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List of references to Hamlet, organized by media. See also Good Night, Sweet Prince and Alas, Poor Yorick. note 


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    Anime and Manga 
  • Dragon Ball Z:
    • In the Funimation dub of one episode, Frieza says to Vegeta, "Good Night, Sweet Prince" before attempting to finish him off.
    • Another episode's original title says, "Savior, Thy Name Is Son Gohan!!" (a parody of the line "Frailty, thy name is woman"), though the FUNimation dub renamed it as "A Great Fighter, His Name Is Gohan".
  • The Major from the Hellsing Ultimate OVA quotes Hamlet, although instead of saying "there are more things in heaven and earth than are dreamt of in your philosophy" he says "there are more things in heaven and hell then are dreamt of in their philosophy".
  • "Neither a borrower nor a lender be" is said by "Twilight" Suzuka in Outlaw Star (at least, in the English dub), in response to Gene's request to borrow money from her.
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    Comic Book 
  • Asterix: In The Great Crossing Asterix and Obelix are brought to Denmark by some Vikings. At one point the Viking chieftain has the feeling one of his subordinates lied to him. He holds up a skull and says: "There's something rotten in my kingdom." Later another Viking wonders whether he discovered a new continent or not and says: "To be or not to be, that's the question."
  • In Batman: Noel, as the Joker carries the unconscious Batman to his newly-dug grave, a narrator says, "Some people start hallucinating when they're about to die. In my book, if you're chasing beautiful women across rooftops and flying around with big colorful men that glow, somethin's rotten in Denmark."
  • In the 1946 Donald Duck story "Jet Rescue", Donald paraphrases a famous Hamlet phrase when his nephews ruin his garden with their kite-flying.
    Donald: To get mad or not get mad? That is the question.
    (one of their kites hits him in the back of the head)
    Donald: It is no longer a question! (grabs a stick and chases the boys)
  • The Archie Mega Man comics feature the Old Cop, Young Cop pair of Roslyn Krantz and Gilbert D. Stern.
  • An issue of Uncanny X-Men from 1975 has this opening narration:
    The bard of Avon said it best: "To sleep, perchance to dream...Aye, there's the rub! For in that sleep of death, what dreams may come when we have shuffled off this mortal coil, must give us pause." And if the dreams of the dead must give us pause...what then of the dreams of the living? For example, the dreams of Charles Xavier?

    Film — Animated 
  • "What piece of work is a man" was done awesomely in Coraline. Especially since they were saying it ironically, though Coraline and unfamiliar viewers wouldn't know it at the time.
  • In The Nightmare Before Christmas, a clear reference appears in "Jack's Lament":
    And since I am dead, I can take off my head/ To recite Shakespearean quotations.

    Film — Live-Action 
  • "To thine own self be true" was used by Heather in Clueless.
  • The Departed:
    • Before an operation, Captain Queenan tells Collin that "readiness is all."
    • Costigan quotes Hawthorne. Dignam isn't impressed: [fart noise] "What's the matter, smartass, you don't know any fuckin' Shakespeare?"
  • Gettysburg: Hamlet's "What a piece of work is man" speech is said by a fictionalized version of Joshua Chamberlain.
  • In Jesus of Montreal, while playing Pilate in the passion play he helps put on, Rene quotes from the "To be or not to be" speech.
  • Des McGrath in The Last Days of Disco says the "To thine own self be true" speech.
  • A section of My Darling Clementine concerns Granville Thorndyke, a ham-actor with a reputation as a Shakespearean: he skips out of his scheduled appearance in a modern play in favor of drunkenly quoting Hamlet in the local saloon. Midway through his mediocre recitation of the "To be or not to be" soliloquy, he loses his place and asks for a cue. On hearing Doc Holliday speak the next line — much better than he can — Thorndyke refuses to continue. Holliday finishes the soliloquy, imbuing it with a pathos drawn from his own death wish.
  • In the original A Nightmare on Elm Street (1984), Nancy's class is studying Shakespeare. After Nancy starts seeing a corpse talk to her, one of the students quotes:
    O God, I could be bounded in a nutshell and count myself a king of infinite space, were it not that I have bad dreams.
  • The Princess Diaries: The second movie has Lilly referring to Mia's chambermaids as 'Rosencrantz' and 'Guildenstern'.
  • In Renaissance Man, Danny DeVito's character is assigned to teach a class of undereducated students on an Army base. To that end, he takes the novel approach of using the various works of Shakespeare to kick-start their minds. He quotes "To thine own self be true", and they invent a marching cadence that recaps the play:
    Hamlet's mother, she's the queen
    Buys it in the final scene
    Drinks a glass of funky wine
    Now she's Satan's Valentine
  • In The Return of the Pink Panther:
    Clouseau: Cato, something is rotten in the state of Denmark!
    Cato: Switzerland?
    Clouseau: Yes, that too.
  • At the end of Revenge of the Sith, the late Padme Amidala is actually laid out in a similar way to how Ophelia died by drowning for her funeral in Naboo after she has been strangled to death by her own husband Anakin Skywalker Darth Vader due to him completely falling to the Dark Side.
  • Star Trek VI: The Undiscovered Country contains several quotations from Hamlet, starting with the title, and the famous quote that to truly appreciate Shakespeare, you need to hear it "in the original Klingon."
    • Martia: I thought I would assume a pleasing shape.
    • Gorkon: A toast. To the undiscovered country — the future!
    • Chang: To be... or not... to be...
  • The chairman of Apocalypse, Inc. says "Neither a borrower nor a lender be" in The Toxic Avenger Part II.
  • True Romance: "Something is rotten in the state of Denmark."
  • Withnail & I:
    • Uncle Monty was an aspiring actor, and he says it's a sad day when a young man realizes he's never going to play the Dane.
    • It has Withnail quoting the 'I have of late, but wherefore I know not, lost all my mirth' speech. And thereby proving he's actually a good actor.
  • In The Wolfman (2010), Lawrence is an actor whose most recent play was Hamlet, and the references and parallels to the play are played pretty creepily in the film. And Hamlet was famously played by Sir Lawrence Olivier.
  • The character poster for the titular villain of X-Men: Apocalypse evokes the Yorick's skull scene.
  • In Ready Player One (2018), I-R0k shows Nolan Sorrento the skull of the Steampunk Pirate King he defeated, adding: "I knew him well, Sorrento."

    Literature 
  • "How all occasions do inform against me" comes up often in Blackout/All Clear by Connie Willis, they might as well be Arc Words. Polly Churchill chooses all her aliases from Shakespeare, and she falls in with a famous Shakespearean actor who constantly speaks in allusions to the Bard.
  • In A Civil Campaign, Miles Vorkosigan has a conversation with Ekaterin's son Nikki about Hamlet, because Nikki is worried that Miles might have killed his father and that he'll have to get revenge. Miles points out that "Nobody expects you to carry out a really good revenge till you're at least old enough to shave," so, since Nikki is eleven, even if Miles did kill his father he doesn't have to worry about revenge for several more years.
  • In Father, Forgive Them, the first book of The Father Luke Wolfe Trilogy, Father Luke's English students are studying Hamlet, which is parallelled in the murder mystery and the motive of the murderer.
  • British statesman Lord Chesterfield's opinion in Letters to His Son: "for, To BE, or NOT To BE, is a question of much less importance, in my mind, than to be or not to be well." (letter 235)
  • Professor Mmaa's Lecture: Two royal agents Rosencrantz and Guildenstern.
  • The book The 13 Clocks has its hero quote Nanki-Poo, thereby also quoting Shakespeare. In Nanki-Poo's famous song in The Mikado, the line "A thing of shreds and patches" echoes Hamlet's line, "A king of shreds and patches.".
  • While Wyrd Sisters is most obviously Macbeth, the Ghost of the Murdered King seeking revenge, and the idea of guilting the Duke with a play that duplicates the events of the murder are both straight from Hamlet.

    Live-Action TV 
  • Arrested Development: "Well, it's like the Ten Commandments say. 'Be true to thine ownself, and to thine own self..." "Be true. Yeah. Number seven."
  • Blackadder, among its many Shakespearean references, has in the second season a passing mention of Blackadder's Uncle Osric.
  • Frasier: An episode is titled "Roz's Krantz And Gouldenstein Are Dead". This is a reference to Rosencrantz and Guildenstern Are Dead (whose title is itself a line from Hamlet).
  • Horatio Hornblower:
    • In "The Duel", Clayton refers to the play when he talks with Hornblower about suicide.
      Clayton: Damned unsporting of the Everlasting to have fixed his canon 'gainst self-slaughter, if you ask me.
    • Archie Kennedy is a great fan of the bard, and in "Retribution" he paraphrases Osrick's "a hit, a very palpable hit" when he reports that Lt. Bush's heated shot was successful.
    • In "The Duchess and the Devil", when Archie is breaking the news to Horatio that the Duchess of Wharfedale is actually an actress impersonating a noblewoman, he says she has more claim to be Queen Gertrude than to be a duchess.
  • "To thine own self be true" was used in Lois & Clark: The New Adventures of Superman, as said by Leslie.
  • Mash:
    • Frank Burns uses the line "Neither a borrower nor a lender be" (rather inaptly) to Radar.
    • Winchester, at the end of the "Dreams" episode. "To sleep, perchance to dream." Thus encouraging everyone to get another cup of coffee.
    • Once, after Hawkeye and BJ misquoted a number of Shakespearian lines for fun, Winchester quipped, "There are more things in heaven and earth, Horatio..." prompting Hawkeye to announce, "If there's one thing I hate it's someone who butchers Shakespeare."
    • In the episode "Private Finance", when suspecting a dead soldier of criminal activities, Winchester commented, "Methinks something's rotten in the state of Ouijongbu."
  • The Mighty Boosh: Howard offers death-related quotes, and at one point the 'Death, the undiscovered country' soliloquy.
  • Eric from Morecambe and Wise decided to do Hamlet's soliloquy because drama makes more money than comedy. After Ernie interrupting him, he eventually starts: "To be or not to be. That is the question. ... Thank you." He bows and leaves. Ernies then explains that there's more to it than that, so Eric goes back to doing comedy (after the skull comments that the entire thing was rubbish).
  • Murdoch Mysteries: The Coroner Dr Julia Ogden is examining a skull and quotes "I knew him, Horatio" and laughs heartily at her little joke. Detective Murdoch and Constable Crabtree are rather disturbed by her morgue sense of humour.
  • In the Mystery Science Theater 3000 episode "The Screaming Skull," Tom says, "Alas, poor Yorick; she threw him well!"
  • Power Rangers Ninja Storm featured this memorable exchange:
    Lothor: "...there's something rotten in the state of Denmark..."
    Marah: I thought they were in California?
    Lothor: ...it's Shakespeare. Read a book.
    Kapri: Technically it's a play...
  • An exchange on Salute Your Shorts is inspired by Hamlet's observation that "a man may fish with the worm that hath eat of a king, and eat of the fish that hath fed of that worm" and therefore that "a king may go a progress through the guts of a beggar."
    Pinsky: Think about it. When you die they stick you in the ground and it's the worms that eat you up!
    Z.Z.: Then somebody digs up the worms that ate you and use to catch fish which somebody else eats.
    Donkeylips: So wait a second guys, when we had fish sticks the other night, I could have eaten a fish, that ate a worm, that ate Elvis?
    Z.Z.: You could be burping up the King as we speak!
  • Sam and Friends: One of Sam's friends is a puppet with skull-like features named Yorick.
  • In a segment of Sesame Street with guest star Patrick Stewart has him perform a variant of "To Be Or Not To Be" about the letter "B".
  • Star Trek: The Next Generation: "What a piece of work is a man; how noble in reason; how infinite in faculty, in form and moving how express and admirable in action; how like an angel in apprehension; how like a god." Picard proves he knows Shakespeare. Even more impressive, Picard also notes to Q that while Hamlet said it ironically, he says it with conviction. Patrick Stewart has been in two productions of Hamlet, both in which he played Claudius, and was originally trained as a Shakespearean actor.
  • The Suite Life of Zack and Cody "Neither a borrower nor a lender be," quotes Carey Martin.
  • The Twilight Zone (1959): The closing narration of "The Last Flight" is "Dialogue from a play, Hamlet to Horatio: 'There are more things in Heaven and Earth than are dreamt of in your philosophy.' Dialogue from a play written long before men took to the sky: There are more things in heaven and earth and in the sky than perhaps can be dreamt of. And somewhere in between Heaven, the sky and the Earth lies the Twilight Zone."
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    Music 
  • Bo Burnham named his second album Words Words Words and then mentioned Hamlet in the title track.
  • Emilie Autumn:
    • "Opheliac" quotes a big part of Hamlet in "Doubt thou the stars are fire/Doubt thou the sun doth move/Doubt truth to be a liar/But never doubt I love." But then, the song is basically a tribute to Hamlet's Ophelia, so this was to be expected.
    • "Goodnight Sweet Ladies" takes its name from a quote from Ophelia.
  • Five Iron Frenzy references Hamlet's famous soliloquy in their song "Against a Sea of Troubles". Where the Danish prince used the words to contemplate suicide, FIF uses them to signal defiance against the world until the bitter end.
  • The band This Mortal Coil took its name from a line from Hamlet.
  • The second line of T. Rex's "Planet Queen" is "Perchance to dream."
  • In The Cramps' song "Cornfed Dames" Lux sings "There's more things in Tennessee than are dreamed of in your philosophy", a reference to the title character's "more things in Heaven and Earth, Horatio."

    Newspaper Comics 
  • In FoxTrot, Jason and Marcus attack Paige with squirt guns that fire bugs. Marcus asks, "Did we shoot two bees, or not two bees?"

    Radio 
  • Ned Martin, a radio announcer for baseball's Boston Red Sox in the 1960s and '70s, was fond of using Claudius' "O Gertrude, when sorrows come, they come not single spies but in battalions" when things went bad for the team.

    Theatre 
  • "Words, words, words" is used "Martin's Laughing Song" in Leonard Bernstein's adaptation of Candide.
  • The Anthony Burgess translation of Cyrano de Bergerac riffs off the "Oh that this too too solid flesh" speech as well as quoting "In thy orisons Be All My Sins Remembered."
  • Hair uses "What a piece of work is a man" for song lyrics.
  • "To thine own self be true" was used in Merrily We Roll Along, quoted by the protagonist in his graduation speech.
  • In Nanki-Poo's famous song in The Mikado, the line "A thing of shreds and patches" echoes Hamlet's line, "A king of shreds and patches."
  • In "Show Me" from My Fair Lady, Liza interrupts Freddie's romantic song verse with "Words! Words! Words! I'm so sick of words!" Reference to "Words, words, words".
  • Peer Gynt: "Out there, under the radiant sky, they say 'To thine own self be true.' But here, in the world of trolls, we say 'To thine own self be—all-sufficient!'"
  • Rosencrantz and Guildenstern Are Dead is a Perspective Flip of Hamlet.
  • In Ruddigore, Robin quotes "Alas, poor ghost!"

    Video Games 
  • In Advance Wars: Dual Strike, Sonja can give the speech ("What piece of work") verbatim, then muses that she said something meaningful and asks someone to write it down.
  • In Borderlands 2, Psychos have a random chance of reciting the "too solid flesh" soliloquy in its entirety if you let them. Appropriate, since Psychos love to scream about meat and flesh in general, plus the soliloquy contains the word "Hyperion", the name of the Mega-Corp whose CEO is the game's Big Bad.
  • In Castlevania: Symphony of the Night, a skeleton searching for his head is named Yorick.
  • The description for Flight Rising's Poultrygeist is "A ghastly turkey, gobbling from beyond the grave. This bird was clearly victim of a murder most fowl, strange and unnatural."
  • The title and chapter-opening epigraphs of The King of Shreds and Patches are all from Hamlet, appropriately enough for a horror game where a good portion of the action centers around the play's first premiere. (The titular King, however, is an avatar of The King in Yellow.)
  • There are a ton of references to Hamlet in the Marathon trilogy. Marathon 2 has a level entitled "The Slings & Arrows of Outrageous Fortune". Marathon Infinity has a level called "Poor Yorick". In the level "Rise Robot Rise", Tycho compares Durandal and himself, respectively, to Claudius and Hamlet, "only I'm not crazy".
  • In Mass Effect, there are references to an all-elcor production of Hamlet on the Citadel. The elcor are an alien race who speak in a very dull monotone and convey emotions via pheromones and extremely subtle body language, both of which are imperceptible to non-elcor. As a courtesy when speaking to other races, they declare out loud what the tone of their next sentence is supposed to be. The director, a human, states that the idea behind an all-elcor cast was to challenge the audience by stripping out all the emotional subtext and leaving the audience to judge the characters on the merits of their actions alone. The production goes on to become a smash hit. Also, it's fourteen hours long.
    Elcor on Radio Commercial: Insincere endorsement: You have not experienced Shakespeare until you have heard him in the voice of elcor.
  • Monkey Island series:
    • In The Secret of Monkey Island, Stan S. Stanman quotes Polonius in saying, "Neither a borrower nor a lender be" (I.iii).
    • In Monkey Island 2, if the player has Guybrush examine the skull in his inventory, he says, "Alas, poor Dad", in a spoof of (V.i).
    • The Curse of Monkey Island:
      • A character decides to rewrite various Shakespeare plays to better suit the local pirates' tastes, resulting in lines such as "Alas, poor Yorick, I knew him...and his two pals!", the latter spoken while juggling three skulls (one of them being Murray the talking skull).
      • Speaking of Murray, if the player tries having Guybrush use him anywhere else, he'll say, "Alas, I can't use Murray with that" (another spoof of (V.i)).
    • Tales of Monkey Island:
      • In Chapter 4, if the player has Guybrush use one of the severed legs on the altar without dipping it in sugar water, he will quote a few lines in a spoof of "Alas, poor Yorick" from (V.i).
      • One of the PS3 trophies is titled "Adieu, Adieu..." which is a reference to Hamlet's father's written line, "Adieu, adieu, remember me," from (I.v)).
  • Otome wa Boku ni Koishiteru quotes "To be, or not to be" in Japanese.
  • Many of the demonic monsters in the Onimusha series are named after Hamlet characters.
  • In Planescape: Torment, if Dak'kon dies in combat, Morte, a talking skull, will say, "Alas, poor Dak'kon. I knew him well."
  • Super Street Fighter IV: Juri's ending includes a rather appropriate use of the phrase 'Goodnight sweet prince'.
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    Web Animation 
  • The Most Popular Girls in School: the motif of revenge and characters from the original play is used to make analogies regarding the ongoing strife between the three seasons, in class in Episode 32, eventually into the form of an argument between the students.

    Web Comic 
  • Darths & Droids #843 borrows the back half of a line:
    Darth Vader: I have discovered Force powers never dreamt of in your philosophy.
  • In Insecto Nocturno, Ofelia made the password to enter into the subterranean Base of Thieves a part of scene 2 of part 4. Dimitri then complains to Gregory he forgot to call him "my lord" in the sentence.
    ''The body is with the king, but the king is not with the body. The king is a thing...
    A thing?
    Of nothing. Bring me to him. Hide, fox, and all after.
  • Square Root of Minus Garfield:

    Western Animation 
  • Beast Wars:
    • "Tell my tale to those who ask. Tell it truly; the ill deeds along with the good, and let me be judged accordingly. The rest... is silence," says Dinobot before dying.
    • Dinobot says: "Alas! Poor Tarantulas. I knew him, Cheetor." Dinobot was holding Tarantulas' severed spider legs though, not his severed head.
    • Dinobot also tosses out a "To be or not to be, that is the question" when contemplating Free Will vs Fate.
  • Dan Vs. In "Ye Olde Shakespeare Dinner Theatre", Dan takes out one of the actors by pouring soda in his ear, referencing Claudius's murder technique.
  • Futurama: "Something is rotten on the planet Wormulon," says Leela in "Fry and the Slurm Factory".
  • In Kappa Mikey Mikey auditions for a very odd version of the play called Hamlet the Christmas Giraffe. He has a skull on hand, needless to say.
  • Looney Tunes:
    • "A Ham in a Role" features a cartoon dog who works for Looney Tunes but really wants to do Shakespeare. Hamlet is one of the plays he quotes from.
    • In the Shakespeare themed shot "A Witch's Tangled Hare" Bugs meets a man who looks a lot like The Bard. Witch Hazel says she recognizes him, but they haven't seen each other in a while because Crubish had the wrong apartment number (2B). The poet and Witch Hazel leave talking about who made the mistake of saying "2B" and the cartoon closes with Bugs Bunny quoting the famous line from Hamlet - "To be, or not to be".
    • In "Cheese Chasers", the mice Hubie and Bertie try to commit suicide by getting eaten by a cat. Claude Cat think there's something suspicious about their eagerness to be eaten, and imagines the country of Denmark and the words "Something's rotten in..." beside it.
    • In "The Last Hungry Cat", the Alfred Hitchcock-like bear attempts this moral:
      Bear Hitchcock: In the words of The Bard: "Conscience makes cowards of us all."
      Sylvester: [off-screen] Ah, shut up!
  • Milo Murphy's Law:
    • Milo and Melissa watch Llamalet, a production of Hamlet performed by an all-llama acting troupe.
    • Another episode was titled "Perchance to Sleepwalk" alluding to a part of the "To Be or Not To Be" soliloquy.
  • Phineas and Ferb:
    • "Lights, Candace, Action": Candace regularly quotes a line of an In-Universe play that brings to mind the "To Be Or Not To Be" soliloquy.
    • "Skiddley Whiffers": Linda is inexplicably washing a human skull in the kitchen sink.
    • "Where's Perry?" Brainwashed and Crazy-Carl walks around caressing a skull.
  • The Rupert episode "Rupert and Algy's Misadventure" had a scene where Algy Pug tried to stall for time by quoting various works by Shakespeare, including Hamlet.
  • The Simpsons:
    • Lisa uses Hamlet to explain the concept of "a play within a play" and Nested Story. She figures "a video tape of you watching TV" would be more successful.
    • There was a version of Hamlet in one of those trilogy stories, with Bart as Hamlet, Homer as dead king, Moe was Claudius and Marge was Gertrude. Carl and Lenny were of course Rosen-Carl and Gilden-Lenny. Lisa had a brief scene as crazy Ophelia.
    • In "Funeral for a Fiend", Sideshow Bob misquotes "Hoist on his own petard", and tells Lisa to get a life when she corrects him.
    • In "Throw Grampa from the Dane", Homer does a hilarious parody of the "to be, or not to be" soliloquy. Bonus points for performing it in front of Elsinore Castle.
    Homer: Tubby or not tubby? That is the question. Whether 'tis nobler in the mind to withstand the wings and nachos of outrageous portions, or just have fish and end it. Aye, there's the rub! Brisket rub, Memphis rub, all the rubs I'll miss when I shuffle off from Buffalo mozzarella…
  • There is a SpongeBob SquarePants episode called "The Play's The Thing".
  • When Toxie in Toxic Crusaders gets a whiff of another dastardly plan by Dr. Killemoff, he proclaims "There's something rotten in the state of New Jersey!"

    Real Life 
  • One of the moons of Uranus is named after Ophelia.

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