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Shakespeare Quick Quotes

Not a mouse stirring.

- Hamlet (1.1.12), Francisco to Barnardo

Note - a simple yet important line if we accept that it foreshadows Hamlet's "Mouse-trap" (3.2.235), through which he will establish Claudius's guilt.

Regarding this line Samuel Taylor Coleridge wrote:

The attention to minute sounds,— naturally associated with the recollection of minute objects, and the more familiar and trifling, the more impressive from the unusualness of their producing any impression at all— gives a philosophic pertinency to this last image ; but it has likewise its dramatic use and purpose. For its commonness in ordinary conversation tends to produce the sense of reality, and at once hides the poet, and yet approximates the reader or spectator to that state in which the highest poetry will appear, and in its component parts, though not in the whole composition, really is, the language of nature. (The Literary Remains of Samuel Taylor Coleridge, Vol. 2. London: William Pickering, 1836.)

How to cite this article:

Mabillard, Amanda. Quick Quote: Not a mouse stirring. Shakespeare Online. 20 Aug. 2000. (date when you accessed the information) < >.


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