William Shakespeare quote about madness from Hamlet - I am but mad north-north-west: when the wind is southerly I know a hawk from a handsaw.
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I am but mad north-north-west: when the wind is southerly I know a hawk from a handsaw.
 William Shakespeare, Hamlet (1623). copy citation

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Author William Shakespeare
Source Hamlet
Topic madness wind
Date 1623
Language English
Reference
Note Written between 1599 and 1602
Weblink http://www.gutenberg.org/files/1524/1524-h/1524-h.htm

Context

“Let me comply with you in this garb, lest my extent to the players, which I tell you must show fairly outward, should more appear like entertainment than yours. You are welcome. But my uncle-father and aunt-mother are deceived.
GUILDENSTERN. In what, my dear lord? HAMLET. I am but mad north-north-west. When the wind is southerly, I know a hawk from a handsaw.
Enter Polonius. Polonius. Well be with you, gentlemen. HAMLET. Hark you, Guildenstern, and you too, at each ear a hearer. That great baby you see there is not yet out of his swaddling clouts.
ROSENCRANTZ.” source

Meaning and analysis

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