Shakespeare!

Could someone help me understand something Hamlet says to Polonius?

For the satirical rogue says here that old men
have gray beards, that their faces are wrinkled, their eyes
purging thick amber and plum-tree gum, and that they
190 have a plentiful lack of wit, together with most weak
hams—all which, sir, though I most powerfully and
potently believe, yet I hold it not honesty to have it thus set
down; for yourself, sir, should be old as I am, if like a crab
you could go backward.

I just really don't understand the last part about going backward? I'm reading the archaic text next to the modern just in case, but the modern is pretty similar to it. And since this precedes such a famous line, I'd really like to know this part. Thanks in advance.


This site discusses various interpretations of this line.

http://bardseyeviewblog.blogspot.com/2006/01/hamlet-8-madness-yet-theres-method.html

For the satirical rogue says here that old men
have gray beards, that their faces are wrinkled, their eyes
purging thick amber and plum-tree gum, and that they
have a plentiful lack of wit, together with most weak
hams—
He is describing what "the satirical rogue" says old men should be like.
all which, sir, though I most powerfully and
potently believe, yet I hold it not honesty to have it thus set
down;
But Hamlet doesn't believe it is true of all old men.
for yourself, sir, should be old as I am, if like a crab
you could go backward.
If Polonius could go backward in time, he would be like Hamlet is.

So ... who is that satirical rogue? And do you think Hamlet is speaking what he really thinks? Or is he making fun of Polonius in a cutting way? Remember that he is pretending to be "mad" in this section of the play.

??

  1. 👍
  2. 👎
  3. 👁

Respond to this Question

First Name

Your Response

Similar Questions

  1. English 4

    Write a brief response to Polonius's statement "And thus do we of wisdom and of reach... By indirections find directions out." What do you think of his method of finding out the truth about his son?

  2. World History

    What is the most likely factor that contributed to Sudan’s division into Sudan and South Sudan? Sudan’s many ethnic cultures refused to hold a national identity above their tribal identities. Decades-long civil wars between

  3. World History

    Why did rogue states become more prominent following the Soviet Union’s collapse? I know what a rogue state is but I don't know why it is involved with the Soviet Union and their collapse. I also know that it has something to do

  4. history

    which describes a major obstacle nations encounter when dealing with rogue state such s north korea 1. the leaders of rogue states recognize no outside authority 2 a rogue states leadership may change without warning 3.a rogues

  1. English

    How do these develop theme of these allusions from Hamlet? 1. "I would have such a fellow whipped for o'erdoing Termagant" (II,ii,14) So basically Hamlet is telling his actors not over act during the play. 2. “For O, For O, the

  2. To be or not to be speech

    What literary devices are used in "To be or not to be that is the question" from Hamlet? I have to analyze the speech and I would like to know if my interpretation is correct. Hamlet is talking to himself and he is debating

  3. English 4

    Hamlet Act 1 scene 1-4 Most of the advice Polonius gives Laertes concerns etiquette and ways to make a good impression on other people. Name the precept from Polonius's farewell speech to his son that seems to contain the best

  4. English- Hamlet

    I want to know what this line mean in hamlet: but break my heart for i must hold my tongue why do Hamlet not want to share his feelings with anyone?

  1. English

    is Polonius a good advisor to the king in Hamlet? please help me, its for a essay, your help is greatly appreciated. THank you!!

  2. Hamlet Essay Edit? need help asap pleasee

    Can someone please edit this for me please? thanks so much! Act 5 Scene 2 concludes the Shakespearean play Hamlet. Dilemmas which were prominent in the play are resolved during this scene. Vital themes like decay, selfishness, and

  3. English

    Have you ever read Hamlet? - Yes, I have. I have ever read Hamlet. (Is this short dialogue grammatical? Would you check the last sentence? Is the last sentence right?)

  4. 12th grade English

    Can you check my essay, it is not done, but I want to see if I'm on the right track? My essay is on Hamlet and the thesis statement: "Domino effect of death" Hamlet: A Chain Reaction of Death In Hamlet, death is seen throughout

You can view more similar questions or ask a new question.