Hamlet Analysis In Modern English

Act 2

Scene 1

Polonius: Give Laertes this money and these notes, Reynaldo.
Reynaldo: I will.
Polonius: You should do a good job. Talk to his friends before you see him. Get to know what others think about him.
Reynaldo: I intended to, my lord.
Polonius: Find out who his friends from Denmark are. Find out how they live, where they live, and how much money they spend. Talk to people around town and try to find out how much they know about Laertes.
Reynaldo: Yes, very well, my lord.
Polonius: You may tell lies about him, but don't say things that will dishonor him. Tell small lies.
Reynaldo: Like gambling?
Polonius: Yes, or drinking, fencing, swearing, quarreling, or drabbing: you may go that far.
Reynaldo: Polonius, that would dishonor him.
Polonius: That's not my meaning. Say some of those but don't say that he's whoring around. Make the lie sound like an everyday bad thing.
Reynaldo: But, my lord-
Polonius: Do you know how you will do this?
Reynaldo: Yes, Polonius, I know what I am going to do.
Polonius: Yes, sir, catch my drift: as you lie to this person, make sure that this person you lie to tells the truth. This man can call you friend or gentlemen, but be absolutely certain he tells you the truth.
Reynaldo: Very well, Polonius.
Polonius: And then, sir, he does this- he does- what was I about to say? By the mass, I was about to say something: where did I leave off at?
Reynaldo: At 'closes in the consequence' at 'friend or so,' and 'gentleman.'
Polonius: At 'closes in the consequence,' yes! In addition, by telling lies, we will catch him in the middle of doing something wrong. I am doing this with best intentions. I want you to be bias against him and find the truth by lying. Did you get everything I said?
Reynaldo: My lord, I have.
Polonius: May God be with you, and farewell.
Reynaldo: Good my lord!
Polonius: Be sure to watch him with your own eyes.
Reynaldo: I will.
Polonius: And let him do what he wants.
Reynaldo: Yes, sir.
Polonius: Farewell! Oh hello, Ophelia! What's the matter?
Ophelia: I have been frightened!
Polonius: How have you been frightened?
Ophelia: I was sewing in my closet when Lord Hamlet, filthy and his clothing astray, was pale as his shirt, his knees were knocking each other, and he looked so bad that he couldn't talk to me.
Polonius: Mad for your love?
Ophelia: I do not know, but I fear it.
Polonius: What did he say?
Ophelia: He grabbed me by the wrist and started touching my face as if he was observing it for a painting. Then he bobbed his head up and down like a crazy person would do. He finally let me go and walked out the door with his face facing me; his eyes fixed upon my face.
Polonius: He's gone love crazy. Love will make you do the weirdest things. Have you given him harsh words lately?
Ophelia: No, but I did as you told me. I denied his access to me.
Polonius: That's why he is mad. I wish I had thought more of what I was telling you. It's common for old people not to think through things as a young person would. We must tell the king before Hamlet hurts himself. More grief to hide than hate to utter love. Come.