Hamlet’s ‘Get thee come a nunnery’ speech to Ophelia is a memorable minute in a play full of memorable moments. Prior to we analyse his speech, here’s a reminder that the appropriate section that the play, i m sorry is discovered in act 3 scene 1, not long after Hamlet’s famed ‘To be, or not to be’ soliloquy.
You are watching: Get thee to a nunnery why wouldst thou be a breeder of sinners
Get thee come a nunnery! Why wouldst thou be a breeder of sinners? ns am myself indifferent honest yet yet I could accuse me the such things that that were much better my mother had not borne me. I am really proud, revengeful, ambitious, with much more offences in ~ my beck than I have thoughts to placed them in, creative thinking to give them shape, or time come act castle in. What should such fellows as I execute crawling between earth and heaven? We room arrant knaves – believe none that us. Walk thy ways to a nunnery. Where’s her father?
At home, mine lord.
Let the doors be shut upon him the he may play the silly nowhere yet in’s own house. Farewell.
O, assist him, girlfriend sweet heavens!
If she dost marry, I’ll provide thee this afflict for thy dowry: it is in thou as chaste as ice, as pure together snow, you shalt not escape calumny. Acquire thee come a nunnery. Farewell. Or, if you wilt demands marry, get married a fool, for way men understand well enough what monsters you do of them. Come a nunnery go, and also quickly too. Farewell.
Heavenly powers gain back him.
I have actually heard of your paints well enough. God has offered you one face and also you make yourselves another. Friend jig and also amble and also you lisp, you nickname god’s creatures and also make her wantonness ignorance. Go to, okay no an ext on’t. That hath do me mad. Ns say us will have actually no much more marriage. Those that room married already – all however one – candlestick live. The rest shall save as they are. To a nunnery, go!
After Hamlet has left the stage, Ophelia laments the fact that Hamlet’s ‘noble mind’ has actually been ‘overthrown’ through madness. Or so that seems: that has, in reality, solved ‘to put an antic disposition on’, as he confided come Horatio in plot 1 scene 5, and is only pretending to it is in mad. Or is he? does he, in fact, go genuinely mad throughout the food of the play? It becomes harder come tell. Nevertheless, Hamlet’s madness (real or feigned at this point) is important context for the ‘Get thee come a nunnery’ speech.
With that in mind, stop go with the speech an ext closely and summarise – and analyse – the meaning.
Get thee to a nunnery! Why wouldst thou it is in a breeder the sinners? i am myself indifferent honest however yet I might accuse me the such things that the were much better my mother had actually not borne me.
Let’s begin with that opening instruction, ‘Get thee to a nunnery!’ Hamlet speak Ophelia – v whom he has previously to be romantically affiliated – to go to a convent and also become a nun, swearing off men, marriage, and bearing children. After ~ all, all ladies who offer birth to males are breeders that ‘sinners’, due to the fact that all males are sinners.
Hamlet extends this accusation to himself: that tells united state he is fairly virtuous (‘indifferent honest’), yet also he could be accused (by himself) of points which space objectionable enough to do his mom wish she’d never offered birth to him.
It has been said that Hamlet is utilizing ‘nunnery’ here as (ironic) slang because that ‘brothel’, and also there is some proof for ‘nunnery’ being in use at the time with this meaning. The much more immediate problem with such an interpretation, in relation to ‘Get thee to a nunnery’, is that Hamlet is trying to sway Ophelia not to breed, so taking ‘nunnery’ at face value together ‘convent’ here makes much more sense.
I am really proud, revengeful, ambitious, with more offences in ~ my beck than I have actually thoughts to put them in, creativity to offer them shape, or time to act castle in.
Hamlet continues by listing some of his ‘sins’ or faults: the is proud, revengeful (true enough: he’s in the process of seek revenge against his uncle because that the death of his father), ambitious (well, he has actually ambitions come avenge his father!), and has other ‘offences’ in ~ his ‘beck’ (i.e. Summons; compare the modern phrase ‘at my beck and also call’): too many, in fact, to think about, or for his mind to shape into an ideal schemes. And there aren’t enough hours in the day for him come put every one of these sinful thoughts into practice!
What need to such fellows as I execute crawling in between earth and heaven? We room arrant knaves – believe none of us. Go thy means to a nunnery. Where’s your father?
Hamlet climate asks a rhetorical question: what’s the suggest of someone like him, ‘crawling’ (like a wretch, quite than a noble man) between earth and heaven? (Hamlet’s phrase ‘between earth and also heaven’ seems rather odd, however may be suggested by his encounter through the Ghost in action 1; he is thinking around his father, that is dead yet not however welcomed into Heaven, rather dwelling in Purgatory while the waits for his spirit to it is in cleansed.)
Hamlet’s ‘We room arrant knaves’ is periodically rendered together ‘arrant knaves all’ (in the first printing the the play, the an initial Quarto, ‘all’ complies with ‘knaves’): he way that all guys are downright scoundrels, a ‘knave’ being a dishonest or unscrupulous man. So Ophelia should believe none that the promises males make her: they space not to be trusted. (Since Hamlet has already included himself in this denunciation of all men, his declare ‘believe none of us’ verges ~ above a dual bind, or a sport on the Cretan liar paradox: if all guys are knaves and also Hamlet is a knave too, and also no knaves have to be believed, need to Ophelia believe Hamlet once he tells her they are all knaves? however we gain his gist …
At home, my lord.
Hamlet asks Ophelia wherein her dad is. Polonius, Ophelia’s father, is spying top top Hamlet, and also it might be the Hamlet suspects together much. Yet his concern here much more immediately relates to what follows: he is questioning her where her father is so he can provide his quip around men staying house to be stupid in their own house.
Let the doors be shut top top him that he may play the silly nowhere yet in’s own house. Farewell.
There we have actually it! Hamlet’s question to Ophelia was the setup to this punchline. Sure enough, Polonius is a fool, par excellence. Hamlet’s point is that men are better off remaining at house so no one else besides their nearest and dearest witness your folly.
O, help him, you sweet heavens!
There is a pattern and also rhythm come this final section that the ‘Get thee to a nunnery’ scene: Hamlet bids Ophelia farewell number of times, when she utters a private aside come the heavens several times, in the hope the some help can be found for Hamlet’s obvious madness.
If she dost marry, I’ll offer thee this afflict for thy dowry: it is in thou as chaste as ice, as pure as snow, thou shalt not escape calumny. Gain thee come a nunnery. Farewell. Or, if thou wilt demands marry, get married a fool, for wise men understand well sufficient what monsters you do of them. To a nunnery go, and quickly too. Farewell.
Hamlet conflates the function of the father (who usually gives the woman’s dowry when she marries) and the fiancé (he was, ~ all, romantically associated with Ophelia himself), and tells her that if she does gain married, that will carry out her v a ‘plague’ or curse for her dowry: the curse is that no matter how chaste and pure she is, she will not stop being slandered.
So, Ophelia have to go come a nunnery and also resolve not to marry. Or, if she insists top top marrying a man, marry a foolish one, due to the fact that wise men recognize that females make ‘monsters’ of them – ‘monsters’ here usually analysed as a synonym because that ‘cuckolds’, i.e. Women cuckold their husbands by resting with other men. Cuckolds were depicted as men with horns, for this reason this defines Hamlet’s choice of word.
Heavenly powers regain him.
I have heard that your paints well enough. God has given you one face and you make yourselves another. You jig and amble and you lisp, girlfriend nickname oh my gosh creatures and also make your wantonness ignorance. Go to, okay no more on’t. That hath make me mad. I say us will have actually no much more marriage. Those that are married currently – all however one – candlestick live. The remainder shall store as they are. Come a nunnery, go!
By ‘paintings’ Hamlet is referring to women’s make-up: God, or nature, provides them one face, yet they insist on falsifying that one by producing a false challenge through the usage of cosmetics.
Even the means women move seems to stroked nerves Hamlet, or the way they affect certain habits of speech (‘lisp’). It’s much less clear why giving nicknames come ‘God’s creatures’ must offend Hamlet for this reason much. The been said (e.g. Through Ann Thompson and Neil Taylor in their notes glossing this ar of the play, in the fantastic edition Hamlet: revised Edition (The Arden Shakespeare third Series)
But despite – or, perhaps, due to the fact that of – this emotional intensity and complexity, actors under the eras have to be keen to placed their very own stamp on the role, including David Garrick (who had actually a one-of-a-kind wig the made Hamlet’s hair stand on finish when the ghost of his father appeared), Laurence Olivier, man Gielgud, Mel Gibson, buy it Bernhardt (one of numerous women come portray the Prince of Denmark: check out the photo below), Ethan Hawke, Keanu Reeves, Kenneth Branagh, Maxine Peake, and even man Wilkes Booth, the man who assassinated Abraham Lincoln.
Hamlet is often qualified as ‘a man who cannot consist of his mind’. Indeed, the publicity for Laurence Olivier’s celebrated 1948 movie of Hamlet made much of this description of Hamlet’s character. The words that tend to come up when people try to analyse the character or personality that Hamlet room indecisive, delaying, and uncertain, through ‘inaction’ being the crucial defining function of what Hamlet in reality does throughout the play. Certainly, the poet and also critic Samuel Taylor Coleridge believed Hamlet’s main fault to be his indecision: he detected ‘an almost enormous intellectual activity and a proportionate aversion come real activity consequent upon it’ – i.e., Hamlet is much better at thinking around doing things than actually doing them.
See more: How Much Does A Turtle Dove Cost, Here'S How Much It'Ll Cost You
And however we can argue the Hamlet doesn’t precisely delay, or at least, the does not delay because he is indecisive, however for sound, practical reasons. Hamlet can not be certain that the Ghost really is the heart of his dead father, and also not some fiend that’s been sent to cause mischief and goad him to murder. For this reason he requirements to uncover out whether Claudius yes, really is guilty the murdering Hamlet Senior, and thus whether the Ghost deserve to be trusted.