Hamlet's response to the Actor.

Act 2.2.535-592, by Dylan Leonard.

O what a rogue and peasant slave am I!

Hamlet feels diminutive after listening to the Actor's passionate words about the slaughter of Priam. I chose a picture featured in Celtic myth, depicting a dishevelled looking King. While Hamlet holds status as a Prince and his father's son, that seems to have no value to him at this time. The only thing of value for Hamlet is settling his father's murder. Yet we find that Hamlet lacks the spirit to do this task: "But I am pigeon-liver'd," (2.2.564).

Lies and Deceit

In the first half of this passage Hamlet is found to be reflecting on his dull-spirited pursuit of justice for his father, old Hamlet. After moping for some time an idea comes to him: "I have heard / That guilty creatures sitting at a play...have proclaim'd their malefactions," (2.2.575-579). While Claudius will never admit to murdering old Hamlet his guilt may register in his actions if given the proper stimulation - that stimulation being a play, in this case. The use of deceit is well established in the play at this point, with both Polonius and Hamlet using it to their advantage. I chose a picture of a man casting a devil's shadow to represent the theme. Like the man, Hamlet's play appears well intentioned. When we observe the shadow it casts, or the ulterior motives, both the play and the man have a more cynical intent, as represented in the picture by the devil.

The spirit that I have seen / May be a devil.

It is possible to read this line as another example of deceit in the play. However, as Hamlet himself addresses earlier, he seems to have problems with motivation : "Yet I, / A dull and muddy-mettled rascal peak," (2.2.552-553). From that perspective Hamlet seems to have a problem with excuses. I represent this with a picture of Eeyore, one of the characters in Winnie the Pooh. Eeyore, while not necessarily sad, has a way of finding negatives in life and avoiding actions. At this point in the play Hamlet much resembles his character.

Remorseless, treacherous, lecherous, kindless villain!

Hamlet may lack the proper motivation to exact revenge against Claudius. That being said, he doesn't completely lack passion. He has a strong hate for Claudius: "Bloody, bawdy villain! / Remorseless, treacherous, lecherous, kindless villain!" (567-568). I relate this to the picture of an angry egg - Unable and unwilling to do any action. Yet, at least in the picture, angry and passionate regardless.

Had he the motive and cue for passion / That I have? He would drown the stage with tears.

Hamlet has a strong respect for actors. In the beginning of his solilioquy this is reflected in how moved he is by the actor's delivery of Pyrrhus' revenge. Hamlet compares himself to the actor as if they were peer to peer, noting that if the actor had the motivations he does he would display them powerfully, unlike Hamlet: "Had he the motive and cue for passion / That I have? He would drown the stage with tears," (2.2.546-547). The picture provided is a literal representation of Hamlet's respect for the actors, demonstrated by a man tipping his hat in a respectful manner.

That I, the son of a dear father murder'd ... Must like a whore unpack my heart with words.

At the start of the passage Hamlet tires of his lack of passion. Now, he tires of his wordiness: "This most brave, / That I ... / Prompted to revenge by heaven and hell, / Must like a whore unpack my heart with words," (2.2.569-572). Representative of how Hamlet tires of words is the image of a bored, tired crowd. Like Hamlet the crowd is tired of listening to whatever they may be. In Hamlet's case, he's tiring of himself.


Sad King. Digital image. Www.sacred-texts.com. Www.sacred-texts.com. Web. 02 June 2016. <http://www.sacred-texts.com/neu/celt/cft/img/09400.jpg>.

The Devil's Shadow
. Digital image. Www.cfa-wpengine.netdna-ssl.com. Www.cfa-wpengine.netdna-ssl.com. Web. 2 June 2016. <https://cfa-wpengine.netdna-ssl.com/investor/files/2012/08/Lying-and-Deceit-Behaviors.png>.

Eeyore. Digital image. Web. 02 June 2016. <https://a.dilcdn.com/bl/wp-content/uploads/sites/25/2013/09/Eeyore_3.jpg>.

Angry Eggs. Digital image. Www.west-info.eu. Www.west-info.eu. Web. 02 June 2016. <http://www.west-info.eu/files/HateCrime.jpg>.

Man Tipping His Hat. Digital image.Www.theimaginateconservative.org. Www.theimaginateconservative.org. Web. 02 June 2016.

Tired People. Digital image. Ihatepresentations.com. Ihatepresentations.com. Web. 2 June 2016. <http://www.ihatepresentations.com/wp-content/uploads/2013/08/Bored-Audience.jpg>.