scene 5)

“There are more things in heaven and earth, Horatio,
Than are dreamt of in our philosophy.”

(Hamlet, act 1 scene 5)

Brevity is the soul of wit.

(Polonius, act 2 scene 2)

“Though this be madness, yet there is method in’t.”

(Polonius, act 2 scene 2)

“There is nothing either good or bad but thinking makes it so.”

(Hamlet, act 2 scene 2)

“O, what a rogue and peasant slave am I!”

(Hamlet, act 2 scene 2)

“Doubt thou the stars are fire;
Doubt that the sun doth move;
Doubt truth to be a liar;
But never doubt I love.”

(Polonius, act 2 scene 2)

To be, or not to be, that is the question.”

(Hamlet, act 3 scene 1)

“God hath given you one face, and you make yourself another.”

(Hamlet, act 3 scene 1)

“To die, to sleep –
To sleep, perchance to dream – ay, there’s the rub,
For in this sleep of death what dreams may come…”

(Hamlet, act 3 scene 1)

The lady doth protest too much, methinks.

(Gertrude, act 3 scene 2)

“I must be cruel only to be kind;
Thus bad begins, and worse remains behind.”

(Hamlet, act 3 scene 4)

How all occasions do inform against me, and spur my dull revenge.

(Hamlet, act 2 scene 4)

Alas, poor Yorick! I knew him, Horatio: A fellow of infinite jest.

(Hamlet, act 5 scene 1)

“If it be now, ’tis not to come: if it be not to come, it will be now: if it be not now, yet it will come: the readiness is all.”

(Hamlet, act 5 scene 2)

“The rest is silence.”

(Hamlet, act 5 scene 2)

“Goodnight, sweet prince,
And flights of angels sing thee to thy rest!”

(Horatio, act 5 scene 2)

Are we missing any great Hamlet quotes? Let us know in the comments section below.

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Read Hamlet quotes translated into modern English

18 replies
  1. George Coe
    George Coe says:

    “Neither borrower nor lender be,….husbandry.” Hamlet

    This quote is quite evident in size and placement above the stacks in a public high schools library. It stands alone so some appointed individual or committee thought it worthy to alert incoming freshmen and graduates of soon encountered.

    I’m puzzled why this quote. Some thoughts please for something more appropriate for this age and wall? . Thank you, Geo Coe

  2. Brahmi Ishaya
    Brahmi Ishaya says:

    A little more than kin, and less than kind. (Hamlet Act I, Scene II)
    “Kind” here has nothing to do with feelings. It’s the old “kind” as in “kindergarten”. Hamlet is saying,
    “Yes, I’m a little more than just a relative, but not quite your child.”

  3. Katie Donovan
    Katie Donovan says:

    “Doubt truth to be a liar,” does NOT here mean, “doubt that truth lies.”
    It means more, “go so far as to doubt the truth; suspect it, even.”

  4. lord and savior
    lord and savior says:

    hamlet (not sure which part)
    “take thee to a nunnery” i didnt see this one with your quotes but i do believe this was a big one in terms of hamlet

  5. John Padden
    John Padden says:

    “Since brevity is the soul of wit, I will be brief. Your noble son is mad, that he is mad, ’tis true, ’tis true ’tis pity, and pity ’tis, ’tis true.” POLONIUS


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