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This page presents lines from the play, with brief comments, both to establish that a theme of Duty exists in the play, and to indicate its significance. The lines are presented Scene by Scene. I identify Duty as a Theme because it is a motivator for action. (That is not always what the word "theme" means in writings in general.)

This presentation concentrates on lines which use the word "duty" expressly, however, implications of "duty" are included where they are unmistakable. Subtle implications of duty may exist, and do, but are not included here.

Scene 1

Scene 1#000-SD (Francisco and Bernardo enter) - the initial entry of the play presents two military sentinels on duty.

Scene 1#017 Marcellus: And liegemen to the Dane. - while Marcellus does not speak the word, his line is an expression of his duty to the King.

Scene 1#184 As needful in our loves, fitting our duty? - the decision to tell Hamlet about the Ghost is explicitly motivated by love and duty.

Scene 2

Scene 2#039 Farewell, and let your haste commend your duty. - an explicit assignment of duty to Cornelius and Voltemand.

Scene 2#040 Cornelius and Voltemand both: In that, and all things, will we show our duty. - their explicit acknowledgment of duty.

Scene 2#054 To show my duty in your coronation - Laertes expressly states duty as why he was there for the coronation.

Scene 2#055 Yet now I must confess, that duty done - explicit again, that Laertes has done his duty.

Scene 2#090 To give these mourning duties to your father - Claudius casts it as duty that Hamlet mourns his father's death.

Scene 2#230 And we did think it writ down in our duty - An express statement of duty as why they're telling Hamlet about the Ghost.

Scene 2#269 (All): Our duty to your honor. - Horatio, Marcellus and Bernardo all express duty to Hamlet.

Scene 3


Scene 4

Scene 4#097 Marcellus: Let's follow, 'tis not fit thus to obey him. - The idea of duty is subtle in this case, but Marcellus is saying he feels it's his duty, for Hamlet's own good, not to obey Hamlet.

Scene 5

Scene 6

Scene 7

Scene 8

Scene 9

Scene 10

Scene 11

Scene 12

Scene 13

Scene 14

Scene 15

Scene 16

Scene 17

Scene 18

Scene 19

Scene 20

© 2014 Jeffrey Paul Jordan

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