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‘Get thee to a nunnery’ is a expression that wake up in Shakespeare’s play, Hamlet. The is other Hamlet claims to Ophelia, the young woman with whom he is having actually a relationship at a minute when he is in ~ his wit’s end. The precise words Hamlet’s states are:

“If she dost marry, I’ll provide thee this afflict for thy dowry. It is in thou as chaste together ice, together pure as snow, thou shalt no escape calumny. Acquire thee come a nunnery, go. Farewell. Or, if you wilt demands marry, marry a fool, for way men know well enough what monster you do of them. Come a nunnery, go, and also quickly too. Farewell.”

Context of the phrase ‘Get thee to a nunnery’ in Hamlet

The background to Hamlet utilizing the well known phrase ‘Get thee come a nunnery’ needs some explaining, so bear v us:

Hamlet has returned from university in Germany because his father has died. Together his father’s heir, the expects to be crowned king. Instead, that finds that his father’s brother, Claudius, has moved conveniently to do himself king.

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Not just that, but Claudius has additionally won the affection of the late king’s wife, Hamlet’s mommy Gertrude, and married her. On top of that Hamlet has actually just to be told by the ghost that his uncle murdered his father.

Hamlet is less concerned around being disinherited than that his mother has actually remarried, and an especially that she has actually married a guy so worse to her late husband. And all therefore soon. To him, it is a mark of the frailty of the woman psyche. It is even much more of a concern for him 보다 that his father has been murdered by the guy who has actually now bring away his place. At this point, his main worry is his realisation of exactly how fickle women can be. He jobs his disappointment v his mom on to all women, so when Ophelia ideologies him she is a all set target because that his bitterness and anger.

Ophelia has actually just returned his letters and the gifts he has provided her. That is putting oil on troubled waters: the is something that sees as betrayal. He is so full of anger and hurt the he allows fly in ~ her. The grabs her and also shouts at her, cursing the fickleness of ladies in general.

He speak her the the only means she will have the ability to protect it s her from her female nature – the fickleness and also betrayal the he qualities to women – would be to lock herself far in a nunnery where she will not have any contact with men and therefore be can not to betray them.

Meaning that ‘Get thee to a nunnery’

Nunneries to be convents, in which women lived, prayed and committed themselves come God, and also played no component in the sort of life the normal world lived. In convents, women couldn’t marry and they can not be influenced by, or influence, guys at all. Those situations are the only ones in i beg your pardon women are prevented from gift unfaithful and also in which they will as such cause the least amount of damages – gift literally locked up.

Hamlet’s misogyny walk further. “Nunnery” was an Elizabethan slang term for a brothel. That provides his suggestion that she should get herself come a nunnery double offensive. ~ above the one hand the is telling her to maintain her virtue and also on the other saying that she must overindulge.


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‘Get thee to a nunnery’, spoken by Kenneth Branagh as Hamlet to Kate Winslet together Ophelia


Explanation of Hamlet’s ‘Get thee to a nunnery’ speech

On encountering Ophelia, Hamlet is in the worst emotionally state possible. He starts by telling her the if she ever married, “be thou as chaste as ice, as pure together snow,” or if not, “marry a fool” that would no be wise sufficient to understand “what monster you make of them.” His wild and also vicious words space in great contrast come the love words he has actually used towards her every her life.

Being in a nunnery meant that she would have actually no children, no daughters to prosper up to betray men. “Why wouldst thou it is in a breeder the sinners?” he demands. “Get thee come a nunnery.” “Go!” he yells.

Seeing Hamlet prefer this terrifies and also appalls Ophelia. This is the guy she loves, and also he has loved her. They have actually known every other due to the fact that childhood. They have exchanged gifts and talked around eventual marriage. His terrifying rage, draw close her through his apparel disarranged, his hair anywhere the place, his eye flaming, she is frightened and confused. In ~ the end of the encounter every she deserve to do is shake her head and also make a sad observation: “O what a noble mind is below o’erthrown!”

Ophelia is being used in this scene. Claudius, full of guilt and also afraid of what Hamlet will execute if that finds out what he has actually done, is really keen top top finding out what the knows. He has actually a willing co-conspirator in Ophelia’s father, Polonius. They ar Ophelia in Hamlet’s means and hide in a ar where they deserve to overhear your conversation.

It is possible that Hamlet is aware that the is gift spied on. After ~ all, Elsinore is a location where spying on people is routine. Gift spied on is something Hamlet expects and also so is able to have manage by behaving in methods that might advantage him.

In this case, he might actually be deliberately going over the top for the advantage of those spying top top him. The result is that they currently regard him as mad, i m sorry suits him.

As for Ophelia, this scene is just one of the plenty of examples of the experiences the lead up to her suicide. Transparent the play, up until her death, she is abused by men. She father treats her abominably, as does Claudius, return the smooth-tongued king go not use the abusive language towards her the Polonius does. And also now, her lover, who she should be able to depend on for support and also a love attitude, bombards her through hateful sentiments and language.

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Telling Ophelia “Get thee to a nunnery” is a central quote in Hamlet for every the reasons outlined.