Contents

Previous Next  

 

Hamlet

by William Shakespeare

Act 3, Scene 1 Easiest-to-Read Edition

 

 

 

Hamlet Act 3, Scene 1



A Room in the Castle

Enter CLAUDIUS, GERTRUDE, POLONIUS,OPHELIA
, ROSENCRANTZ, and GUILDENSTERN

Enter CLAUDIUS, GERTRUDE, POLONIUS,OPHELIA
, ROSENCRANTZ, and GUILDENSTERN

CLAUDIUS

And can you by no drift of conference

Get from him why he puts on this confusion,

Grating so harshly all his days of quiet

With turbulent and dangerous lunacy?

 

CLAUDIUS

And can you by no drift of conference

Get from him why he puts on this confusion,

Grating so harshly all his days of quiet

With turbulent and dangerous lunacy?

 

ROSENCRANTZ

He does confess he feels himself distracted.

But from what cause he will by no means speak.

 

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.

forward to be sounded=ready to be questioned

But with a crafty madness keeps aloof

When we would bring him on to some confession

Of his true state.

 

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 confession

Of his true state.

 

GERTRUDE

  Did he receive you well?

 

GERTRUDE

  Did he receive you well?

 

ROSENCRANTZ

Most like a gentleman.

 

ROSENCRANTZ

Most like a gentleman.

 

GUILDENSTERN

But with much forcing of his disposition.

 

GUILDENSTERN

But with much forcing of his disposition.

 

ROSENCRANTZ

Niggard of question, but of our demands

question=asking questions

Most free in his reply.

 

ROSENCRANTZ

Niggard of question, but of our demands

Most free in his reply.

 

GERTRUDE

    Did you assay him?

assay=tempt

To any pastime?

 

GERTRUDE

    Did you assay him?

To any pastime?

 

ROSENCRANTZ

Madam, it so fell out, that certain players

We o'erraught on the way. Of these we told him,

o’erraught=overtook

And there did seem in him a kind of joy

To hear of it. They are about the court,

And, as I think, they have already order

already order=already an order

This night to play before him.

 

ROSENCRANTZ

Madam, it so fell out, that certain players

We o'erraught on the way. Of these we told him,

And there did seem in him a kind of joy

To hear of it. They are about the court,

And, as I think, they have already order

This night to play before him.

 

POLONIUS

    'Tis most true,

And he beseeched me to entreat your Majesties

To hear and see the matter.

 

POLONIUS

    'Tis most true,

And he beseeched me to entreat your Majesties

To hear and see the matter.

 

CLAUDIUS

With all my heart, and it doth much content me

To hear him so inclined.

Good gentlemen, give him a further edge,

edge=appetite

And drive his purpose on to these delights.

 

CLAUDIUS

With all my heart, and it doth much content me

To hear him so inclined.

Good gentlemen, give him a further edge,

And drive his purpose on to these delights.

 

ROSENCRANTZ

We shall, my lord.

 

ROSENCRANTZ

We shall, my lord.

 

Exeunt ROSENCRANTZ and GUILDENSTERN

Exeunt ROSENCRANTZ and GUILDENSTERN

CLAUDIUS

Sweet Gertrude, leave us too,

For we have closely sent for Hamlet hither,

That he, as ’twere by accident, may here

Affront Ophelia.

affront=meet unexpectedly

Her father and myself (lawful espials)

espials=spies

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 no

That thus he suffers for.

 

CLAUDIUS

Sweet Gertrude, leave us too,

For we have closely sent for Hamlet hither,

That he, as ’twere by accident, may here

Affront 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 no

That thus he suffers for.

 

GERTRUDE

    I shall obey you.

And for your part, Ophelia, I do wish

That your good beauties be the happy cause

Of Hamlet’s wildness. So shall I hope your virtues

Will bring him to his wonted way again,

To both your honors.

to both your honors=to the honor of you both

 

GERTRUDE

    I shall obey you.

And for your part, Ophelia, I do wish

That your good beauties be the happy cause

Of Hamlet’s wildness. So shall I hope your virtues

Will bring him to his wonted way again,

To both your honors.

 

OPHELIA

  Madam, I wish it may.

 

OPHELIA

  Madam, I wish it may.

 

Exit GERTRUDE

Exit GERTRUDE

POLONIUS

Ophelia, walk you here. (to CLAUDIUS) Gracious, so please you,

We will bestow ourselves. (to OPHELIA)Read on this book

That show of such an exercise may color

color your loneliness=explain your being here alone

Your loneliness.—We are oft to blame in this,

'Tis too much proved, that with devotion’s visage

devotion’s visage=religious appearance

And pious action we do sugar o'er

The devil himself.

 

POLONIUS

Ophelia, walk you here. (to CLAUDIUS) Gracious, so please you,

We will bestow ourselves. (to OPHELIA)Read on this book

That show of such an exercise may color

Your loneliness.—We are oft to blame in this,

'Tis too much proved, that with devotion’s visage

And pious action we do sugar o'er

The devil himself.

 

CLAUDIUS

(aside) Oh, ’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 it

Than is my deed to my most painted word.

O heavy burden!

 

CLAUDIUS

(aside) Oh, ’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 it

Than is my deed to my most painted word.

O heavy burden!

 

POLONIUS

I hear him coming. Let’s withdraw, my lord.

 

POLONIUS

I hear him coming. Let’s withdraw, my lord.

 

CLAUDIUS and POLONIUS hide.

Enter HAMLET

CLAUDIUS and POLONIUS hide.

Enter HAMLET

HAMLET

To be, or not to be? That is the question—

to be=to be alive

Whether ’tis nobler in the mind to suffer

The 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 end

The heartache and the thousand natural shocks

That flesh is heir to—’tis a consummation

consummation=completion

Devoutly to be wished! To die, to sleep.

To sleep, perchance to dream—ay, there’s the rub,

rub=catch

For in that sleep of death what dreams may come

may=might

When we have shuffled off this mortal coil,

shuffled=sloughed

coil=bustle (Elizabethan usage)

Must give us pause. There’s the respect

respect=consideration

That makes calamity of so long life.

For who would bear the whips and scorns of time,

Th' oppressor’s wrong, the proud man’s contumely,

contumely=insults

The pangs of despised love, the law’s delay,

despised=unrequited

The insolence of office, and the spurns

office=office holders

That patient merit of th' unworthy takes,

When he himself might his quietus make

quietus=end

With a bare bodkin? Who would fardels bear,

bodkin=dagger

fardels=burdens

To grunt and sweat under a weary life,

But that the dread of something after death,

The undiscovered country from whose bourn

bourn=borders

No traveler returns, puzzles the will

And makes us rather bear those ills we have

Than fly to others that we know not of?

Thus conscience does make cowards of us all,

conscience=thinking about things

And thus the native hue of resolution

hue=color

Is sicklied o'er with the pale cast of thought,

cast=tinge

And enterprises of great pith and moment

pith and moment=substance and importance

With this regard their currents turn awry,

with this regard=looked at this way

And lose the name of action.—Soft you now,

The fair Ophelia!—Nymph, in thy orisons

orisons=prayers

Be all my sins remembered.

remembered=be offered for forgiveness

 

HAMLET

To be, or not to be? That is the question—

Whether ’tis nobler in the mind to suffer

The 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 end

The heartache and the thousand natural shocks

That flesh is heir to—’tis a consummation

Devoutly to be wished! To die, to sleep.

To sleep, perchance to dream—ay, there’s the rub,

For in that sleep of death what dreams may come

When we have shuffled off this mortal coil,

Must give us pause. There’s the respect

That makes calamity of so long life.

For who would bear the whips and scorns of time,

Th' oppressor’s wrong, the proud man’s contumely,

The pangs of despised love, the law’s delay,

The insolence of office, and the spurns

That patient merit of th' unworthy takes,

When he himself might his quietus make

With a bare bodkin? Who would fardels bear,

To grunt and sweat under a weary life,

But that the dread of something after death,

The undiscovered country from whose bourn

No traveler returns, puzzles the will

And makes us rather bear those ills we have

Than fly to others that we know not of?

Thus conscience does make cowards of us all,

And thus the native hue of resolution

Is sicklied o'er with the pale cast of thought,

And enterprises of great pith and moment

With this regard their currents turn awry,

And lose the name of action.—Soft you now,

The fair Ophelia!—Nymph, in thy orisons

Be all my sins remembered.

 

 

OPHELIA

Good my lord,

How does your honor for this many a day?

 

OPHELIA

Good my lord,

How does your honor for this many a day?

 

HAMLET

I humbly thank you. Well, well, well.

 

HAMLET

I humbly thank you. Well, well, well.

 

OPHELIA

My lord, I have remembrances of yours

remembrances=mementos

That I have longèd long to redeliver.

redeliver=give them back to you

I pray you now receive them.

 

OPHELIA

My lord, I have remembrances of yours

That I have longèd long to redeliver.

I pray you now receive them.

 

HAMLET

No, not I. I never gave you aught.

aught=any

 

HAMLET

No, not I. I never gave you aught.

 

OPHELIA

My honored lord, you know right well you did,

And with them, words of so sweet breath composed

As made the things more rich. Their perfume lost,

Take these again, for to the noble mind

Rich gifts wax poor when givers prove unkind.

There, my lord.

 

 

OPHELIA

My honored lord, you know right well you did,

And with them, words of so sweet breath composed

As made the things more rich. Their perfume lost,

Take these again, for to the noble mind

Rich gifts wax poor when givers prove unkind.

There, my lord.

 

HAMLET

Ha, ha, are you honest?

honest=chaste

 

HAMLET

Ha, ha, are you honest?

 

OPHELIA

My lord!

 

OPHELIA

My lord?

 

HAMLET

Are you fair?

 

HAMLET

Are you fair?

 

OPHELIA

What means your lordship?

 

OPHELIA

What means your lordship?

 

HAMLET

That if you be honest and fair, your honesty should admit no discourse to your beauty.

honesty . . . – honesty and beauty should not talk to one another

 

HAMLET

That if you be honest and fair, your honesty should admit no discourse to your beauty.

 

OPHELIA

Could beauty, my lord, have better commerce than with honesty?

commerce=communication

 

OPHELIA

Could beauty, my lord, have better commerce than with honesty?

 

HAMLET

Ay, truly, for the power of beauty will sooner transform honesty from what it is to a bawd than the force of honesty can translate beauty into his likeness. This was sometime (at one time) a paradox, but now the time gives it proof. I did love you once.

(Hamlet insults Ophelia for painting her face.)

 

HAMLET

Ay, truly, for the power of beauty will sooner transform honesty from what it is to a bawd than the force of honesty can translate beauty into his likeness. This was sometime a paradox, but now the time gives it proof. I did love you once.

 

OPHELIA

Indeed, my lord, you made me believe so.

 

OPHELIA

Indeed, my lord, you made me believe so.

 

HAMLET

You should not have believed me, for virtue cannot so inoculate our old stock but we shall relish of it. I loved you not.

our old stock=lineage from the sin of Adam, which we continue to enjoy

 

HAMLET

You should not have believed me, for virtue cannot so inoculate our old stock but we shall relish of it. I loved you not.

 

OPHELIA

I was the more deceived.

 

OPHELIA

I was the more deceived.

 

HAMLET

Get thee to a nunnery. Why wouldst thou be a breeder of sinners? I am myself indifferent honest (quite honest), but yet I could accuse me of such things that it were better my mother had not borne me. I am very proud, revengeful, ambitious, with more offences at my beck (gesture used to summon someone) than I have thoughts to put them in, imagination to give them shape, or time to act them in. What should such fellows as I do crawling between earth and heaven? We are arrant knaves (thorough rascals), all. Believe none of us. Go thy ways to a nunnery. Where’s your father?

 

HAMLET

Get thee to a nunnery. Why wouldst thou be a breeder of sinners? I am myself indifferent honest, but yet I could accuse me of such things that it were better my mother had not borne me. I am very proud, revengeful, ambitious, with more offences at my beck than I have thoughts to put them in, imagination to give them shape, or time to act them in. What should such fellows as I do crawling between 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.

 

OPHELIA

At home, my lord.

 

HAMLET

Let the doors be shut upon him, that he may play the fool no where but in ’s own house. Farewell.

 

HAMLET

Let the doors be shut upon him, that he may play the fool nowhere but in ’s own house. Farewell.

 

OPHELIA

O, help him, you sweet heavens!

 

OPHELIA

O, help him, you sweet heavens!

 

HAMLET

If thou dost marry, I’ll give thee this plague for thy dowry. Be thou as chaste as ice, as pure as snow, thou shalt not escape calumny (slander). Get thee to a nunnery, go. Farewell. Or, if thou wilt needs marry, marry a fool, for wise men know well enough what monsters you make of them. To a nunnery, go, and quickly, too. Farewell.

 

HAMLET

If thou dost marry, I’ll give thee this plague for thy dowry. Be thou as chaste as ice, as pure as snow, thou shalt not escape calumny. Get thee to a nunnery, go. Farewell. Or, if thou wilt needs marry, marry a fool, for wise men know well enough what monsters you make of them. To a nunnery, go, and quickly, too. Farewell.

 

OPHELIA

Heavenly powers, restore him!

 

OPHELIA

Heavenly powers, restore him!

 

HAMLET

I have heard of your paintings (cosmetics), too, well enough. God has given you one face and you make yourselves another. You jig and amble (dance and prance), and you lisp, you nickname God’s creatures and make your wantonness your ignorance (blame your silliness on your ignorance). Go to (go on), I’ll no more on ’t. It hath made me mad. I say, we will have no more marriages. Those that are married already, all but one (the King ?), shall live. The rest shall keep as they are. To a nunnery, go.

 

HAMLET

I have heard of your paintings too, well enough. God has given you one face and you make yourselves another. You jig and amble, and you lisp, you nickname God’s creatures and make your wantonness your ignorance. Go to, I’ll no more on ’t. It hath made me mad. I say, we will have no more marriages. Those that are married already, all but one, shall live. The rest shall keep as they are. To a nunnery, go.

 

Exit HAMLET

Exit HAMLET

OPHELIA

Oh, what a noble mind is here o'erthrown!—

The courtier’s, soldier’s, scholar’s, eye, tongue, sword,

Th' expectancy and rose of the fair state,

The glass of fashion and the mould of form,

mould of form=ideal of courtesy

Th' observed of all observers, quite, quite down!

And I, of ladies most deject and wretched,

That sucked the honey of his music vows,

Now see that noble and most sovereign reason

Like sweet bells jangled, out of tune and harsh;

That unmatched form and feature of blown youth

blown youth=youth in full bloom

Blasted with ecstasy. Oh, woe is me,

ecstacy=lunacy

T' have seen what I have seen, see what I see!

have seen=seen Hamlet before his madness

 

OPHELIA

Oh, what a noble mind is here o'erthrown!—

The courtier’s, soldier’s, scholar’s, eye, tongue, sword,

Th' expectancy and rose of the fair state,

The glass of fashion and the mould of form,

Th' observed of all observers, quite, quite down!

And I, of ladies most deject and wretched,

That sucked the honey of his music vows,

Now see that noble and most sovereign reason

Like sweet bells jangled, out of tune and harsh;

That unmatched form and feature of blown youth

Blasted with ecstasy. Oh, woe is me,

T' have seen what I have seen, see what I see!

 

CLAUDIUS and POLONIUS come forward

CLAUDIUS and POLONIUS come forward

CLAUDIUS

Love? His affections do not that way tend.

Nor what he spake, though it lacked form a little,

Was not like madness. There’s something in his soul

nor…not – double negative, not uncommon

O'er which his melancholy sits on brood,

on brood=like a hen sitting on a nest

And I do doubt the hatch and the disclose

do doubt the hatch=fear the hatching of the eggs

disclose=disclosure

Will be some danger—which for to prevent,

I have in quick determination

Thus set it down: he shall with speed to England

For the demand of our neglected tribute.

Haply the seas and countries different

haply=with luck

With variable objects shall expel

This something-settled matter in his heart,

Whereon his brain still beating puts him thus

From fashion of himself. What think you on ’t?

fashion of himself=normal ways

 

CLAUDIUS

Love? His affections do not that way tend.

Nor what he spake, though it lacked 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 disclose

Will be some danger—which for to prevent,

I have in quick determination

Thus set it down: he shall with speed to England

For the demand of our neglected tribute.

Haply the seas and countries different

With variable objects shall expel

This something-settled matter in his heart,

Whereon his brains still beating puts him thus

From fashion of himself. What think you on ’t?

 

POLONIUS

It shall do well. But yet do I believe

The origin and commencement of his grief

Sprung from neglected love.—How now, Ophelia?

You need not tell us what Lord Hamlet said.

We heard it all.— (addressing the King) My lord, do as you please.

But, if you hold it fit, after the play

Let his queen mother all alone entreat him

To show his grief. Let her be round with him,

And I’ll be placed, so please you, in the ear

ear=hearing

Of all their conference. If she find him not,

find him not=not find him out

To England send him or confine him where

Your wisdom best shall think.

 

 

POLONIUS

It shall do well. But yet do I believe

The origin and commencement of his grief

Sprung 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 play

Let his queen mother all alone entreat him

To show his grief. Let her be round with him,

And I’ll be placed, so please you, in the ear

Of all their conference. If she find him not,

To England send him or confine him where

Your wisdom best shall think.

 

CLAUDIUS

It shall be so.

Madness in great ones must not unwatched go.

unwatched – three syllables

 

CLAUDIUS

It shall be so.

Madness in great ones must not unwatched go.

 

Exeunt

Exeunt

 

Next