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Hamlet Act 2 Scene 2

Welcome, dear Rosencrantz and Guildenstern.
Moreover that we much did long to see you,
The need we have to use you did provoke
Our hasty sending. Something have you heard
Of Hamlet’s “transformation”—so call it
Since nor th’ exterior nor the inward man
Resembles that it was. What it should be,
More than his father’s death, that thus hath put him
So much from th’ understanding of himself,
I cannot dream of. I entreat you both
That, being of so young days brought up with him
And since so neighbored to his youth and ‘havior,
That you vouchsafe your rest here in our court
Some little time so by your companies
To draw him on to pleasures and to gather,
So much as from occasion you may glean,
Whether aught, to us unknown, afflicts him thus
That, opened, lies within our remedy.
Claudius- Spend some time with Hamlet. He is acting weird b/c his father’s death

Good gentlemen, he hath much talked of you.
And sure I am two men there are not living
To whom he more adheres. If it will please you
To show us so much gentry and good will
As to expend your time with us awhile
For the supply and profit of our hope,
Your visitation shall receive such thanks
As fits a king’s remembrance.
Gertrude- Hamlet is very fond of you

Both your majesties
Might, by the sovereign power you have of us,
Put your dread pleasures more into command
Than to entreaty.
Rosencrantz- We will execute your command

But we both obey
And here give up ourselves, in the full bent,
To lay our service freely at your feet
To be commanded.
Guildenstern- We are here to give our services

Thanks, Guildenstern and gentle Rosencrantz.
And I beseech you instantly to visit
My too much changèd son. Go, some of you,
And bring these gentlemen where Hamlet is.
Gertrude- Thanks R. and G. Please visit my son right now

Have I, my lord? I assure my good liege,
I hold my duty as I hold my soul,
Both to my God and to my gracious king. And I do think—or else this brain of mine
Hunts not the trail of policy so sure
As it hath used to do—that I have found
The very cause of Hamlet’s lunacy.
Polonius- I think I have found the reason for Hamlet’s lunacy

He tells me, my dear Gertrude, he hath found
The head and source of all your son’s distemper.
Claudius

I doubt it is no other but the main:
His father’s death and our o’erhasty marriage.
Gertrude

Well, we shall sift him.—Welcome, my good friends!
Say, Voltemand, what from our brother Norway?
Claudius

Most fair return of greetings and desires.
Upon our first, he sent out to suppress
His nephew’s levies, which to him appeared
To be a preparation ‘gainst the Polack,
But, better looked into, he truly found
It was against your highness. Whereat grieved—
That so his sickness, age, and impotence
Was falsely borne in hand—sends out arrests
On Fortinbras, which he, in brief, obeys,
Receives rebuke from Norway, and in fine
Makes vow before his uncle never more
To give th’ assay of arms against your majesty.
Whereon old Norway, overcome with joy, Gives him three thousand crowns in annual fee
And his commission to employ those soldiers,
So levied as before, against the Polack,
With an entreaty, herein further shown,
That it might please you to give quiet pass
Through your dominions for this enterprise,
On such regards of safety and allowance
As therein are set down. (gives CLAUDIUS a document
Voltemand- As soon as the letter was delivered, his nephew was arrested and swears never to threaten Denmark again

It likes us well,
And at our more considered time we’ll read,
Answer, and think upon this business.
Meantime we thank you for your well-took labor.
Go to your rest. At night we’ll feast together.
Most welcome home!
Claudius

This business is well ended.
My liege and madam, to expostulate
What majesty should be, what duty is,
Why day is day, night night, and time is time,
Were nothing but to waste night, day, and time.
Therefore, since brevity is the soul of wit
And tediousness the limbs and outward flourishes,
I will be brief: your noble son is mad.
Mad call I it, for, to define true madness,
What is ‘t but to be nothing else but mad?
But let that go.
Polonius- [just rambles about nonsense]

Madam, I swear I use no art at all.
That he is mad, ’tis true. Tis true, ’tis pity,
And pity ’tis ’tis true—a foolish figure,
But farewell it, for I will use no art.
Mad let us grant him then. And now remains That we find out the cause of this effect,
Or rather say, the cause of this defect,
For this effect defective comes by cause.
Thus it remains, and the remainder thus. Perpend.
I have a daughter—have while she is mine—
Who in her duty and obedience, mark,
Hath given me this. Now gather and surmise.
(reads a letter) “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. But you shall hear
Polonius- [reads a letter sent from Hamlet to Ophelia]

Good madam, stay a while. I will be faithful.
(reads the letter)
“Doubt thou the stars are fire,
Doubt that the sun doth move,
Doubt truth to be a liar,
But never doubt I love.
O dear Ophelia, I am ill at these numbers. I have not art to reckon my groans, but that I love thee best, oh, most best, believe it. Adieu.
Thine evermore, most dear lady,
whilst this machine is to him,
Hamlet.”
This in obedience hath my daughter shown me,
And more above, hath his solicitings,
As they fell out by time, by means, and place,
All given to mine ear.
Polonius- [reads the poem]

I would fain prove so. But what might you think,
When I had seen this hot love on the wing—
As I perceived it, I must tell you that,
Before my daughter told me—what might you,
Or my dear majesty your queen here, think,
If I had played the desk or table-book,
Or given my heart a winking, mute and dumb,
Or looked upon this love with idle sight?
What might you think? No, I went round to work,
And my young mistress thus I did bespeak:
“Lord Hamlet is a prince out of thy star.
This must not be.” And then I prescripts gave her,
That she should lock herself from his resort,
Admit no messengers, receive no tokens.
Which done, she took the fruits of my advice;
And he, repelled—a short tale to make—
Fell into a sadness, then into a fast,
Thence to a watch, thence into a weakness,
Thence to a lightness, and, by this declension,
Into the madness wherein now he raves
And all we mourn for.
Polonius- I told Ophelia that Hamlet is out of her league, and she rejected him — thats why he’s acting so weird.

Take this from this if this be otherwise.
If circumstances lead me, I will find
Where truth is hid, though it were hid indeed
Within the center.
Polonius- I will uncover the truth

At such a time I’ll loose my daughter to him.
(to CLAUDIUS) Be you and I behind an arras then,
Mark the encounter. If he love her not
And be not from his reason fall’n thereon,
Let me be no assistant for a state
But keep a farm and carters.
Polonius- I will make Ophelia talk to him when hes taking his 4 hour walk. If hes not in love with her, you can fire me

Let her not walk i’ th’ sun. Conception is a blessing, but, as your daughter may conceive—Friend, look to ‘t.
Hamlet- Dont let your daughter get pregnant

How say you by that? Still harping on my daughter. Yet he knew me not at first. He said I was a fishmonger. He is far gone, far gone. And truly in my youth I suffered much extremity for love, very near this. I’ll speak to him again.—(to HAMLET) What do you read, my lord
Polonius- [to himself, Hamlet really is crazy. He didnt recognize me]

Slanders, sir. For the satirical rogue says here that old men have gray beards, that their faces are wrinkled, their eyes purging thick amber and plum-tree gum, and that they have a plentiful lack of wit, together with most weak hams—all which, sir, though I most powerfully and potently believe, yet I hold it not honesty to have it thus set down; for yourself, sir, should be old as I am, if like a crab you could go backward.
Hamlet- This book is full of lies

Indeed, that is out of the air. (aside) How pregnant sometimes his replies are. A happiness that often madness hits on, which reason and sanity could not so prosperously be delivered of. I will leave him and suddenly contrive the means of meeting between him and my daughter.—(to HAMLET) My honorable lord, I will most humbly take my leave of you.
Polonius- [he is crazy]

You cannot, sir, take from me any thing that I will more willingly part withal—except my life, except my life, except my life.
Hamlet- You cannot take anything from me that I care less about – except my life

In the secret parts of Fortune? Oh, most true. She is a strumpet. What news?
Hamlet- Lady Luck is a mistress*

Then is doomsday near. But your news is not true. Let me question more in particular. What have you, my good friends, deserved at the hands of fortune that she sends you to prison hither?
Hamlet- The end of the world is approaching. What crimes have you committed to end up in this prison?

A goodly one, in which there are many confines, wards, and dungeons, Denmark being one o’ th’ worst.
Hamlet

Why, then, ’tis none to you, for there is nothing either good or bad, but thinking makes it so. To me it is a prison.
Hamlet

Why then, your ambition makes it one. ‘Tis too narrow for your mind.
Rosencrantz

O God, I could be bounded in a nutshell and count myself a king of infinite space, were it not that I have bad dreams.
Hamlet

Which dreams indeed are ambition, for the very substance of the ambitious is merely the shadow of a dream.
Guildenstern

Truly, and I hold ambition of so airy and light a quality that it is but a shadow’s shadow.
Rosencrantz

Then are our beggars bodies, and our monarchs and outstretched heroes the beggars’ shadows. Shall we to th’ court? For by my fay, I cannot reason.
Hamlet

No such matter. I will not sort you with the rest of my servants, for, to speak to you like an honest man, I am most dreadfully attended. But in the beaten way of friendship, what make you at Elsinore?
Hamlet

Beggar that I am, I am even poor in thanks; but I thank you, and sure, dear friends, my thanks are too dear a halfpenny. Were you not sent for? Is it your own inclining? Is it a free visitation? Come, come, deal justly with me. Come, come. Nay, speak.
Hamlet

Why, any thing, but to th’ purpose. You were sent for, and there is a kind of confession in your looks which your modesties have not craft enough to color. I know the good king and queen have sent for you.
Hamlet

That you must teach me. But let me conjure you, by the rights of our fellowship, by the consonancy of our youth, by the obligation of our ever-preserved love, and by what more dear a better proposer could charge you withal: be even and direct with me whether you were sent for or no.
Hamlet- You tell my why they sent for you, and remember our friendship…

I will tell you why. So shall my anticipation prevent your discovery, and your secrecy to the king and queen moult no feather. I have of late—but wherefore I know not—lost all my mirth, forgone all custom of exercises, and indeed it goes so heavily with my disposition that this goodly frame, the earth, seems to me a sterile promontory; this most excellent canopy, the air—look you, this brave o’erhanging firmament, this majestical roof fretted with golden fire—why, it appears no other thing to me than a foul and pestilent congregation of vapors. What a piece of work is a man! How noble in reason, how infinite in faculty! In form and moving how express and admirable! In action how like an angel, in apprehension how like a god! The beauty of the world. The paragon of animals. And yet, to me, what is this quintessence of dust? Man delights not me. No, nor woman neither, though by your smiling you seem to say so.
Hamlet- I’m depressed

To think, my lord, if you delight not in man, what Lenten entertainment the players shall receive from you. We coted them on the way, and hither are they coming to offer you service.
Rosencrantz- The drama company is going to bore you then lol

He that plays the king shall be welcome. His majesty shall have tribute of me. The adventurous knight shall use his foil and target, the lover shall not sigh gratis, the humorous man shall end his part in peace, the clown shall make those laugh whose lungs are tickle o’ th’ sear, and the lady shall say her mind freely, or the blank verse shall halt for ‘t. What players are they?
Hamlet – This’ll be fun

Nay, their endeavor keeps in the wonted pace. But there is, sir, an eyrie of children, little eyases, that cry out on the top of question and are most tyrannically clapped for ‘t. These are now the fashion, and so berattle the common stages—so they call them—that many wearing rapiers are afraid of goose quills and dare scarce come thither.
Rosencrantz- Child actors are now in fashion so they’ve moved on

What, are they children? Who maintains ’em? How are they escoted? Will they pursue the quality no longer than they can sing? Will they not say afterwards, if they should grow themselves to common players (as it is most like if their means are no better), their writers do them wrong to make them exclaim against their own succession?
Hamlet- [inquires about child acting]

Faith, there has been much to do on both sides, and the nation holds it no sin to tar them to controversy. There was, for a while, no money bid for argument unless the poet and the player went to cuffs in the question.
Rosencrantz

It is not very strange. For my uncle is King of Denmark, and those that would make mouths at him while my father lived give twenty, forty, fifty, a hundred ducats apiece for his picture in little. ‘Sblood, there is something in this more than natural, if philosophy could find it out.
Hamlet

Gentlemen, you are welcome to Elsinore. Your hands, come then. Th’ appurtenance of welcome is fashion and ceremony. Let me comply with you in this garb—lest my extent to the players, which, I tell you, must show fairly outwards, should more appear like entertainment than yours. You are welcome. But my uncle-father and aunt-mother are deceived.
Hamlet- Welcome to Elsinore

Hark you, Guildenstern, and you too—at each ear a hearer. (indicates POLONIUS )That great baby you see there is not yet out of his swaddling-clouts
Hamlet- [makes fun of Polonius]

(aside to ROSENCRANTZ and GUILDENSTERN ) I will prophesy he comes to tell me of the players. Mark it. (to POLONIUS)— You say right, sir. O’ Monday morning, ’twas so indeed.
Hamlet

The best actors in the world, either for tragedy, comedy, history, pastoral, pastoral-comical, historical-pastoral, tragical-historical, tragical-comical-historical-pastoral, scene individable, 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.
Polonius- These are the best actors around

O Jephthah, judge of Israel, what a treasure hadst thou!
Hamlet

You are welcome, masters, welcome, all!—I am glad to see thee well.—Welcome, good friends.—O old friend? Why, thy face is valenced since I saw thee last. Comest thou to beard me in Denmark?—What, my young lady and mistress! By ‘r Lady, your ladyship is nearer to heaven than when I saw you last, by the altitude of a chopine. Pray God, your voice, like a piece of uncurrent gold, be not cracked within the ring.—Masters, you are all welcome. We’ll e’en to ‘t like French falconers, fly at any thing we see. We’ll have a speech straight. Come, give us a taste of your quality. Come, a passionate speech.
Hamlet

I heard thee speak me a speech once, but it was never acted. Or, if it was, not above once, for the play, I remember, pleased not the million. ‘Twas caviary to the general. But it was—as I received it, and others, whose judgments in such matters cried in the top of mine—an excellent play, well digested in the scenes, set down with as much modesty as cunning.
Hamlet

I remember, one said there were no sallets in the lines to make the matter savory, nor no matter in the phrase that might indict the author of affectation, but called it an honest method, as wholesome as sweet, and by very much more handsome than fine. One speech in it I chiefly loved. ‘Twas Aeneas’ tale to Dido and thereabout of it, especially where he speaks of Priam’s slaughter. If it live in your >memory, begin at this line—Let me see, let me see—
The rugged Pyrrhus, like th’ Hyrcanian beast—
It is not so. It begins with Pyrrhus—
The rugged Pyrrhus, he whose sable arms,
Black as his purpose, did the night resemble
When he lay couchèd in the ominous horse,
Hath now this dread and black complexion smeared
With heraldry more dismal. Head to foot
Now is he total gules, horridly tricked
With blood of fathers, mothers, daughters, sons,
Baked and impasted with the parching streets,
That lend a tyrannous and damnèd light
To their lord’s murder. Roasted in wrath and fire,
And thus o’ersizèd with coagulate gore,
With eyes like carbuncles, the hellish Pyrrhus
Old grandsire Priam seeks.
So, proceed you.
Hamlet

It shall to the barber’s, with your beard.—Prithee, say on. He’s for a jig or a tale of bawdry, or he sleeps. Say on. Come to Hecuba.
Hamlet

(to FIRST PLAYER) ‘Tis well. I’ll have thee speak out the rest soon. (to POLONIUS) Good my lord, will you see the players well bestowed? Do you hear, let them be well used, for they are the abstract and brief chronicles of the time. After your death you were better have a bad epitaph than their ill report while you live.
Hamlet

Now I am alone.
Oh, what a rogue and peasant slave am I!
Is it not monstrous that this player here,
But in a fiction, in a dream of passion,
Could force his soul so to his own conceit
That from her working all his visage wanned,
Tears in his eyes, distraction in his aspect,
A broken voice, and his whole function suiting
With forms to his conceit? And all for nothing—
For Hecuba!
What’s Hecuba to him or he to Hecuba
That he should weep for her? What would he do
Had he the motive and the cue for passion
That I have? He would drown the stage with tears
And cleave the general ear with horrid speech,
Make mad the guilty and appall the free,
Confound the ignorant, and amaze indeed
The very faculties of eyes and ears. Yet I,
A dull and muddy-mettled rascal, peak
Like John-a-dreams, unpregnant of my cause,
And can say nothing—no, not for a king,
Upon whose property and most dear life
A damned defeat was made. Am I a coward?
Who calls me “villain”? Breaks my pate across?
Plucks off my beard and blows it in my face?
Tweaks me by the nose? Gives me the lie i’ th’ throat
As deep as to the lungs? Who does me this?
Ha!
‘Swounds, I should take it, for it cannot be
But I am pigeon-livered and lack gall
To make oppression bitter, or ere this
I should have fatted all the region kites
With this slave’s offal. Bloody, bawdy villain!
Remorseless, treacherous, lecherous, kindless villain!
O vengeance!
Why, what an ass am I! This is most brave,
That I, the son of a dear father murdered,
Prompted to my revenge by heaven and hell,
Must, like a *****, unpack my heart with words
And fall a-cursing like a very drab,
A scullion! Fie upon ‘t, foh!
About, my brain.—Hum, I have heard
That guilty creatures sitting at a play
Have, by the very cunning of the scene,
Been struck so to the soul that presently
They have proclaimed their malefactions.
For murder, though it have no tongue, will speak
With most miraculous organ. I’ll have these players
Play something like the murder of my father
Before mine uncle. I’ll observe his looks.
I’ll tent him to the quick. If he do blench,
I know my course. The spirit that I have seen
Hamlet- Why cant he sum up the courage to avenge his father

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