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The Tragedy of Hamlet, Prince of Denmark: Act 2

Shakespeare's famous tragedy tells the story of a Danish prince who must decide whether or not to avenge his father's death. Read the full text here.

Here are links to our lists for the play: Act 1, Act 2, Act 3, Act 4, Act 5
40 words 12,613 learners

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Full list of words from this list:

  1. wanton
    not restrained or controlled
    But, sir, such wanton, wild and usual slips
    As are companions noted and most known
    To youth and liberty.
  2. assay
    an appraisal of the state of affairs
    Your bait of falsehood take this carp of truth;
    And thus do we of wisdom and of reach,
    With windlasses and with assays of bias,
    By indirections find directions out.
  3. purport
    the pervading meaning or tenor
    Lord Hamlet, with his doublet all unbraced,
    No hat upon his head, his stockings fouled,
    Ungartered, and down-gyvèd to his ankle,
    Pale as his shirt, his knees knocking each other,
    And with a look so piteous in purport
    As if he had been loosèd out of hell
    To speak of horrors—he comes before me.
  4. profound
    coming from deep within one
    At last, a little shaking of mine arm,
    And thrice his head thus waving up and down,
    He raised a sigh so piteous and profound
    As it did seem to shatter all his bulk
    And end his being.
  5. vouchsafe
    grant in a condescending manner
    I entreat you both
    That, being of so young days brought up with him
    And sith so neighbored to his youth and havior,
    That you vouchsafe your rest here in our court
  6. glean
    collect or gather bit by bit, especially information
    ...so by your companies
    To draw him on to pleasures, and to gather
    So much as from occasion you may glean,
    Whether aught to us unknown afflicts him thus
    That, opened, lies within our remedy.
  7. liege
    a feudal lord entitled to allegiance and service
    I assure my good liege,
    I hold my duty as I hold my soul,
    Both to my God and to my gracious king
  8. rebuke
    an act or expression of criticism and censure
    Whereat, grieved
    That so his sickness, age, and impotence
    Was falsely borne in hand, sends out arrests
    On Fortinbras, which he, in brief, obeys,
    Receives rebuke from Norway, and, in fine,
    Makes vow before his uncle never more
    To give th’ assay of arms against your Majesty.
  9. expostulate
    reason with for the purpose of dissuasion
    My liege, and madam, to expostulate
    What majesty should be, what duty is,
    Why day is day, night night, and time is time
    Were nothing but to waste night, day, and time.
  10. brevity
    the use of concise expressions
    Therefore, since brevity is the soul of wit,
    And tediousness the limbs and outward flourishes,
    I will be brief.
  11. solicit
    request urgently or persistently
    This in obedience hath my daughter shown me,
    And more above, hath his solicitings,
    As they fell out by time, by means, and place,
    All given to mine ear.
  12. fain
    in a willing manner
    Hath there been such a time (I would fain know that)
    That I have positively said “’Tis so,”
    When it proved otherwise?
  13. arras
    a wall hanging of handwoven fabric with pictorial designs
    Be you and I behind an arras then.
  14. carrion
    the dead and rotting body of an animal; unfit for human food
    For if the sun breed maggots in a dead dog, being a good kissing carrion—Have you a daughter?
  15. extremity
    a condition or state beyond the norm
    He is far gone. And truly, in my youth, I suffered much extremity for love, very near this.
  16. satirical
    exposing human folly to ridicule
    Slanders, sir; 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...
  17. tedious
    so lacking in interest as to cause mental weariness
    These tedious old fools.
  18. promontory
    a natural elevation
    I have of late, but wherefore I know not, lost all my mirth, forgone all custom of exercises, and, indeed, it goes so heavily with my disposition that this goodly frame, the Earth, seems to me a sterile promontory...
  19. firmament
    the sphere on which celestial bodies appear to be projected
    ...this most excellent canopy, the air, look you, this brave o’erhanging firmament, this majestical roof, fretted with golden fire—why, it appeareth nothing to me but a foul and pestilent congregation of vapors.
  20. pestilent
    exceedingly harmful
    ...this most excellent canopy, the air, look you, this brave o’erhanging firmament, this majestical roof, fretted with golden fire—why, it appeareth nothing to me but a foul and pestilent congregation of vapors.
  21. paragon
    model of excellence or perfection of a kind
    What a piece of work is a man, how noble in reason, how infinite in faculties, in form and moving how express and admirable; in action how like an angel, in apprehension how like a god: the beauty of the world, the paragon of animals—and yet, to me, what is this quintessence of dust?
  22. quintessence
    the purest and most concentrated aspect of something
    What a piece of work is a man, how noble in reason, how infinite in faculties, in form and moving how express and admirable; in action how like an angel, in apprehension how like a god: the beauty of the world, the paragon of animals—and yet, to me, what is this quintessence of dust?
  23. foil
    a light slender flexible sword tipped by a button
    The adventurous knight shall use his foil and target, the lover shall not sigh gratis...
  24. gratis
    without payment
    The adventurous knight shall use his foil and target, the lover shall not sigh gratis...
  25. aerie
    the lofty nest of a bird of prey, such as a hawk or eagle
    But there is, sir, an aerie of children, little eyases, that cry out on the top of question and are most tyrannically clapped for ’t.
  26. eyas
    an unfledged or nestling hawk
    But there is, sir, an aerie of children, little eyases, that cry out on the top of question and are most tyrannically clapped for ’t.
  27. rapier
    a straight sword with a narrow blade and two edges
    These are now the fashion and so berattle the common stages (so they call them) that many wearing rapiers are afraid of goose quills and dare scarce come thither.
  28. ducat
    formerly a gold coin of various European countries
    It is not very strange; for my uncle is King of Denmark, and those that would make mouths at him while my father lived give twenty, forty, fifty, a hundred ducats apiece for his picture in little.
  29. appurtenance
    a supplementary component that improves capability
    Your hands, come then. Th’ appurtenance of welcome is fashion and ceremony.
  30. indict
    accuse formally of a crime
    I remember one said there were no sallets in the lines to make the matter savory, nor no matter in the phrase that might indict the author of affection, but called it an honest method, [as wholesome as sweet and, by very much, more handsome than fine.]
  31. coagulate
    transformed from a liquid into a soft semisolid mass
    Roasted in wrath and fire,
    And thus o’ersizèd with coagulate gore,
    With eyes like carbuncles, the hellish Pyrrhus
    Old grandsire Priam seeks.
  32. reverend
    worthy of adoration or respect
    For lo, his sword,
    Which was declining on the milky head
    Of reverend Priam, seemed i’ th’ air to stick.
  33. rheum
    a watery discharge from the mucous membranes
    Run barefoot up and down, threat’ning the flames
    With bisson rheum, a clout upon that head
    Where late the diadem stood, and for a robe,
    About her lank and all o’erteemèd loins
    A blanket, in the alarm of fear caught up—
  34. diadem
    an ornamental jeweled headdress signifying sovereignty
    Run barefoot up and down, threat’ning the flames
    With bisson rheum, a clout upon that head
    Where late the diadem stood, and for a robe,
    About her lank and all o’erteemèd loins
    A blanket, in the alarm of fear caught up—
  35. epitaph
    an inscription in memory of a buried person
    Do you hear, let them be well used, for they are the abstract and brief chronicles of the time. After your death you were better have a bad epitaph than their ill report while you live.
  36. cleave
    separate or cut with a tool, such as a sharp instrument
    He would drown the stage with tears
    And cleave the general ear with horrid speech,
    Make mad the guilty and appall the free,
    Confound the ignorant and amaze indeed
    The very faculties of eyes and ears.
  37. gall
    a feeling of deep and bitter anger and ill-will
    For it cannot be
    But I am pigeon-livered and lack gall
    To make oppression bitter, or ere this
    I should have fatted all the region kites
    With this slave’s offal.
  38. offal
    viscera and trimmings of a butchered animal
    For it cannot be
    But I am pigeon-livered and lack gall
    To make oppression bitter, or ere this
    I should have fatted all the region kites
    With this slave’s offal.
  39. melancholy
    a constitutional tendency to be gloomy and depressed
    The spirit that I have seen
    May be a devil, and the devil hath power
    T’ assume a pleasing shape; yea, and perhaps,
    Out of my weakness and my melancholy,
    As he is very potent with such spirits,
    Abuses me to damn me.
  40. conscience
    a feeling of shame when you do something immoral
    I’ll have grounds
    More relative than this. The play’s the thing
    Wherein I’ll catch the conscience of the King.
Created on April 4, 2013 (updated August 2, 2021)

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