Explained Quote From Hamlet: "Thus conscience does make... (2022)

Explained Quote From Hamlet: "Thus conscience does make... (1)

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Topics: Guilt, Morality, Conscience, Ethics, Religion, Mind

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Quote from Hamlet

"Thus conscience does make cowards of us all". These words said by Hamlet are very strong in meaning and really do make a lot of sense. I agree with this quote. I really do believe that a person's guilty conscience may cause them to have fear of doing what is right or of telling another person the truth or what needs to be said.

A person's conscience is what tells the person what is right and it lets the person know when he or she has committed something that is morally wrong. A conscience does not force the person to do anything, but it does let them know when they are wrong and this guilt can lead the person to act in different ways. A guilty conscience is extremely difficult to deal with because no matter what you do or how you try to block out what you have on your mind, your conscience is always there letting you know that you have done something wrong. It is almost like carrying a 1,000-pound load on your back and trying to walk straight. It is nearly impossible to go on normally through the day with your guilty conscience knocking on your mind and never letting you rest.

A conscience can also let a person know that he or she should not do something because it is wrong. In Hamlet's case, he states that his conscience is letting him know that killing his uncle would be extremely wrong, and this is why he is acting like a coward and putting it off. I can't really blame Hamlet for being afraid of killing somebody. Murdering somebody is a big deal and it can come with many consequences if you are caught. In a way, your conscience is like an interior parent who is looking out for you and letting you know all the right things to do so that you won't regret doing anything wrong later. A guilty conscience can help out by scaring the person into doing what is right or into not doing what is wrong. Sometimes a person can want to do something that is wrong so badly, but his or her conscience won't allow it. One night during the summer a friend of


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What does Hamlet mean by Thus conscience does make cowards? ›

conscience doth make cowards of us all

Claudius used the word conscience in the moral sense, a sense of guilt. Hamlet here really means consciousness, our awareness, makes us cowards. We can imagine our own death.

What was Hamlet's thought about conscience? ›

Young Hamlet says, “They are not near my conscience; their defeat'. He knows that he killed and yet he doesn't concede to the guilt of that murder (conscience as he calls it), since he was defending his life (Elliot, p. 95 – 103).

What does Hamlet mean by conscience and how might it lead to inaction? ›

Hesitation from Moral Integrity—Hamlet's Conscience

At this point in the play, his conscience is aware that the king's guilt is as yet unproven, with only the word of a dubious apparition to go on. He must be sure that it is the right thing that he will do, or he will not do it at all.

How is Hamlet a coward quotes? ›

He reveals that he is only a little/only occasionally mad to his old school friends. “Oh what a rogue and peasant slave am I…/ Am I a coward…/I am pigeon-livered and lack gall/ To make oppression bitter” – Hamlet soliloquy.

Who said there is nothing either good or bad but thinking makes it so meaning? ›

“There is nothing either good or bad, but thinking makes it so” is a quote from William Shakespeare's tragedy, Hamlet. It appears in Act II, Scene 2 and is spoken by Hamlet. Hamlet delivers the quote as he considers how he is imprisoned by Denmark and the King, as well as by his mind.

What is Hamlet saying in To Be or Not To Be? ›

The soliloquy is essentially all about life and death: "To be or not to be" means "To live or not to live" (or "To live or to die"). Hamlet discusses how painful and miserable human life is, and how death (specifically suicide) would be preferable, would it not be for the fearful uncertainty of what comes after death.

Who says Thus conscience does make cowards? ›

Appropriately, Hamlet declares “thus conscience does make cowards [of us all]” (III. i. 82) when the personification of his conscience is watching. He may or may not be aware of Claudius during the speech, but since he later asks Ophelia, “Where's your father?” (III.

How is morality shown in Hamlet? ›

Since Hamlet himself commits a murder, this can be viewed as the final step in establishing a moral order. In conclusion, Shakespeare's Hamlet contains a very definitive moral order. Each crime committed is punished, and each morally wrong action is balanced by one that is right.

Where did the word conscience derive from? ›

Conscience and conscious derive from the same Latin roots—the prefix com- ("with," "together," "jointly") and the verb scire ("to know"), and the combination, conscire, means "to be aware of guilt"—and both relate to a state of awareness, the first of a moral awareness and the second of a physical or mental wakefulness ...

Why man they did make love to this employment they are not near my conscience their defeat Does by their own insinuation grow? ›

By their own "insinuation" (their sneaky insertion into the King's favor), they brought doom upon themselves, even if they never understood their real roles in the king's plot. "They did make love to this employment," Hamlet announces, perhaps overemphasizing the passion with which they undertook their treachery.

What does Hamlet mean when he says I must be cruel only to be kind? ›

To be “cruel to be kind” is to cause someone pain for his or her own good. The phrase is used by Hamlet after he has berated his mother for her infidelity to the memory of her deceased husband.

Why does Hamlet send Ophelia to a nunnery? ›

One moment he says 'I did love you once', the next 'I loved you not'. He goes on to insult Ophelia and tells her to go to a nunnery. He tells her that this will be the best place for her and, by being a nun, Ophelia won't have children and produce wicked men like his uncle.

What is Hamlet's famous line? ›

To thine own self be true.” “Though this be madness, yet there is method in 't.” “Brevity is the soul of wit.” “There are more things in Heaven and Earth, Horatio, than are dreamt of in your philosophy.”

What does Hamlet's last words mean? ›

The last line is, “The rest is silence.” This is an ambivalent way to end a play that began with ambivalence. However, Hamlet knows what he means by the rest is silence and this is his final chance to act and he does, by telling us his final thoughts. He is not uncertain any more.

What a piece of work is man full quote? ›

What a piece of work is a man, How noble in reason, how infinite in faculty, In form and moving how express and admirable, In action how like an Angel, In apprehension how like a god, The beauty of the world, The paragon of animals.

Why then tis none to you for there is nothing either good? ›

“Why, then, 'tis none to you; for there is nothing. either good or bad, but thinking makes it so: to me. it is a prison.

What's a word for good and bad? ›

What is another word for good and bad?
pros and consadvantages and disadvantages
fors and againstspositives and negatives
costs and benefitsmerits and demerits
pluses and minusespositive and negative consequences
strengths and weaknessesplus and minus points
9 more rows

What does Hamlet say before he dies? ›

Hamlet tells Horatio again that he is dying, and urges his friend not to commit suicide in light of all the tragedies, but instead to stay alive and tell his story. He says that he wishes Fortinbras to be made King of Denmark; then he dies.

What is Hamlet's view on life? ›

In the beginning of his soliloquy, Hamlet views death as a peaceful liberation from the never-ending agony and constant battery of troubles in life. Through diction, syntax, and figurative language, it is evident that Hamlet's conception of death as a calm and peaceful slumber makes him prone to suicidal feelings.

Where is the quote to thine own self be true from? ›

From a monologue delivered by the character Polonius in Act I Scene III of Hamlet by William Shakespeare.

Why does Hamlet call Ophelia a nymph? ›

89-90). A "nymph" is a minor goddess of a field, forest, or stream, and a "nymph" is any beautiful girl that could be thought to look like a nymph. In short, Hamlet just called Ophelia something like "babe," and asked her to pray for him. Ophelia has a little surprise of her own.

What does and thus the native hue of resolution mean? ›

The "native hue of resolution" means our natural state of determination; but Shakespeare plays on the sense of hue as skin tone. Thought, that is, thinking too much about consequences, is like an illness that changes the color of our healthy complexion with a pale cast, or shade.

Does Claudius have a conscience? ›

King Claudius, as seen in William Shakespeare's Hamlet, is both intelligent and well-spoken, two traits that, put together, complement his manipulative and dangerous nature. In fact though, it is his conscience that makes Claudius such a complex villain.

Was Hamlet a moral and ethical person? ›

Hamlet truly believes it is his moral duty to avenge his father's death (even if doing so puts Hamlet in a bad position), and so he should be able to plan that attack without feeling any remorse or guilt.

How is Hamlet morally corrupt? ›

The first and central occurrence of corruption in Hamlet is the murder of King Hamlet by Claudius and his subsequent usurpation of the Danish. He also marries Gertude, King Hamlet's former wife. From an Elizabethan perspective, such a marriage would have been considered adultery and incest.

Is morality a theme in Hamlet? ›

In sources of literature, authors illustrate different themes to advance the plot. This is definitely the case in Shakespeare's play, Hamlet. The author presents the theme of morality through many characters. Also, in many scenes of the play, the audience witnesses the theme of revenge.

What are the 3 types of conscience? ›

  • Conscience as pluralistic, neutral and subjective.
  • Conscience as self-knowledge and self-assessment.
  • The epistemic function of conscience. ...
  • Conscience as motivation to act morally.
  • Conscience, self-identifying moral commitments, and moral integrity.
  • Freedom of conscience. ...
  • Conclusion.
14 Mar 2016

What is the concept of conscience? ›

The concept of “conscience", as commonly used in its moral sense, is the inherent ability of every healthy human being to perceive what is right and what is wrong and, on the strength of this perception, to control, monitor, evaluate and execute their actions [25].

What is conscience in simple words? ›

Definition of conscience

1a : the sense or consciousness of the moral goodness or blameworthiness of one's own conduct, intentions, or character together with a feeling of obligation to do right or be good She had a guilty conscience. b : a faculty, power, or principle enjoining good acts guided by conscience.

Who does Hamlet say are not near my conscience? ›

Horatio remarks, "So Guildenstern and Rosencrantz go to't," meaning that they're going to die, and Hamlet replies "Why, man, they did make love to this employment; / They are not near my conscience" (5.2.

How does Hamlet respond Does he feel confident about his choice to take part in the match? ›

He doesn't mind doing the match because he doesn't think anything bad could really happen, just a little embarrassment.

Why did Hamlet jump into Ophelia's grave? ›

Why does Hamlet jump into Ophelia's grave? Because he wants to show his sorrow is as great as Laertes. What does the king say to Laertes to console (make him feel better) him after Laertes and Hamlet are separated? He tells him not to worry; he will soon have the appropriate time in place to kill Hamlet.

What does it mean you need to be cruel to be kind? ›

idiom. to do or say something that causes someone pain because you believe that it will help them.

What line is I must be cruel only to be kind Thus bad begins and worse remains behind? ›

From William Shakespeare's Hamlet, Act 3, Scene 4: "I must be cruel, only to be kind: / Thus bad begins and worse remains behind."

What kind of figure of speech is this I must be cruel only to be kind? ›

Paradox in William Shakespeare's Hamlet

With this paradoxical statement, Hamlet is attempting to persuade his frightened mother that although he seems wicked in this moment, his intentions are good. I must be cruel, only to be kind.

Did Hamlet and Ophelia marry? ›

Perhaps the most famous scene concerning Ophelia in the original play is when Hamlet angrily tells her, "Get thee to a nunnery!" In the film, the pair are genuinely in love and marry in secret.

Why did Hamlet tell Ophelia he didn't love her? ›

Hamlet was supposed to get married to Ophelia sooner or later, to care for her, to protect her. At a time when women were totally submitted to their husbands, he would have had to be responsible for her. And after all, feigning not to love her anymore, he frees himself from this responsibility.

Why is Hamlet faking his madness? ›

He felt betrayed by his mother who married his uncle, shortly after King Hamlet's death. Prince Hamlet promised revenge to avenge his death thus he looked for a plan. He decided to feign madness as he spoke with Polonius so that Claudius questions him.

What does Hamlet mean when he says conscience does make cowards of us all? ›

Prov. People sometimes fear to do what they want or what they believe is necessary because they think it is wrong. (From Shakespeare's play, Hamlet.)

What is the most important word in Hamlet? ›

The following is a rank-ordered list of the twenty most frequently used words in Hamlet.
...
Word Frequency in Hamlet.
1228lord
2123good
383love
470father
570man
15 more rows

What is the lesson of Hamlet? ›

We can take two lessons from Hamlet. The first one is that if people let anger and revenge get the best of them, they can cause damage. The second one is in life you will be able to get away with something for long but not forever. We learn these lessons through various actions committed by various characters.

What is the last line of the play Hamlet? ›

Meaning of Hamlet's Last Words

'' In Hamlet's last short speech, he makes arrangements for the future of Denmark, of which he is the dying king. He then breaks off short. His last line in the play is ''Which have solicited - The rest is silence.

What are Shakespeare's most famous last words? ›

Famous Last Words from Shakespeare

' O, yet defend me, friends; I am but hurt.

What are three well known quotes from the Hamlet? ›

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  • "Why, then, 'tis none to you, for there is nothing either good or bad but thinking makes it so. ...
  • "To die, to sleep— To sleep, perchance to dream." ...
  • "The rest is silence." ...
  • "The lady doth protest too much, methinks." ...
  • "Though this be madness, yet there is method in 't." ...
  • " ...
  • "Now cracks a noble heart.

What is Hamlet's tragic flaw quote? ›

The first major quote that suggests Hamlet's flaw of procrastination is, “Haste me to know't; that I, with wings as swift/ As meditation or the thoughts of love,/ May sweep to my revenge” (Hamlet, Act I: Scene v, 29-31). This quote is spoken by Hamlet to the Ghost of Hamlet's father.

Is Hamlet a coward quotes? ›

“Oh what a rogue and peasant slave am I…/ Am I a coward…/I am pigeon-livered and lack gall/ To make oppression bitter” – Hamlet soliloquy.

What does Hamlet mean when he says I must be cruel only to be kind? ›

To be “cruel to be kind” is to cause someone pain for his or her own good. The phrase is used by Hamlet after he has berated his mother for her infidelity to the memory of her deceased husband.

What does Hamlet refer to as an end to all the heartache? ›

In this speech, Hamlet imagines death as a long sleep, dying as a means to ''end / The heartache and the thousand natural shocks / That flesh is heir to. '' His longing for peace, however, is counterbalanced by his fear of what might come after death.

Why does Hamlet send Ophelia to a nunnery? ›

One moment he says 'I did love you once', the next 'I loved you not'. He goes on to insult Ophelia and tells her to go to a nunnery. He tells her that this will be the best place for her and, by being a nun, Ophelia won't have children and produce wicked men like his uncle.

What does and thus the native hue of resolution mean? ›

The "native hue of resolution" means our natural state of determination; but Shakespeare plays on the sense of hue as skin tone. Thought, that is, thinking too much about consequences, is like an illness that changes the color of our healthy complexion with a pale cast, or shade.

What does it mean you need to be cruel to be kind? ›

idiom. to do or say something that causes someone pain because you believe that it will help them.

What line is I must be cruel only to be kind Thus bad begins and worse remains behind? ›

From William Shakespeare's Hamlet, Act 3, Scene 4: "I must be cruel, only to be kind: / Thus bad begins and worse remains behind."

What kind of figure of speech is this I must be cruel only to be kind? ›

Paradox in William Shakespeare's Hamlet

With this paradoxical statement, Hamlet is attempting to persuade his frightened mother that although he seems wicked in this moment, his intentions are good. I must be cruel, only to be kind.

What is the most quoted line from Hamlet? ›

Hamlet Quotes
  • “There is nothing either good or bad, but thinking makes it so.” ...
  • “This above all: to thine own self be true, ...
  • “To be, or not to be: that is the question: ...
  • “There are more things in Heaven and Earth, Horatio, than are dreamt of in your philosophy.” ...
  • “To die, to sleep -

Who says Thus conscience does make cowards of us all? ›

Appropriately, Hamlet declares “thus conscience does make cowards [of us all]” (III. i. 82) when the personification of his conscience is watching.

What is the main message of Hamlet? ›

Hamlet, written by William Shakespeare around 1600, is a tragedy that explores themes of friendship, madness, and revenge.

Did Hamlet and Ophelia marry? ›

Perhaps the most famous scene concerning Ophelia in the original play is when Hamlet angrily tells her, "Get thee to a nunnery!" In the film, the pair are genuinely in love and marry in secret.

Why did Hamlet tell Ophelia he didn't love her? ›

Hamlet was supposed to get married to Ophelia sooner or later, to care for her, to protect her. At a time when women were totally submitted to their husbands, he would have had to be responsible for her. And after all, feigning not to love her anymore, he frees himself from this responsibility.

Why is Hamlet faking his madness? ›

He felt betrayed by his mother who married his uncle, shortly after King Hamlet's death. Prince Hamlet promised revenge to avenge his death thus he looked for a plan. He decided to feign madness as he spoke with Polonius so that Claudius questions him.

Which soliloquy in Hamlet is the most important and why? ›

Hamlet: 'To Be Or Not To Be, That Is The Question' 'To be or not to be, that is the question' is the most famous soliloquy in the works of Shakespeare – quite possibly the most famous soliloquy in literature.

What was the famous opening phrase of a soliloquy uttered by Prince? ›

"To be, or not to be" is the opening phrase of a soliloquy given by Prince Hamlet in the so-called "nunnery scene" of William Shakespeare's play Hamlet, Act 3, Scene 1. In the speech, Hamlet contemplates death and suicide, bemoaning the pain and unfairness of life but acknowledging that the alternative might be worse.

What is Hamlet's view on life? ›

In the beginning of his soliloquy, Hamlet views death as a peaceful liberation from the never-ending agony and constant battery of troubles in life. Through diction, syntax, and figurative language, it is evident that Hamlet's conception of death as a calm and peaceful slumber makes him prone to suicidal feelings.

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