Methinks the lady doth protest too much.
The phrase ["The lady doth protest too much, methinks"] is used in
everyday speech to indicate doubt in someone's sincerity. A common
misquotation places methinks first, as in "methinks the lady doth
protest too much".
The line... is found in Act III, Scene II of Hamlet, where it is
spoken by Queen Gertrude, Hamlet's mother. Hamlet believes that his
father, the king, was murdered by his uncle Claudius (who then married
Gertrude). Hamlet decides to stage a play, the Murder of Gonzago, that
matches Hamlet's theory in its basic storyline, in order to test
whether viewing it will trigger a guilty conscience on the part of
As Hamlet, Gertrude, Claudius and others watch the
play-within-the-play, the Player Queen, representing Gertrude,
declares in flowery language that she will never remarry if her
husband dies. Hamlet then turns to his mother and asks her, "Madam,
how like you this play?", to which she replies ironically "The lady
doth protest too much, methinks", meaning that the Player Queen's
protestations of love and fidelity are too excessive to be believed.
The quotation comes from the Second Quarto edition of the play. Later
versions contain the simpler line, "The lady protests too much,
Personally I would consider the misquotation at the end of the first paragraph, "Methinks the lady doth protest too much," to be the most idiomatic today.