Act 3, Scene 1

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[Enter King, Queen, Polonius, Ophelia, Rosencrantz, Guildenstern, and Lords.]

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 quiet
With 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 confession
Of his true state.

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.

Gertrude   

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,
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.

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.
[Exit Rosencrantz, Guildenstern, and Lords.]

Claudius

Sweet Gertrude, leave us too, 
For we have closely sent for Hamlet hither,
That he, as 'twere by accident, may there
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 th' 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.

Ophelia

                                  Madam, I wish it may.
[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
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 plast'ring art,
Is not more ugly to the thing that helps it
Than is my deed to my most painted word.    
Oh, heavy burden!

Polonius

I hear him coming. Let's withdraw, my lord.
[Exit Claudius and Polonius, as they conceal themselves. Enter Hamlet.]

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 the 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 sickled 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.     
[Hamlet sees Ophelia reading a religious book.]
                                                  Soft you now, 
The fair Ophelia! [To Ophelia] Nymph, in thy orisons
Be all my sins remembered.

Ophelia

                                               Good my lord,
How does your honor for this many a day?

Hamlet   

I humbly thank you, well, well.    

Ophelia

My lord, I have remembrances of yours
That I have longèd long to redeliver.
I pray you now receive them.

Hamlet   

No, no, 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 these things more rich. Then, perfume left,
Take these again, for to the noble mind,
Rich gifts wax poor when givers prove unkind,
There, my lord.  
[She gives Hamlet the presents.]     

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 should
admit no discourse to your beauty.

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 a paradox, but now the time 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 cannot
so inoculate our old stock but we shall relish of it.    
I loved you not.

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, 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 offenses 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 heaven and earth? 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
the fool nowhere but in's own house. Farewell.

Ophelia

Oh, 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. 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

Oh heavenly powers, restore him!

Hamlet

I have heard of your paintings too well enough. 
God has given you one face, and you make yourself
another. You jig, you amble, and you lisp, and
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, but one, shall live. The rest shall
keep as they are. To a nunnery, go.
[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 mold 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!    
[Exit Ophelia, Enter Claudius and Polonius.]

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 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, I do believe 
The origin and commencement of this grief
Sprung from neglected love. [To Ophelia] How now, Ophelia?
You need not tell us what Lord Hamlet said,
We heard it all. [To Claudius] 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.