‘To say one’: An Essay on Hamlet

  • Ralph Berry


The beginning of Act v, Scene 2 finds Hamlet in a trough between action, released for once from the immediate stimuli of events. He is merely discussing his affairs with Horatio. It is a still moment, not with the felt danger of the moment that follows the acceptance of Laertes’ challenge, but freer, less constrained. Horatio reminds him gently that the English authorities must shortly report on the death of Rosencrantz and Guildenstern. And Hamlet responds with these words:

It will be short,

The interim’s mine, and a mans life’s no more

Then to say one.


Mans Life Final Scene English Authority Classical Paradox Tragic Hero 
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‘To say one’: An Essay on Hamlet

  1. 17.
    L. C. Knights, Some Shakespearean Themes and An Approach to Hamlet (Stanford, 1966) p. 191 et seq.Google Scholar
  2. 3.
    Harry Levin, The Question of Hamlet (New York, 1961) p. 69.Google Scholar
  3. 5.
    David Horowitz, Shakespeare: An Existentialist View (London, 1965) p. 39.Google Scholar
  4. 7.
    Michael Goldman, Shakespeare and the Energies of Drama (Princeton, 1972) pp. 74–93.Google Scholar
  5. 10.
    M. M. Mahood, Shakespeare’s Wordplay (London, 1957 ) pp. 116–17.CrossRefGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© Ralph Berry 1978

Authors and Affiliations

  • Ralph Berry
    • 1
  1. 1.York UniversityCanada

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