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Hamlet Glossary

The time is out of joint; O curs'd spite,
That ever I was born to set it right! (1.5.188)

out of joint, utterly disordered; a metaphor from a bone which has slipped from its proper juncture with another bone, the same metaphor being apparently mixed up with that of setting a clock.

cursed spite ... right, "Hamlet does not lament that the disjointed time is to be set right by him, but that he ... whose duty it of necessity becomes to set the time right, should have been born" (Seymour).

Full annotations for Hamlet (1.5)

How to cite the explanatory notes:
Shakespeare, William. Hamlet, prince of Denmark. Ed. K. Deighton. London: Macmillan, 1919. Shakespeare Online. 20 Feb. 2010. < >.


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The Ghost in the Cellarage

"It has been thought that the whole of the last part of I. v., from the entrance of Horatio and Marcellus, follows the old play closely, and that Shakespeare is condescending to the groundlings. Here again, whether or no he took a suggestion from the old play, I see no reason to think that he wrote down to his public. So far as Hamlet's state of mind is concerned, there is not a trace of this. Anyone who has a difficulty in understanding it should read Coleridge's note. What appears grotesque is the part taken by the Ghost, and Hamlet's consequent removal from one part of the stage to another." A. C. Bradley. Read on...

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