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Hamlet Annotations Act V

Scene 1:
“They hold up Adam’s profession.” (line 32) Allusion
- In reference to the first man, who was damned to labor in the field (farm) for food after
disobeying god instead of being given fruit to live off of.
“Dost thou think Alexander looked o’ this fashion” (line 204-205) Allusion
- Alexander the Great, the height of his empire spanned the known world. Greatest
commander of all time as some would say. The mention of him as well as Caesar in their
deaths when they return to the earth reminds me of one of Hamlet’s epiphanies. Where
death is the ultimate equalizer.
“She should in the ground unsanctified been lodged till the last trumpet” (line 236-237) Allusion
- The trumpets refer to the 7 trumpets that were to be sounded by angels for each event
leading to the end of doomsday. The last one being where Christ's reign over the earth
begins according to my understanding.
“T’o’ertop old Pelion or skyish head
Of blue olympus” (line 265-266) Double Allusion
- Pelion and Olympus are both physical mountains that have significance in Greek
mythology where Olympus was the home of the Olympian gods. Pelion was home to the
centaur, Chiron, whose pupils were many heroes in Greek mythology.
Scene 2:
“To quit him with this arm? And is ‘t not to be
damned” (line 77-78)
- This relates to the epiphany that Hamlet has about needing to act quick and to get his
revenge. Because the king has done everything to sin against him, literally listed there
between lines 73-75, why wouldn’t he get revenge immediately? But, since we know that
Hamlet’s indecisiveness is his hamartia, we’ll have to see where he screws it up.
“It is indifferent cold, my lord, indeed” (line 110)
- It’s really funny how orsic doesn’t dispute the delirious weather report. Is this bit
supposed to provide comedic relief?
“If your mind dislike anything, obey it.” (line 231)
- I think this is a really important exchange where Horatio sets up an uneasy atmosphere
regarding the duel that Hamlet dismisses. This relates pretty well to Hamlet’s need to act
quickly and not to deliberate on his actions like he did when Claudius was praying.
“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.” (line 234-236)
Interestingly, Hamlet brings up the theme of mortality in response to this and he seems
to really understand the equalizer of death. Doesn’t matter if he dies here or elsewhere,
it will come either way and the quick allusion to the book of Matthew signifies that
everyone’s death is treated the same under god.
“That I have shot my arrow o’er the house
And hurt my brother” (line 257-258)
- This is in reference to both Polonius’ death where he was simply at the wrong place at
the wrong time as well as everyone else who was affected through that chain of events.
It’s a weird apology to follow because Hamlet refers to himself in the third person which
leads me to believe this relates to his madness? Perhaps it’s his madness that did
everything as suggested in line 251 but it's hard to trust his words here.
“The point envenomed too! Then, venom, to thy work” (line 352-353)
- I’m gonna be honest I really thought that Hamlet wouldn’t be able to get the kill off of
Claudius but in fact he scores two! One with the poisoned sword and one with the
poisoned cup! Good for him I guess, he got his revenge and because he was poisoned
as well, he shall join all of them in the dust.
“Let four captains
Bear Hamlet like a soldier to the stage,” (line 441-442)
- I respect Fortinbras’ decision to give Hamlet a deserving funeral. It’s like a ray of good in
spite of all the death and moral corruption that was happening the whole play.