It is pretty remarkable that Ophelia says, “Th’expectancy and rose of the fair state” right here, right in front of the king who took that fair state from him. I mean, there aren’t a lot of references to what is, presumably, Hamlet’s true right to the throne and the fact that sweet, meek little Ophelia is one of them is really something. Especially with the king behind the arras.
This vision of Hamlet is pretty flattering. He’s the glass of fashion? Truly? Do all the young men of Denmark wear what he’s wearing?
Mould of form? Nice. Sounds like he was made with a hot bod.
Th’observed of all observers. . .well – that just means everyone’s watching him, doesn’t it? I want it to mean that Hamlet is the keenest of observationists, that he doesn’t miss a trick. . .but the construction won’t let me really do that.
What I am baffled by are the “The courtier’s, soldier’s, scholar’s, eye, tongue, sword.” I thought, for a moment, I had it – thinking that the possessives were about the eye – that he has an eye that is all three of these things. But there is a comma there, after “scholar’s” (not that I trust a comma to tell me much but. . . for argument’s sake.. . .) Then I thought – well – is it the Courtier’s eye, the Soldier’s tongue, the scholar’s sword? That doesn’t make a whole lot of sense, given that soldier’s are not generally known for their speech. If that were the case, wouldn’t it rather be, the courtier’s eye, the soldier’s sword, the scholar’s tongue? Or is this construction as disoriented as Ophelia is after dealing with Hamlet?
It is a rather curious construction, in any case, and not one I’ve noticed elsewhere. Lists? Sure. All the time. Lists that seem to shake out of order? Not so much.