Hamlet: Act 3, Scene 1A room in the castle.
Enter KING CLAUDIUS, QUEEN GERTRUDE, POLONIUS, OPHELIA, ROSENCRANTZ, and GUILDENSTERNKING CLAUDIUS And can you, by no drift of circumstance,Get from him why he puts on this confusion,Grating so harshly all his days of quietWith turbulent and dangerous lunacy?ROSENCRANTZ He does confess he feels himself distracted;But from what cause he will by no means speak. GUILDENSTERN Nor do we find him forward to be sounded,But, with a crafty madness, keeps aloof,When we would bring him on to some confessionOf his true state. QUEEN GERTRUDE Did he receive you well?ROSENCRANTZ Most like a gentleman. GUILDENSTERN But with much forcing of his disposition. ROSENCRANTZ Niggard of question; but, of our demands,Most free in his reply.Order now
QUEEN GERTRUDE Did you assay him?To any pastime?ROSENCRANTZ Madam, it so fell out, that certain playersWe o’er-raught on the way: of these we told him;And there did seem in him a kind of joyTo hear of it: they are about the court,And, as I think, they have already orderThis night to play before him. LORD POLONIUS ‘Tis most true:And he beseech’d me to entreat your majestiesTo hear and see the matter. KING CLAUDIUS With all my heart; and it doth much content meTo hear him so inclined. Good gentlemen, give him a further edge,And drive his purpose on to these delights.
ROSENCRANTZ We shall, my lord. Exeunt ROSENCRANTZ and GUILDENSTERNKING CLAUDIUS Sweet Gertrude, leave us too;For we have closely sent for Hamlet hither,That he, as ’twere by accident, may hereAffront Ophelia:Her father and myself, lawful espials,Will so bestow ourselves that, seeing, unseen,We may of their encounter frankly judge,And gather by him, as he is behaved,If ‘t be the affliction of his love or noThat thus he suffers for. QUEEN GERTRUDE I shall obey you. And for your part, Ophelia, I do wishThat your good beauties be the happy causeOf Hamlet’s wildness: so shall I hope your virtuesWill bring him to his wonted way again,To both your honours. OPHELIA Madam, I wish it may. Exit QUEEN GERTRUDELORD POLONIUS Ophelia, walk you here.
Gracious, so please you,We will bestow ourselves. To OPHELIARead on this book;That show of such an exercise may colourYour loneliness. We are oft to blame in this,–’Tis too much proved–that with devotion’s visageAnd pious action we do sugar o’erThe devil himself. KING CLAUDIUS O, ’tis too true!How smart a lash that speech doth give my conscience!The harlot’s cheek, beautied with plastering art,Is not more ugly to the thing that helps itThan is my deed to my most painted word:O heavy burthen!LORD POLONIUS I hear him coming: let’s withdraw, my lord. Exeunt KING CLAUDIUS and POLONIUSEnter HAMLETHAMLET To be, or not to be: that is the question:Whether ’tis nobler in the mind to sufferThe slings and arrows of outrageous fortune,Or to take arms against a sea of troubles,And by opposing end them? To die: to sleep;No more; and by a sleep to say we endThe heart-ache and the thousand natural shocksThat flesh is heir to, ’tis a consummationDevoutly to be wish’d.
To die, to sleep;To sleep: perchance to dream: ay, there’s the rub;For in that sleep of death what dreams may comeWhen we have shuffled off this mortal coil,Must give us pause: there’s the respectThat makes calamity of so long life;For who would bear the whips and scorns of time,The oppressor’s wrong, the proud man’s contumely,The pangs of despised love, the law’s delay,The insolence of office and the spurnsThat patient merit of the unworthy takes,When he himself might his quietus makeWith a bare bodkin? who would fardels bear,To grunt and sweat under a weary life,But that the dread of something after death,The undiscover’d country from whose bournNo traveller returns, puzzles the willAnd makes us rather bear those ills we haveThan fly to others that we know not of?Thus conscience does make cowards of us all;And thus the native hue of resolutionIs sicklied o’er with the pale cast of thought,And enterprises of great pith and momentWith this regard their currents turn awry,And lose the name of action. –Soft you now!The fair Ophelia! Nymph, in thy orisonsBe all my sins remember’d. OPHELIA Good my lord,How does your honour for this many a day?HAMLET I humbly thank you; well, well, well. OPHELIA My lord, I have remembrances of yours,That I have longed long to re-deliver;I pray you, now receive them.
HAMLET No, not I;I never gave you aught. OPHELIA My honour’d lord, you know right well you did;And, with them, words of so sweet breath composedAs made the things more rich: their perfume lost,Take these again; for to the noble mindRich gifts wax poor when givers prove unkind. There, my lord. HAMLET Ha, ha! are you honest?OPHELIA My lord?HAMLET Are you fair?OPHELIA What means your lordship?HAMLET That if you be honest and fair, your honesty shouldadmit no discourse to your beauty.
OPHELIA Could beauty, my lord, have better commerce thanwith honesty?HAMLET Ay, truly; for the power of beauty will soonertransform honesty from what it is to a bawd than theforce of honesty can translate beauty into hislikeness: this was sometime a paradox, but now thetime gives it proof. I did love you once. OPHELIA Indeed, my lord, you made me believe so. HAMLET You should not have believed me; for virtue cannotso inoculate our old stock but we shall relish ofit: I loved you not.
OPHELIA I was the more deceived. HAMLET Get thee to a nunnery: why wouldst thou be abreeder of sinners? I am myself indifferent honest;but yet I could accuse me of such things that itwere better my mother had not borne me: I am veryproud, revengeful, ambitious, with more offences atmy beck than I have thoughts to put them in,imagination to give them shape, or time to act themin. What should such fellows as I do crawlingbetween earth and heaven? We are arrant knaves,all; believe none of us. Go thy ways to a nunnery. Where’s your father?OPHELIA At home, my lord. HAMLET Let the doors be shut upon him, that he may play thefool no where but in’s own house.
Farewell. OPHELIA O, help him, you sweet heavens!HAMLET If thou dost marry, I’ll give thee this plague forthy dowry: be thou as chaste as ice, as pure assnow, thou shalt not escape calumny. Get thee to anunnery, go: farewell. Or, if thou wilt needsmarry, marry a fool; for wise men know well enoughwhat monsters you make of them. To a nunnery, go,and quickly too. Farewell.
OPHELIA O heavenly powers, restore him!HAMLET I have heard of your paintings too, well enough; Godhas given you one face, and you make yourselvesanother: you jig, you amble, and you lisp, andnick-name God’s creatures, and make your wantonnessyour ignorance. Go to, I’ll no more on’t; it hathmade me mad. I say, we will have no more marriages:those that are married already, all but one, shalllive; the rest shall keep as they are. To anunnery, go. ExitOPHELIA O, what a noble mind is here o’erthrown!The courtier’s, soldier’s, scholar’s, eye, tongue, sword;The expectancy and rose of the fair state,The glass of fashion and the mould of form,The observed of all observers, quite, quite down!And I, of ladies most deject and wretched,That suck’d the honey of his music vows,Now see that noble and most sovereign reason,Like sweet bells jangled, out of tune and harsh;That unmatch’d form and feature of blown youthBlasted with ecstasy: O, woe is me,To have seen what I have seen, see what I see!Re-enter KING CLAUDIUS and POLONIUSKING CLAUDIUS Love! his affections do not that way tend;Nor what he spake, though it lack’d form a little,Was not like madness.
There’s something in his soul,O’er which his melancholy sits on brood;And I do doubt the hatch and the discloseWill be some danger: which for to prevent,I have in quick determinationThus set it down: he shall with speed to England,For the demand of our neglected tributeHaply the seas and countries differentWith variable objects shall expelThis something-settled matter in his heart,Whereon his brains still beating puts him thusFrom fashion of himself. What think you on’t?LORD POLONIUS It shall do well: but yet do I believeThe origin and commencement of his griefSprung from neglected love. How now, Ophelia!You need not tell us what Lord Hamlet said;We heard it all. My lord, do as you please;But, if you hold it fit, after the playLet his queen mother all alone entreat himTo show his grief: let her be round with him;And I’ll be placed, so please you, in the earOf all their conference.
If she find him not,To England send him, or confine him whereYour wisdom best shall think.KING CLAUDIUS It shall be so:Madness in great ones must not unwatch’d go.ExeuntShakespeare Essays