Act I
Act II
Act IV
Act V
Enter Hamlet, Horatio, and Marcellus
shrewdly (adv.) 2 sharply, severely


The air bites shrewdly. It is very cold.


It is a nipping and an eager air.
eager (adj.) 1 keen, biting


What hour now?
lacks of, it it is a little before


                         I think it lacks of twelve.


No, it is struck.


Indeed? I heard it not. It then draws near the season
season (n.) 1 time, due time, occasion

Wherein the spirit held his wont to walk.
wont (n.) custom, habit, practice

A flourish of trumpets, and two pieces of ordnance go


What does this mean, my lord?
ordnance, ordinance (n.) cannon, artillery
piece (n.) 7 cannon, piece of artillery, fire-arm


The King doth wake tonight and takes his rouse,
rouse (n.) full draught (of wine), brimful cup, carousing
wake (v.) 1 remain awake, stay up

Keeps wassail, and the swaggering upspring reels.
reels (n.) (plural) revels, revelry, merrymaking
upspring (adj.) newly introduced, trendy; or: a type of wild dance
wassail (n.) drinking-party, carousal, revels

And as he drains his draughts of Rhenish down
Rhenish (n.) Rhineland wine

The kettledrum and trumpet thus bray out

The triumph of his pledge.
pledge (n.) 1 toast, drinking of a health


                         Is it a custom?


Ay, marry, is't.

But to my mind, though I am native here

And to the manner born, it is a custom

More honoured in the breach than the observance.
breach (n.) 1 disregarding, breaking
honoured (adj.) honourable, dignified, virtuous

This heavy-headed revel east and west

Makes us traduced and taxed of other nations.
tax (v.) 1 censure, blame, take to task, disparage
traduce (v.) defame, slander, calumniate, dishonour

They clepe us drunkards and with swinish phrase
clepe (v.), past form clept [archaism] call, name, style See Topics: Archaisms
phrase (n.) 1 phrasing, language, mode of expression
swinish (adj.) coarse, gross; or: comparing [one] to pigs

Soil our addition; and indeed it takes
addition (n.) 1 title, name
soil (v.) blemish, stain, tarnish
take (v.) 4 take away, detract, lessen

From our achievements, though performed at height,
height (n.) 1 maximum, highest amount, utmost degree

The pith and marrow of our attribute.
attribute (n.) reputation, credit, honour

So oft it chances in particular men
oft (adv.) often See Topics: Frequency count

That – for some vicious mole of nature in them,
for (prep.) 6 on account of
mole (n.) blemish, fault
vicious (adj.) 1 defective, faulty, bad

As in their birth, wherein they are not guilty,

Since nature cannot choose his origin –

By the o'ergrowth of some complexion,
complexion (n.) 3 natural trait, disposition, temperament, nature

Oft breaking down the pales and forts of reason,
pale (n.) 1 fence, paling, enclosure

Or by some habit that too much o'er-leavens
habit (n.) 3 behaviour, bearing, demeanour
over-leaven (v.) leaven too much, pervade, imbue to excess

The form of plausive manners – that these men,
form (n.) 5 way of behaving, behaviour, code of conduct
plausive (adj.) 1 pleasing, praiseworthy, laudable

Carrying, I say, the stamp of one defect,
stamp (n.) 1 impression, mark, imprint

Being nature's livery or fortune's star,
livery (n.) 1 uniform, costume, special clothing See Topics: Frequency count
star (n.) 4 sphere, fortune, rank

His virtues else, be they as pure as grace,
else (adv.) 4 (used after the noun) in addition
virtue (n.) 1 quality, accomplishment, ability

As infinite as man may undergo,
undergo (v.) 2 support, sustain, bear

Shall in the general censure take corruption
censure (n.) 1 assessment, opinion, judgement, criticism
corruption (n.) 1 destruction, spoiling, contagion

From that particular fault. The dram of evil
dram (n.) 1 tiny amount, small quantity

Doth all the noble substance of a doubt,

To his own scandal –

Enter the Ghost
scandal (n.) 1 shame, discredit, disgrace


                         Look, my lord, it comes.


Angels and ministers of grace defend us!
minister (n.) messenger, agent, servant

Be thou a spirit of health or goblin damned,
health (n.) 2 well-being, benevolence

Bring with thee airs from heaven or blasts from hell,
air (n.) 5 breeze, light wind

Be thy intents wicked or charitable,
intent (n.) intention, purpose, aim See Topics: Frequency count

Thou comest in such a questionable shape
questionable (adj.) inviting interrogation, of whom questions may be asked
shape (n.) 1 appearance, aspect, visible form

That I will speak to thee. I'll call thee Hamlet,

King, father, royal Dane. O, answer me!

Let me not burst in ignorance. But tell

Why thy canonized bones, hearsed in death,
canonized (v.) buried with the Church's rites, consecrated by Christian burial
hearsed (v.) coffined, placed in a hearse

Have burst their cerements; why the sepulchre
cerements (n.) waxed shroud, grave-clothes, winding sheet

Wherein we saw thee quietly interred
inurn (v.) entomb, bury, inter

Hath oped his ponderous and marble jaws
ope (v.) open See Topics: Frequency count

To cast thee up again. What may this mean

That thou, dead corse, again in complete steel,
complete, compleat (adj.) 2 fully equipped, with everything present
corse (n.) corpse, dead body See Topics: Frequency count
steel (n.) 1 armour

Revisits thus the glimpses of the moon,

Making night hideous, and we fools of nature
fool (n.) 5 plaything, pawn, puppet
hideous (adj.) terrifying, frightful, horrifying
nature (n.) 6 natural order, ungoverned state, way of the world [often personified]

So horridly to shake our disposition
disposition (n.) 1 composure, state of mind, temperament
horridly (adv.) dreadfully, frightfully, terrifyingly

With thoughts beyond the reaches of our souls?
reach (n.) 1 capacity, capability, power of attainment

Say, why is this? Wherefore? What should we do?

The Ghost beckons him


It beckons you to go away with it,

As if it some impartment did desire
impartment (n.) communication, imparting of information

To you alone.


                         Look with what courteous action

It waves you to a more removed ground.
removed (adj.) 1 remote, secluded, further away

But do not go with it.


                         No, by no means.


It will not speak. Then I will follow it.


Do not, my lord.


                         Why, what should be the fear?

I do not set my life at a pin's fee.
fee (n.) 1 value, worth
pin's fee, a the value of a trifle

And for my soul, what can it do to that,

Being a thing immortal as itself?

It waves me forth again. I'll follow it.


What if it tempt you toward the flood, my lord,
flood (n.) 1 sea, deep, waves, rushing water

Or to the dreadful summit of the cliff

That beetles o'er his base into the sea,
beetle (v.) overhang, project [like threatening eyebrows]

And there assume some other, horrible form,

Which might deprive your sovereignty of reason
deprive (v.) 1 take away, remove, carry off
sovereignty (n.) 4 control [of yourself], powers

And draw you into madness? Think of it.

The very place puts toys of desperation,
desperation (n.) reckless despair, desperate thoughts [of self-destruction]
toy (n.) 2 fancy, fantastic thought

Without more motive, into every brain

That looks so many fathoms to the sea

And hears it roar beneath.


                         It waves me still. –

Go on. I'll follow thee.


You shall not go, my lord.


                         Hold off your hands.


Be ruled. You shall not go.


                         My fate cries out

And makes each petty artere in this body
artere, artire (n.) [early spelling of ‘artery’] sinew, ligament, tendon
petty (adj.) 1 small, weak, inadequate, insignificant

As hardy as the Nemean lion's nerve.
nerve (n.) 1 sinew, ligament, muscle

Still am I called. Unhand me, gentlemen.

By heaven, I'll make a ghost of him that lets me!
ghost (n.) 2 dead body, corpse
let (v.) 1 hinder, prevent, stand in the way

I say, away! Go on. I'll follow thee.

Exeunt the Ghost and Hamlet


He waxes desperate with imagination.
wax (v.) 1 grow, become, turn


Let's follow. 'Tis not fit thus to obey him.


Have after. To what issue will this come?
have after (v.) let's follow
issue (n.) 2 outcome, result, consequence(s) See Topics: Frequency count


Something is rotten in the state of Denmark.


Heaven will direct it.


                         Nay, let's follow him.


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