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Hamlet in First FolioPage from First Folio, 1623
Publication details ▽ Publication details △


First performed
1601 or 1602

First published
1603, in the First Quarto

Literary form


Writing language

Author's country

Five acts, 4,042 lines, approx. 29,000 words

Notable lines

Who's there?

— First line

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


Something is rotten in the state of Denmark.


He was a man, take him for all in all, I shall not look upon his like again.


There are more things in heaven and earth, Horatio,
Than are dreamt of in your philosophy.


But to my mind—though I am native here,
And to the manner born—it is a custom
More honor'd in the the breach than the observance


Murder most foul


The time is out of joint


The devil hath power
To assume a pleasing shape.


Neither a borrower nor a lender be


This above all: to thine own self be true


Frailty, thy name is woman!


Brevity is the soul of wit


What a piece of work is a man!


To be, or not to be, that is the question:
Whether 'tis nobler in the mind to suffer
The slings and arrows of outrageous fortune,
Or to take arms against a sea of troubles,
And by opposing end them? To die—to sleep;
No more; and by a sleep to say we end
The heart-ache and the thousand natural shocks
That flesh is heir to, 'tis a consummation
Devoutly to be wish'd. To die, to sleep.
To sleep: perchance to dream—ay, there's the rub;
For in that sleep of death what dreams may come, 
When we have shuffled off this mortal coil,
Must give us pause.


Though this be madness, yet there is method in it.


O, what a noble mind is here o'erthrown!


The play's the thing....


Suit the action to the word, the word to the hold, as 'twere, the mirror up to nature.


The lady doth protest too much, methinks.


...Hoist with his own petar.


Alas, poor Yorick. I knew him, Horatio


I must be cruel, only to be kind


Sweets to the sweet


A hit, a very palpable hit.


The rest is silence.


O, I die, Horatio.
The potent poison quite o’er-crows my spirit:
I cannot live to hear the news from England,
But I do prophesy th’election light
On Fortinbras. He has my dying voice
So tell him, with the occurrents more and less
Which have solicited. The rest is silence.


Take up the bodies. Such a sight as this
Becomes the field, but here shows much amiss.
Go, bid the soldiers shoot.

— Last lines


Critique • Quotes • At the movies