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SiHAc
03-22-2006, 11:15 PM
Hey guys,

Can anyone help me analyse what is happenning in this scene? More specifically, what Hamlet means by what he says?

I have difficulty in understanding what these lines mean:

The fair Ophelia! Nymph, in thy orisons
Be all my sins remember'd.


......


HAMLET
That if you be honest and fair, your honesty should
admit no discourse to your beauty.

OPHELIA
Could beauty, my lord, have better commerce than
with honesty?

HAMLET
Ay, truly; for the power of beauty will sooner
transform honesty from what it is to a bawd than the
force of honesty can translate beauty into his
likeness: this was sometime a paradox, but now the
time gives it proof. I did love you once.

OPHELIA
Indeed, my lord, you made me believe so.

HAMLET
You should not have believed me; for virtue cannot
so inoculate our old stock but we shall relish of
it: I loved you not.

OPHELIA
I was the more deceived.

HAMLET
Get thee to a nunnery: why wouldst thou be a
breeder of sinners?

Can anyone paraphrase in there words what these lines mean for me?
thanks

SiHAc

SiHAc
03-22-2006, 11:16 PM
sorry that should read 'in *their words'

Amleth
03-28-2006, 08:55 PM
The fair Ophelia! Nymph, in thy orisons
Be all my sins remember'd.


Hamlet has noticed Ophelia at a distance when he says "the fair Ophelia." To himself, he asks her to pray for him. He then approaches Ophelia, and she speaks first.

Hamlet knows he's being overheard in the scene. He knows Claudius is there. His remarks are a "logical argument" intended both for Ophelia and Claudius.

To understand the dialogue, it's necessary to know that Hamlet knows Claudius is there. Recall that Claudius said he summoned Hamlet to be there, but when Hamlet arrives - where's Claudius? Hamlet is expecting Claudius to be there, and Hamlet quickly perceives that Claudius is behind the arras.

We could talk more about that if you want to. It probably needs further discussion. But you'll never understand the scene without accepting that Hamlet knows Claudius is behind the arras.



HAMLET
That if you be honest and fair, your honesty should
admit no discourse to your beauty.


The wording you have is from the First Folio version of Hamlet. The Second Quarto has the correct wording, however. The exact wording is important.

The word "honest" means "honorable." Hamlet is saying that if Ophelia is both honorable and beautiful, she should not permit compliments on her beauty.



OPHELIA
Could beauty, my lord, have better commerce than
with honesty?


Ophelia naturally wants to know, why not? She doesn't see why, if she's beautiful, people shouldn't truthfully say so. The word "honesty" means "truthfulness." She asks if there's a better way to approach beauty than with truthfulness.



HAMLET
Ay, truly; for the power of beauty will sooner
transform honesty from what it is to a bawd than the
force of honesty can translate beauty into his
likeness: this was sometime a paradox, but now the
time gives it proof. I did love you once.


Hamlet says the power of beauty will prostitute truthfulness. What he means, in other words, is that beauty will make men lie.

He goes on to say, that will happen easier than truthfulness can make beauty a real virtue, like "truthfulness" is.

Hamlet is casting it as a contest between truth and beauty. He's arguing that beauty will defeat truth. Beauty will make men lie, he says. The lie he means was when he told her he loved her. He's trying to argue that when he said he loved her, he didn't realize at the time that it was really her beauty defeating his truthfulness.

It's complicated, but basically he's trying to argue that Ophelia's beauty made him lie, when he said he loved her. It was a contest between her beauty, and his truth, and he lost - he told a lie.

The paradox is in beauty not being a real virtue, because it can cause lying.

"The time" means "this instance," between Hamlet and Ophelia.



OPHELIA
Indeed, my lord, you made me believe so.

HAMLET
You should not have believed me; for virtue cannot
so inoculate our old stock but we shall relish of
it: I loved you not.


Hamlet tells Ophelia she shouldn't have believed him when he said he loved her, because men are all liars. "Our old stock" means men, the male sex. He's trying to warn Ophelia that all men will be liars in response to her beauty.



OPHELIA
I was the more deceived.

HAMLET
Get thee to a nunnery: why wouldst thou be a
breeder of sinners?


Hamlet tells Ophelia to go to a nunnery, where there won't be men around, because her beauty will make men lie to her. She'll "breed" sinners in that way, by turning men into liars. Because she's so beautiful, men will all be saying they love her, whether they do or not.

There's also the simple meaning that any child Ophelia would have would be a sinner, since all mankind are sinners, in some way or other. So, it has a double meaning, as many things in Hamlet do. But the "interesting" meaning is in Hamlet's claim that Ophelia's beauty will turn men into liars, who will tell her they love her whether they really do or not.

It's an extremely complicated scene that needs a great deal of discussion to fully appreciate. But essentially, Hamlet is arguing "beauty" versus "truth."

And notice that Hamlet bases his whole argument on how beautiful Ophelia is, as he sees her. There's the old saying, and it's perfectly true, that beauty is in the eye of the beholder. As Hamlet looks at Ophelia, she's the most beautiful thing he ever saw.

So we know how Hamlet feels about Ophelia, no matter what he says. When he says he doesn't love her, he's lying through his teeth. If he didn't love her, she wouldn't look so beautiful to him.

The Nunnery Scene is one of the great scenes in all of literature, and it's beastly intricate and complicated. It's Hamlet's logical argument about truth versus beauty, and as he says it to Ophelia, he's lyin' like a dog.

farid.shokrieh
04-22-2007, 10:56 AM
Dear friend,

The idea of "Beauty vs. Honesty" has been the theme of my works of art. Briefly, it says that the society's attention on a beautiful girl will soon spoil her, not letting her remain honest anymore. This is what Hamlet implies: "...the power of beauty will sooner transform honesty from what it is to a bawd than the force of honesty can translate beauty into his likeness."

I guess we need to pay attention that the word nunnery, in Shakespeare’s time was used to connote "prostitution".

The reason why Hamlet talks to Ophelia, whom he loved, like this, has been discussed from several different views:
One idea is that he has become deeply distrustful against women, after his mother's marriage with King Claudius; to support this, we can refer to his soliloquy in Act I, Scene 2, line 46: "frailty, thy name is woman"
Another reason might be Ophelia's Farther, Polonius, who is always trying to please the king.
Some critics believe that Ophelia asking Hamlet to receive back his remembrances drives Hamlet mad so that he speaks to her so aggressively.
There is also another argument, saying that Hamlet has been so clever that he had realized that there were some people, eavesdropping his conversation; so he wanted to mislead them. As clever as he is when he finds out about the letter when he is sent to England in Act IV.
All these arguments can be possible in this since, however I personally like the latter one.


Yours,
360.yahoo.com/farid_shokrieh:)




Hey guys,

Can anyone help me analyse what is happenning in this scene? More specifically, what Hamlet means by what he says?

I have difficulty in understanding what these lines mean:

The fair Ophelia! Nymph, in thy orisons
Be all my sins remember'd.


......


HAMLET
That if you be honest and fair, your honesty should
admit no discourse to your beauty.

OPHELIA
Could beauty, my lord, have better commerce than
with honesty?

HAMLET
Ay, truly; for the power of beauty will sooner
transform honesty from what it is to a bawd than the
force of honesty can translate beauty into his
likeness: this was sometime a paradox, but now the
time gives it proof. I did love you once.

OPHELIA
Indeed, my lord, you made me believe so.

HAMLET
You should not have believed me; for virtue cannot
so inoculate our old stock but we shall relish of
it: I loved you not.

OPHELIA
I was the more deceived.

HAMLET
Get thee to a nunnery: why wouldst thou be a
breeder of sinners?

Can anyone paraphrase in there words what these lines mean for me?
thanks

SiHAc

Rinas_Jaded
05-03-2007, 10:56 AM
Hamlet is Using Ophelia just as everyone else in her life has. In regards to these lines I believe that Amleth has some good points. Of course Hamlet knows that he is being overheard, and he is prepared to do anything to keep his secret even though he almost gives it away. (He actually does tell Rosencrantz and Guildenstern not directly, but indirectly his plot to kill his uncle.) In regards to his conversation with Ophelia, I also believe that in order to fully understand these lines you need to know where there conversation starts Act 3, Scene1, lines 92 – 153 is pretty much the beginning of the end for their wooing. I believe that by saying “Get thee to a nunnery” Hamlet is telling Ophelia that she needs to get to a brothel, because in that time period other religions were considered a joke. So in that time period they tried to make a mockery of them. Hamlet also really trying to make a complete fool of Ophelia because she is always doing what she is told she is being controlled why not more? He did care for her, and claims he still does at the end, and I believe he still does. Just as all of us do we sometimes hurt the ones we love just so we get what we want out of the situation. This is what I think.


Hamlet has noticed Ophelia at a distance when he says "the fair Ophelia." To himself, he asks her to pray for him. He then approaches Ophelia, and she speaks first.

Hamlet knows he's being overheard in the scene. He knows Claudius is there. His remarks are a "logical argument" intended both for Ophelia and Claudius.

To understand the dialogue, it's necessary to know that Hamlet knows Claudius is there. Recall that Claudius said he summoned Hamlet to be there, but when Hamlet arrives - where's Claudius? Hamlet is expecting Claudius to be there, and Hamlet quickly perceives that Claudius is behind the arras.

We could talk more about that if you want to. It probably needs further discussion. But you'll never understand the scene without accepting that Hamlet knows Claudius is behind the arras.



The wording you have is from the First Folio version of Hamlet. The Second Quarto has the correct wording, however. The exact wording is important.

The word "honest" means "honorable." Hamlet is saying that if Ophelia is both honorable and beautiful, she should not permit compliments on her beauty.



Ophelia naturally wants to know, why not? She doesn't see why, if she's beautiful, people shouldn't truthfully say so. The word "honesty" means "truthfulness." She asks if there's a better way to approach beauty than with truthfulness.



Hamlet says the power of beauty will prostitute truthfulness. What he means, in other words, is that beauty will make men lie.

He goes on to say, that will happen easier than truthfulness can make beauty a real virtue, like "truthfulness" is.

Hamlet is casting it as a contest between truth and beauty. He's arguing that beauty will defeat truth. Beauty will make men lie, he says. The lie he means was when he told her he loved her. He's trying to argue that when he said he loved her, he didn't realize at the time that it was really her beauty defeating his truthfulness.

It's complicated, but basically he's trying to argue that Ophelia's beauty made him lie, when he said he loved her. It was a contest between her beauty, and his truth, and he lost - he told a lie.

The paradox is in beauty not being a real virtue, because it can cause lying.

"The time" means "this instance," between Hamlet and Ophelia.



Hamlet tells Ophelia she shouldn't have believed him when he said he loved her, because men are all liars. "Our old stock" means men, the male sex. He's trying to warn Ophelia that all men will be liars in response to her beauty.



Hamlet tells Ophelia to go to a nunnery, where there won't be men around, because her beauty will make men lie to her. She'll "breed" sinners in that way, by turning men into liars. Because she's so beautiful, men will all be saying they love her, whether they do or not.

There's also the simple meaning that any child Ophelia would have would be a sinner, since all mankind are sinners, in some way or other. So, it has a double meaning, as many things in Hamlet do. But the "interesting" meaning is in Hamlet's claim that Ophelia's beauty will turn men into liars, who will tell her they love her whether they really do or not.

It's an extremely complicated scene that needs a great deal of discussion to fully appreciate. But essentially, Hamlet is arguing "beauty" versus "truth."

And notice that Hamlet bases his whole argument on how beautiful Ophelia is, as he sees her. There's the old saying, and it's perfectly true, that beauty is in the eye of the beholder. As Hamlet looks at Ophelia, she's the most beautiful thing he ever saw.

So we know how Hamlet feels about Ophelia, no matter what he says. When he says he doesn't love her, he's lying through his teeth. If he didn't love her, she wouldn't look so beautiful to him.

The Nunnery Scene is one of the great scenes in all of literature, and it's beastly intricate and complicated. It's Hamlet's logical argument about truth versus beauty, and as he says it to Ophelia, he's lyin' like a dog.

All good points, but Why does Hamlet do all of this to Ophelia in the firstplace?