Act I
Act II
Act IV
Act V
Enter the King and Laertes
acquittance (n.) 2 acquittal, exoneration, excusing
seal (v.) 1 confirm, ratify, approve


Now must your conscience my acquittance seal,

And you must put me in your heart for friend,

Sith you have heard, and with a knowing ear,
knowing (adj.) knowledgeable, intelligent, perceptive

That he which hath your noble father slain

Pursued my life.


                         It well appears. But tell me

Why you proceeded not against these feats
feat (n.) 3 [wicked] deed, action, crime

So crimeful and so capital in nature,
capital (adj.) 3 worthy of the death penalty, punishable by death
crimeful (adj.) laden with crime, criminal, lawless

As by your safety, greatness, wisdom, all things else,
safety (n.) 3 concern for safety, need for protection
wisdom (n.) 3 [political] caution, prudence, judgement

You mainly were stirred up.
mainly (adv.) 1 greatly, very much, mightily


                         O, for two special reasons,

Which may to you perhaps seem much unsinewed,
unsinewed (adj.) weak, feeble, slight

But yet to me they're strong. The Queen his mother

Lives almost by his looks, and for myself –

My virtue or my plague, be it either which –

She is so conjunctive to my life and soul
conjunctive (adj.) closely united, intimately joined, allied

That, as the star moves not but in his sphere,
sphere (n.) 1 celestial globe in which a heavenly body was thought to move, orbit See Topics: Cosmos

I could not but by her. The other motive
but (conj.) 1 except, otherwise than

Why to a public count I might not go
count (n.) 2 trial, indictment, reckoning

Is the great love the general gender bear him,
gender, general common people, general public

Who, dipping all his faults in their affection,

Work like the spring that turneth wood to stone,
work (v.), past form wrought 6 act, behave, conduct oneself

Convert his gyves to graces; so that my arrows,
grace (n.) 2 virtue, good quality
gyve (n.) 2 (plural) handicaps, defects

Too slightly timbered for so loud a wind,
timbered (adj.) made of wood, constructed

Would have reverted to my bow again,
revert (v.) return, go back

And not where I had aimed them.


And so have I a noble father lost,

A sister driven into desperate terms,
desperate (adj.) 1 despairing, hopeless, without hope
term (n.) 3 state, condition, circumstance

Whose worth, if praises may go back again,

Stood challenger, on mount, of all the age
mount, on conspicuously, for all to see

For her perfections. But my revenge will come.


Break not your sleeps for that. You must not think

That we are made of stuff so flat and dull

That we can let our beard be shook with danger,

And think it pastime. You shortly shall hear more.

I loved your father, and we love ourself,

And that, I hope, will teach you to imagine –

Enter a Messenger with letters

How now? What news?


                         Letters, my lord, from Hamlet.

These to your majesty. This to the Queen.


From Hamlet? Who brought them?


Sailors, my lord, they say. I saw them not.

They were given me by Claudio. He received them

Of him that brought them.


                         Laertes, you shall hear them. –

Leave us.

Exit the Messenger

(He reads)
naked (adj.) 2 stripped of all belongings, without means

High and mighty, you shall know I am set naked on your

kingdom. Tomorrow shall I beg leave to see your kingly

eyes; when I shall, first asking your pardon thereunto,
pardon (n.) permission, consent, approval See Topics: Politeness

recount the occasion of my sudden and more strange return.


What should this mean? Are all the rest come back?

Or is it some abuse, and no such thing?
abuse (n.) 1 deception, hoax, fraud


Know you the hand?
character (n.) 3 handwriting, style of writing, lettering


                         'Tis Hamlet's character. ‘ Naked!’

And in a postscript here, he says ‘ alone.’

Can you devise me?
devise (v.) 3 enlighten, explain [to], resolve [for]


I am lost in it, my lord. But let him come.
lose (v.) 8 perplex, bewilder, overwhelm [by]

It warms the very sickness in my heart

That I shall live and tell him to his teeth

‘ Thus didest thou.’


                         If it be so, Laertes –

As how should it be so? How otherwise? –

Will you be ruled by me?


                         Ay, my lord,

So you will not o'errule me to a peace.


To thine own peace. If he be now returned,

As checking at his voyage, and that he means
check at (v.) 1 turn aside from, shy away from

No more to undertake it, I will work him

To an exploit now ripe in my device,
device (n.) 3 planning, devising, invention
ripe (adj.) 1 matured, ready for action

Under the which he shall not choose but fall;

And for his death no wind of blame shall breathe,

But even his mother shall uncharge the practice
practice (n.) 1 scheme, plot, stratagem, intrigue
uncharge (v.) be unable to accuse, acquit of blame

And call it accident.


                         My lord, I will be ruled;

The rather if you could devise it so

That I might be the organ.
fall (v.) 4 work out, happen, turn out
organ (n.) 1 agent, instrument, means


                         It falls right.

You have been talked of since your travel much,

And that in Hamlet's hearing, for a quality

Wherein they say you shine. Your sum of parts
part (n.) 1 quality, attribute, gift, accomplishment [of mind or body]

Did not together pluck such envy from him

As did that one, and that, in my regard,

Of the unworthiest siege.
siege (n.) 2 rank, status, standing


                         What part is that, my lord?


A very riband in the cap of youth,
riband (n.) ribbon

Yet needful too, for youth no less becomes
become (v.) 1 be fitting, befit, be appropriate to See Topics: Frequency count

The light and careless livery that it wears
livery (n.) 1 uniform, costume, special clothing See Topics: Frequency count

Than settled age his sables and his weeds,
sable (n.) 2 rich fur [from the animal, sable], expensive garment
settled (adj.) 1 calm, steadfast, composed
weed (n.) 1 (plural) garments, dress, clothes

Importing health and graveness. Two months since,
health (n.) 3 well-being, prosperity
import (v.) 1 signify, mean, suggest

Here was a gentleman of Normandy.

I have seen myself, and served against, the French,

And they can well on horseback. But this gallant
can (v.) 1 be skilled [in], have ability [in]
gallant (n.) 1 fine gentleman, man of fashion See Topics: Address forms

Had witchcraft in't. He grew unto his seat,
grow unto (v.) cling to, stick to, be one with

And to such wondrous doing brought his horse

As had he been incorpsed and demi-natured
demi-natured (adj.) of a shared nature
incorpsed (adj.) made into one body, incorporated, fused

With the brave beast. So far he topped my thought
brave (adj.) 2 noble, worthy, excellent
thought (n.) 4 expectation, estimate, anticipation
top (v.) 1 surpass, exceed, outstrip

That I, in forgery of shapes and tricks,
forgery (n.) 1 fictitious account, invention, fabrication
shape (n.) 3 figure, posture, attitude
trick (n.) 5 skill, feat, achievement

Come short of what he did.


                         A Norman was't?


A Norman.


Upon my life, Lamord.


                         The very same.


I know him well. He is the brooch indeed
brooch (n.) jewel, ornament

And gem of all the nation.
gem (n.) jewel, treasure, pride


He made confession of you,
confession (n.) acknowledgement, avowal

And gave you such a masterly report
masterly (adj.) of one's skill, of one's mastery

For art and exercise in your defence,
art (n.) 3 skill, knack, dexterity
defence (n.) 1 fencing, swordsmanship, skill of self-defence
exercise (n.) 3 skilful practice, facility

And for your rapier most especial,

That he cried out, 'twould be a sight indeed

If one could match you; the scrimers of their nation
scrimer (n.) fencer, swordsman

He swore had neither motion, guard, nor eye,
motion (n.) 10 [fencing] attack, execution

If you opposed them. Sir, this report of his

Did Hamlet so envenom with his envy

That he could nothing do but wish and beg

Your sudden coming o'er to play with you.
play (v.) 5 fence
sudden (adj.) 1 swift, rapid, prompt

Now, out of this –


                         What out of this, my lord?


Laertes, was your father dear to you?

Or are you like the painting of a sorrow,

A face without a heart?


                         Why ask you this?


Not that I think you did not love your father,

But that I know love is begun by time,
time (n.) 7 circumstance, particular occasion

And that I see, in passages of proof,
passage (n.) 1 incident, occurrence, event, happening

Time qualifies the spark and fire of it.
qualify (v.) 1 moderate, weaken, diminish

There lives within the very flame of love

A kind of wick or snuff that will abate it,
abate (v.) 1 lessen, lower, diminish

And nothing is at a like goodness still;
like (adj.) 1 same, similar, alike, equal See Topics: Frequency count
still (adv.) 1 constantly, always, continually See Topics: Frequency count

For goodness, growing to a pleurisy,
pleurisy, plurisy (n.) excess, superfluity, superabundance

Dies in his own too-much. That we would do

We should do when we would. For this ‘ would ’ changes,

And hath abatements and delays as many
abatement (n.) 1 lessening, decrease, diminution

As there are tongues, are hands, are accidents.
accident (n.) 1 occurrence, event, happening

And then this ‘ should ’ is like a spendthrift sigh,

That hurts by easing. But to the quick o'th' ulcer –
quick (n.) 1 sensitive parts [of the body], tender flesh

Hamlet comes back. What would you undertake

To show yourself in deed your father's son

More than in words?


                         To cut his throat i'th' church!


No place, indeed, should murder sanctuarize.
sanctuarize (v.) give sanctuary to, shelter

Revenge should have no bounds. But, good Laertes,
bound (n.) 1 limit, boundary, confine, barrier

Will you do this: keep close within your chamber?
close (adv.) 6 safely, secretly, out of sight

Hamlet returned shall know you are come home.

We'll put on those shall praise your excellence
put on (v.) 5 arrange, appoint, organize

And set a double varnish on the fame

The Frenchman gave you; bring you in fine together,
fine, in in the end, finally, in conclusion See Topics: Discourse markers

And wager on your heads. He, being remiss,
remiss (adj.) careless, inattentive, negligent

Most generous, and free from all contriving,
generous (adj.) well-bred, mannerly, noble-minded

Will not peruse the foils, so that with ease,
foil (n.) 1 sword, rapier See Topics: Weapons
peruse (v.) 1 inspect, scrutinize, examine

Or with a little shuffling, you may choose
shuffling (n.) trickery, deceit, evasiveness

A sword unbated, and, in a pass of practice,
pass (n.) 1 [fencing] swordthrust, lunge
practice (n.) 2 trickery, treachery
unbated (adj.) 2 not blunted, without a button on the point

Requite him for your father.
requite (v.), past forms requit, requited 2 avenge, pay back, take vengeance on


                         I will do't,

And for that purpose I'll anoint my sword.
purpose (n.) 3 outcome, result, end

I bought an unction of a mountebank,
mountebank (n.) itinerant quack, travelling drug-seller, charlatan
unction (n.) 1 ointment, oil

So mortal that, but dip a knife in it,

Where it draws blood no cataplasm so rare,
cataplasm (n.) poultice, plaster, emollient

Collected from all simples that have virtue
simple (n.) 2 medicinal herb, medicine

Under the moon, can save the thing from death

That is but scratched withal. I'll touch my point

With this contagion, that, if I gall him slightly,
gall (v.) 4 graze, scratch

It may be death.


                         Let's further think of this,

Weigh what convenience both of time and means
weigh (v.) 2 consider, take into account

May fit us to our shape. If this should fail,
fit (v.) 1 suit, befit, be suitable [for]
shape (n.) 5 role, part [to play]

And that our drift look through our bad performance,
drift (n.) 1 plan, intention, aim
look through (v.) become visible, show clearly

'Twere better not assayed. Therefore this project
assay (v.) 1 attempt, try, venture

Should have a back or second, that might hold
back (n.) support, back-up, reserve
hold (v.) 3 stand firm, continue, carry on
second (n.) 2 supporting action, act of assistance

If this should blast in proof. Soft, let me see.
blast (v.) 3 come to grief, be destroyed, fail
proof (n.) 3 test, trial

We'll make a solemn wager on your cunnings –
cunning (n.) 1 skill, ability, expertise

I ha't!

When in your motion you are hot and dry –
motion (n.) 10 [fencing] attack, execution

As make your bouts more violent to that end –
bout (n.) 1 fight, round, contest

And that he calls for drink, I'll have preferred him
prefer (v.) 4 place before, offer, present with

A chalice for the nonce, whereon but sipping,
chalice (n.) 2 ceremonial cup, drinking-cup
nonce, for the for that purpose, for the occasion

If he by chance escape your venomed stuck,
stuck (n.) [fencing] thrust, lunge
venomed (adj.) poisoned, venomous

Our purpose may hold there. – But stay, what noise?
hold (v.) 3 stand firm, continue, carry on
purpose (n.) 1 intention, aim, plan See Topics: Frequency count

Enter the Queen

How, sweet Queen!


One woe doth tread upon another's heel,

So fast they follow. Your sister's drowned, Laertes.


Drowned! O, where?


There is a willow grows askant the brook,
askant, askaunt (prep.) aslant, across

That shows his hoar leaves in the glassy stream.
hoar (adj.) 1 grey-white, hoary

Therewith fantastic garlands did she make
fantastic (adj.) 1 extravagant, fanciful, ingenious

Of crowflowers, nettles, daisies, and long purples,

That liberal shepherds give a grosser name,
gross (adj.) 7 coarse, vulgar, unrefined
liberal (adj.) 2 coarse, licentious, promiscuous

But our cold maids do dead-men's-fingers call them.
cold (adj.) 1 chaste, modest, lacking sensual passion

There on the pendent boughs her crownet weeds
crownet (adj.) wreathed, entwined, garlanded
pendent (adj.) 1 downhanging, drooping, dangling

Clambering to hang, an envious sliver broke,
envious (adj.) malicious, spiteful, vindictive, full of enmity See Topics: Frequency count
sliver (n.) [split piece of] branch, bough, limb

When down her weedy trophies and herself
weedy (adj.) made of weeds

Fell in the weeping brook. Her clothes spread wide,

And mermaid-like awhile they bore her up;

Which time she chanted snatches of old tunes,
laud (n.) 2 song of praise, hymn

As one incapable of her own distress,
incapable (adj.) insensible, unconscious, incomprehending

Or like a creature native and indued
indued, endued (adj.) endowed, supplied [with appropriate qualities]

Unto that element. But long it could not be
unto (prep.) 2 in relation to

Till that her garments, heavy with their drink,

Pulled the poor wretch from her melodious lay
lay (n.) 1 song

To muddy death.


                         Alas, then she is drowned?


Drowned, drowned.


Too much of water hast thou, poor Ophelia,

And therefore I forbid my tears. But yet

It is our trick. Nature her custom holds,
custom (n.) 1 habit, usual practice, customary usage
trick (n.) 1 habit, characteristic, typical behaviour

Let shame say what it will. When these are gone,

The woman will be out. Adieu, my lord.

I have a speech o' fire that fain would blaze,
fain (adv.) gladly, willingly See Topics: Frequency count

But that this folly drowns it.

dout (v.) put out, extinguish


                         Let's follow, Gertrude.

How much I had to do to calm his rage!

Now fear I this will give it start again.

Therefore let's follow.


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