It is clear from my question that English is not my first language. I apologize if it sounds dumb.

I am trying to understand the structure of the sentences in the following scene of Hamlet:

But virtue, as it never will be moved
Though lewdness court it in a shape of heaven;
So lust, though to a radiant angel linked
Will sate itself in a celestial bed
And prey on garbage

Oxford Dictionaries Online says that if there is a modal with "though", then it means "even if". What does "though" exactly mean here? and how it is related to the previous sentences?

Moreover, where is the verb for the first sentence "But virtue,.."?

  • It means "even if". Apr 1, 2015 at 1:39
  • And you're right: there is no main verb in the first sentence. Apr 1, 2015 at 8:11
  • @JanusBahsJacquet: It doesn't need a main verb since it isn't a separate sentence. "Just as virtue will never be moved; so lust will sate itself". Jan 27, 2016 at 16:00

2 Answers 2


In both cases, "though" does mean "even if".

The first two lines claim that virtue (or, more generally, the truly virtuous person), even if tempted, will remain true to its nature - that is, virtuous.

The next three lines say that, by the same token, even if lust (or a lustful person) is exercised in the most beautiful manner, it will remain true to its nature - vile and disgusting.

This is in the context of Hamlet's dead father describing the adultery of his wife, so "lust" in this case does not mean simple desire, but rather sinful desire.


He is describing virtue (and lust) as if they were conscious beings, who could be tempted and are capable of making choices. Thus virtue, even if tempted by another being, lewdness, will not be moved or swayed. (Lust likewise)

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service and acknowledge you have read our privacy policy.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.