King: Welcome, Rosencrantz
and Guildenstern. We have been longing to see you. We have a job
for you. I know you have heard about Hamlet's transformation. I
don't know what has made Hamlet crazy, whether it's his Father's
death or some other thing. Since you grew up with him, we expect
that you know him better than we do and we need you to find out
what is wrong. I want you to stay in Elsinor and find out why Hamlet
is acting the way he is acting.
Queen: There is probably not another soul that knows Hamlet the way you do. Please stay with us for a while. We will pay you for the information you find.
Rosencrantz: We are your royal servants. Just tell us what you need us to do.
Guildenstern: We will do it and with the best of our ability.
King: Thank you, Rosencrantz and Guildenstern.
Queen: Thank you. Take these gentlemen to see Hamlet.
Guildenstern: I hope we can help him!
Polonius: The ambassadors from Norway are back, my lord.
King: You bring me good news.
Polonius: Have I? I assure my good news, I hold my duty as I hold my soul. I think my brain still works, and I think I have found the reason for Hamlet's craziness.
King: Oh, okay, tell me.
Polonius: Talk to him first and my news will be the icing on the cake.
King: Okay, bring in the ambassadors. Polonius tells me that he has found the reason for your son's idiocy.
Queen: I bet it's his Father's death and our hasty marriage.
King: We will find out what is wrong with him. Hello, Voltimand, what is the news from Norway?
Voltimand: Hello, King, the first thing we have found out is that King Fortinbras stopped the prince from his preparation against Poland. We then found out that he really wanted to fight against you. He sent out an arrest against the prince, and the prince obeyed. Then the king gave the prince 3000 crowns and an army so he could attack the Polish after he apologized to you. Please give my prince a stay at your castle before he attacks the Polish.
King: This pleases me. I will read that later. In the mean time I thank you, and we will feast tonight for your welcoming home.
Polonius: That was a great ending to great business. What majesty should be, what duty is, why day is day, night is night, and time is time, were nothing but to waste night, day, and time. Okay, I will be brief. Mad, I call it, for, to define true madness, what is it to be nothing but mad? But let that go.
Queen: Tell me more facts, and less mumbo jumbo.
Polonius: Madam, I swear I use no gibberish at all. He is mad, that's true; it is true and is a pity, and is a pity that is true- a foolish figure. But farewell it, I will use no rubbish. Let us find out why he is mad. Perpend. I have a daughter- have while I still have her- who in her honesty has given me this. Come here and we will read it together.
'To the celestial and my soul's idol, the most beautified Ophelia'-
That's an ill phrase, a vile phrase; 'beautified' is a vile phrase. You must hear. Thus:
'In her excellent white bosom, these,' etc.
Queen: Did these come
Polonius: Good Queen, listen to me; I will be honest.
'Doubt that the stars are fire,
Doubt that the sun moves;
Doubt that truth is a liar;
But don't ever doubt my love.'
'O dear Ophelia, I am ill at these numbers. I have no gibberish with these words to reckon my groans, but I only love you with all my heart, O most best, believe it. Adieu.
'Thine evermore, most dear lady, while this machine is to him,
Everytime Hamlet has
spoken to Ophelia, she has told me.
King: But how far have they gone?
Polonius: What do you think of me?
King: I think you are honorable and honest.
Polonius: I would like to prove so. What would you think of me if I wouldn't have told you this? What would you have thought if I would have hid this letter? What if I had remained quiet? No, I told you exactly what was going on. 'Lord Hamlet is a prince, out of the star this must not be.' I told her what to do. She obeyed me, and Hamlet repulsed - a short tale to make - fell into a sadness, then into a fast, then into a day dream, then into a weakness, then became light-headed, and, by this declension, into a madness where he now rages and all we mourn for.
King: Do you think this is why he is crazy?
Queen: It may be.
Polonius: I have always been right. When have I ever been wrong?
King: Not that I know of.
Polonius: Believe me; listen. No matter what I will find the truth, even if I have to go to the center of the earth.
King: How will we find out?
Polonius: He does walk four hours in the lobby.
Queen: Yes, he does.
Polonius: I will give my daughter to him as bait and we will see his reaction. If I'm wrong, you may fine me, and I'll be no assistant to the state and will keep a farm and push carts.
King: We will try it.
Queen: Look how sad he is.
Polonius: Go away, I will talk to him for now. How are you, Hamlet?
Hamlet: Well, God have mercy.
Polonius: Do you know me?
Hamlet: I know you very well; you are a fishmonger.
Polonius: I am not.
Hamlet: Then I wish you were an honest man.
Polonius: Honest, Hamlet?
Hamlet: Yes Sir. To be honest, as this world goes, is to be one man picked out of ten thousand.
Polonius: That's very true.
Hamlet: For if the sun breed maggots in a dead dog, being a good kissing carrion - do you have a daughter?
Polonius: I do, Hamlet.
Hamlet: Do not let her walk in the sun. Keep an eye on her. Pregnancy is a blessing, but don't let her get pregnant in a dishonorable way.
Polonius: What do you mean by that? Still after my daughter. Yet he did not know me at first; he said I was a fishmonger. He is far gone. Truly, in my youth, I suffered from love, very close to how he has suffered. I'll speak to him again. - What are you reading?
Hamlet: Words, words, words.
Polonius: What is the matter?
Hamlet: Between who?
Polonius: I mean the matter that you read.
Hamlet: Bad things. For the satirical author says here that old men have gray beards, that their faces are wrinkled, their eyes purging as though they were filled with puss, and they lack wit, along with weak legs. All which, though I most powerfully believe that it might not be that this is true. You may grow as old as I am, if like a crab you could go backwards.
Polonius: Is there a madness with my method? Will you come out of your imagination?
Hamlet: Into my grave?
Polonius: Indeed, that's out of your imagination. How childlike his replies are! I will leave him and plot the meeting between him and my daughter. - My honorable lord, I will leave now.
Hamlet: You can't take anything away from me that I won't part with except my life.
Hamlet: These stupid old men!
Polonius: You go to seek the Lord Hamlet; there he is.
Rosencrantz: God save you!
Guildenstern: My honorable lord!
Rosencrantz: My most dear lord!
Hamlet: My good friends! How are you, Guildenstern? And you, Rosencrantz? Good friends, How are you both?
Rosencrantz: As the average children of the earth.
Guildenstern: Happy, but not over happy; but we're not the happiest of all.
Hamlet: You're not the saddest of all?
Rosencrantz: No, not there either.
Hamlet: Then you are average, around the middle.
Guildenstern: Yes, fairly average.
Hamlet: Oh, fairly average. What's up?
Rosencrantz: There is no news. The world has grown honest.
Hamlet: If everyone is honest, then doomsday is near. Your news is not true. Let me be blunt. Why are you here in this prison?
Hamlet: Denmark is a prison.
Rosencrantz: The whole world is one.
Hamlet: A good one, where there are confines, wards, and dungeons; Denmark being one of the worst.
Rosencrantz: We don't think so.
Hamlet: It is not a prison to you; it's as you think it: good or bad. To me, it is a prison.
Rosencrantz: It is just your imagination. It is too narrow for your mind.
Hamlet: O God, I could be bounded in a nutshell and say I am a king of infinite space, and it isn't because I have had bad dreams.
Guildenstern: Which dreams are indeed ambition, for the very substance of the ambitious is merely the shadow of a dream.
Hamlet: A dream itself is but a shadow.
Rosencrantz: True, and I am not an ambitious person.
Hamlet: Is a beggar better than a king? Let's not speak of this anymore.
Rosencrantz & Guildenstern: After you.
Hamlet: You're stature is not below me. My servants are as good as me. Why are you here in Elsinore?
Rosencrantz: To visit you, Hamlet. That is all.
Hamlet: I am very thankful for you coming to visit me, but you weren't sent for? Is it your own inclining? Is it a free visitation? Come on, tell me. You need to tell me.
Guildenstern: What should we say?
Hamlet: You can say anything you like. You were sent for; I can see it in your eyes. I know that the king and queen have sent for you.
Rosencrantz: To what end, my lord?
Hamlet: You must teach me that. You must be even and direct with me whether you were sent for or not.
Rosencrantz: What are you going to say?
Hamlet: I'm keeping an eye on you. If you love me, then you will tell me the truth.
Guildenstern: We were sent for.
Hamlet: You don't have to be secret; I will tell you. It won't take much time. I am not acting as I usually do; I believe that the Earth is ugly, especially Denmark. There are a lot of beautiful things on Earth, but man does not make me happy. And neither does a woman, though by your smiling you seem to say so.
Rosencrantz: That isn't what I was thinking.
Hamlet: Why did you laugh then when I said 'man delights not me'?
Rosencrantz: If you hate man, then what good are the entertainers that come to play before you?
Hamlet: Whoever plays the king is welcome- his majesty shall be paid extra; the knight should use his sword; the lover should not show grief; the comedian should end his part in peace; the clown should make those who have a sick humor laugh; and the lady should say her mind, or she shouldn't speak at all. What players are they?
Rosencrantz: The ones I saw in the city.
Hamlet: Why do they travel? I thought they were doing well in the city?
Rosencrantz: I think they came because of new changes in the city.
Hamlet: Are they as good as they were when they were in the city? Are they still followed?
Rosencrantz: No, they are not followed anymore.
Hamlet: Why aren't they followed? Are they still good?
Rosencrantz: Yes, they are still good; there is a group of children now in the city that act as well as these players. These children are the new fad, and everyone wants to see them now.
Hamlet: What, are they children? Who maintains them? How are they escorted? What happens when they grow up? Will they still be players, just older? What will they do?
Rosencrantz: Yes, and there has been much controversy about it. Both sides have argued their case, and there is no sin for it. The players haven't found work in a while and are eager for work.
Hamlet: Is that possible?
Guildenstern: O, there has been much thinking.
Hamlet: Do the boys carry it away?
Rosencrantz: Yes, they do; Hercules and his load too.
Hamlet: My uncle the king would pay a great deal of money to them and I don't see why. There is something unnatural about it, if philosophy could find out why.
Guildenstern: There are the players.
Hamlet: Well, welcome to Elsinore. Come in, please. I welcome you with fashion and ceremony. I know we will enjoy your company. You are welcome, but my uncle-father and aunt-mother are deceived.
Guildenstern: In what?
Hamlet: I am but mad north-north-west. When the wind is southerly I know a hawk from a handsaw.
Polonius: How are you, gentlemen?
Hamlet: You two are on both sides of me. He is still quite a baby.
Rosencrantz: They say an old man is twice a child.
Hamlet: I will know that he comes to tell me of the players. You are right, sir: Monday morning it was, indeed.
Polonius: I have news to tell you, my lord.
Hamlet: I have news to tell you, my lord. When Roscius was an actor is Rome-
Polonius: The actors have come.
Hamlet: Buzz, buzz!
Polonius: Upon my honor-
Hamlet: Then came each actor on his donkey-
Polonius: The best actors in the world, either for tragedy, comedy, history, pastoral, pastoral-comical, historical-pastoral, tragical-historical, tragical-comical-historical-pastoral, scene undividable, or poem unlimited. Seneca cannot be too heavy, nor Plautus too light. For the law of writ and the liberty, these are the only men.
Hamlet: O Jephthah, judge of Israel, what a treasure has that!
Polonius: What a treasure he is, my lord?
'One fair daughter, and no more,
The which he loved passing well.'
Polonius: Still after
Hamlet: Am I not right, old Jephthah?
Polonius: If you call me Jephthah, my lord, I have a daughter that I love passing well.
Hamlet: No, that doesn't follow.
Polonius: Then what follows?
'As by chance, God knows.'
and then, you know,
'It came to pass, as most like it was'-
the first verse of the
holy song will tell you more, see how I'm short! You are welcome,
masters. Welcome, all. - I am glad to see you are all well. - Welcome,
good friends. - My old friend! Why, you face has grown a beard
and matured since I last saw you. - My young lady and mistress!
Your ladyship has grown since I last saw you. I pray that your
voice hasn't changed. Masters, you are all welcome. We'll
even to it like French falconers, fly at anything we see. We'll
have a speech straight. Come, let us see how good you are. Come,
let us hear you.
First Player: What speech, my good lord?
Hamlet: I heard you deliver a speech once, but I never have heard you act. I'm sure you act excellently, like caviar to the average person. I remember one said that there wasn't any cursing in the lines to give it spice, nor anything to give the author affections. One speech I really liked: it was Aeneas' tale to Dido, and especially where he speaks of Priam's slaughter. If you remember it, begin at this line-let me see, let me see-
'The rugged Pyrrhus, like a tiger from Hyrcania-'
It is not so; it begins with 'Pyrrhus'-
'The rugged Pyrrhus, he whose black armor, black as his purpose, looked like the night when he lay crouched on a ominous horse, has now this fearful and black appearance smeared with color more dismal. He is head to foot in red, horridly tricked with blood of fathers, mothers, daughters, sons, baked and encrusted with the parching streets, that lend a harsh and damned light to their lord's murder. Roasted in wrath and fire, and thus oversized with coagulate blood, with eyes like carbuncles, the hellish Pyrrhus old father Priam seeks.'
Go on from there.
Polonius: By God, Hamlet, well spoken with good accent and taste.
'Anon he finds him, striking too feebly at Greeks. His sword of youth too heavy for him lies where it falls, not willing to take his orders. Unequally matched, Pyrrhus drives at Priam, in rage strikes wide; but with the whiff and wind of his fallen sword, the weakened father falls. Then senseless Illium, seeming to feel his blow, with flaming top stoops to his base, and with a hideous crash, falls to the ground. For, lo! his sword, which was declining on the milky head of reverend Priam, seemed to stick in the air. Like a painted tyrant, Pyrrhus stood and, like a dead person, did nothing. But as we often see, before some storm, a silence in the heavens, cloud formations freeze, the wind stops, and the earth below as quiet as death, anon the dreadful thunder does shake the region, so after Pyrrhus' pause aroused vengeance sets him new work, and never did the Cyclops' hammers fall on Mars's armor, forged for ever-lasting protection, with less pity than Pyrrhus' bleeding sword now falls on Priam. Out, out you whore Fortune! All you gods, in general council take away her power, break all the spokes from her wheel, and roll the round rim down the hill of heaven as to the fiends!'
Polonius: This is too
Hamlet: You should get rid of your beard. -I beg you. He is for an adventurous tale, one like Hecuba. Tell about Hecuba.
'But who, O, who had seen the mobled queen'-
'The mobled queen?'
Polonius: That's good; 'mobled
queen' is good.
'Run barefoot up and down, threatening the flames, with blind tears, a rag upon that head where the late diadem stood, and for a robe, about her waist and all the child bearing lions, a blanket, in the alarm of fear caught up- anyone seeing this would bitterly pronounce treason against Fortunes tyranny. But if the gods themselves did see her then, when she saw Pyrrhus make malicious sport and mincing with his sword her husbands limbs, the instant burst of clamor that she made, unless mortal things do not move them at all, would have made milk the burning eyes of heaven and passion in the gods.'
Polonius: Look, whether
he is normal color and has tears in his eyes. I beg you, no more.
Hamlet: Okay. I'll have you speak out the rest of this play soon. - Good my lord, will you make sure that these players are well provided for? Did you hear me? Let them be well provided for, because they are the best of their time. After your death you would rather have a bad epitaph than their ill report while you live.
Polonius: I will give them only what they deserve.
Hamlet: Much better! Use every man after what he deserves, and who should be punished. Use them after your own honor and dignity. The less they deserve, the more money you give them. Take them in.
Polonius: Come, sirs.
Hamlet: Follow him friends. We'll hear a play tomorrow. Do you hear me? Can you play? 'The Murder of Gonzago'?
First Player: Yes.
Hamlet: We will have it tomorrow night. You could study a speech of some dozen or sixteen lines, which I would set down and insert in it, couldn't you?
First Player: Yes.
Hamlet: Very well. Follow that lord, and don't mock him. -My good friends, I will leave you until tomorrow night. You are welcome to Elsinore.
Rosencrantz: Good my lord!
Hamlet: Yes, goodnight, and God be with you! Now I am alone. O, what a worthless slave I am! Is it not wrong for this player to dream of passion, and force his soul into agony from becoming an adult? For Hecuba! What is Hecuba to him, or him to Hecuba? What should he weep for? What would he do if he had the motive and reason for passion that I have? He would drown the stage with tears and fill the audience's ear with a horrid speech; he would make the guilty mad and scare the innocent, confound the ignorant, and amaze everyone's eyes and ears. Yet I, a lazy and miserable rascal who sneaks around like John-a-Dreams looking for an inspiration. I could not speak. No, not even to a king who murdered a king. Am I a coward? Who calls me a villain? Who hits me on the head? Who pulls out my beard and throws it in my face? Who tells me I'm a liar? Does anyone? Ha! Truly, I should take it that I am a yellow-bellied chicken that lacks the resent of abuse. Before this I should have fattened all the vultures in creation with this slave's guts. Bloody, bawdy villain! Remorseless, treacherous, lecherous, kindless villain! O, vengeance! Why, I am a complete ass! I am a very brave murdered king's son for telling that spirit I would revenge my father's death, whether through heaven or hell. I expressed myself like a whore by telling so many people; like a common slut! Ugh! Ah, screw it! I must think! Hmm - I have heard that guilty people sitting at a play have scene a play that resembles their crime scene and were struck to the soul by what they saw. For murder, though it has no tongue, will speak with miraculous power. I'll have these players play something similar to how my father was murdered and watch the king's reaction. If he even twitches, I know he is the murderer. The spirit that I have seen my be the devil, and the devil has the power to create a pleasing shape, and possibly out of my happiness and weakness, he could damn me. I'll need better proof than this. I'll catch the king with this play.