Act I
Act II
Act IV
Act V
Enter the King and Queen, Polonius, Ophelia, Rosencrantz,

Guildenstern, and lords


And can you by no drift of conference
conference (n.) 1 conversation, talk, discourse
drift (n.) 2 direction, progress, course

Get from him why he puts on this confusion,
confusion (n.) 3 disturbance, distraction, agitation [of the mind]

Grating so harshly all his days of quiet
grate (v.) 1 harass, irritate, aggravate

With turbulent and dangerous lunacy?


He does confess he feels himself distracted,
distracted (adj.) 1 perplexed, confused, agitated

But from what cause 'a will by no means speak.


Nor do we find him forward to be sounded,
forward (adj.) 1 ready, eager, inclined
sound (v.) 1 sound out, question, examine

But with a crafty madness keeps aloof
crafty (adj.) 1 cunning, devious, wily

When we would bring him on to some confession

Of his true state.


                         Did he receive you well?


Most like a gentleman.


But with much forcing of his disposition.
disposition (n.) 3 inclination, mood, frame of mind


Niggard of question, but of our demands
niggard (adj.) 2 grudging, reluctant, unwilling
question (n.) 6 conversation, discourse, piece of talk

Most free in his reply.
assay (v.) 3 challenge, tempt, win over


                         Did you assay him

To any pastime?


Madam, it so fell out that certain players

We o'er-raught on the way. Of these we told him,
overreach, over-reach (v.), past form overraught 2 overtake, come up with, pass by

And there did seem in him a kind of joy

To hear of it. They are here about the court,

And, as I think, they have already order

This night to play before him.


                         'Tis most true,

And he beseeched me to entreat your majesties

To hear and see the matter.


With all my heart, and it doth much content me
content (v.) 1 please, gratify, delight, satisfy

To hear him so inclined.

Good gentlemen, give him a further edge
edge (n.) 3 stimulus, push, incentive

And drive his purpose into these delights.
purpose (n.) 1 intention, aim, plan See Topics: Frequency count


We shall, my lord.

Exeunt Rosencrantz, Guildenstern, and lords


                         Sweet Gertrude, leave us too.

For we have closely sent for Hamlet hither,
closely (adv.) 1 secretly, covertly, privately

That he, as 'twere by accident, may here

Affront Ophelia.
affront (v.) 1 come face to face with, meet, confront

Her father and myself, lawful espials,
espial (n.) spy, watcher, observer
lawful (adj.) excusable, allowable, justifiable

We'll so bestow ourselves that, seeing unseen,
bestow (v.) 5 place, locate, position

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.


                         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
wildness (n.) madness, distraction, frenzy

Will bring him to his wonted way again,
wonted (adj.) accustomed, usual, customary

To both your honours.


                         Madam, I wish it may.

Exit the Queen
honour (n.) 2 credit, good name, reputation


Ophelia, walk you here. – Gracious, so please you,

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

That show of such an exercise may colour
colour (v.) 2 explain, make plausible, excuse
exercise (n.) 4 religious practice, spiritual observance

Your loneliness. We are oft to blame in this,
loneliness (n.) being alone, solitariness
oft (adv.) often See Topics: Frequency count

'Tis too much proved, that with devotion's visage
prove (v.) 2 find, establish, experience
visage (n.) 2 outward appearance, aspect, air

And pious action we do sugar o'er
action (n.) 7 performance, exercises, acts

The devil himself.


                         O, 'tis too true.

(aside) How smart a lash that speech doth give my conscience!

The harlot's cheek, beautied with plastering art,
beauty (v.) beautify, embellish, adorn

Is not more ugly to the thing that helps it

Than is my deed to my most painted word.
painted (adj.) 3 feigned, counterfeit, disguised

O, heavy burden!
heavy (adj.) 2 grave, serious, weighty


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

Exeunt the King and Polonius

Enter Hamlet
be (v.) 1 be alive, live


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
outrageous (adj.) 2 temperamental, capricious, volatile

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 (n.) 1 fitting end, crowning fulfilment [of life]

Devoutly to be wished. To die, to sleep –

To sleep – perchance to dream. Ay, there's the rub.
perchance (adv.) 1 perhaps, maybe See Topics: Frequency count
rub (n.) 1 [bowls] obstacle, impediment, hindrance

For in that sleep of death what dreams may come

When we have shuffled off this mortal coil
coil (n.) turmoil, disturbance, fuss
mortal (adj.) 2 human, subject to death, characterized by mortality

Must give us pause. There's the respect
pause (n.) hesitation, delay
respect (n.) 1 consideration, factor, circumstance

That makes calamity of so long life.

For who would bear the whips and scorns of time,
scorn (n.) 1 mockery, taunt, insult, act of derision
time (n.) 1 (the) world, (the) age, society

Th' oppressor's wrong, the proud man's contumely,
contumely (n.) scorn, insult, abuse

The pangs of despised love, the law's delay,
disprized (adj.) unvalued, held in contempt, disparaged

The insolence of office, and the spurns
office (n.) 3 officialdom, people who hold office
spurn (n.) 1 contemptuous treatment, scornful rejection

That patient merit of th' unworthy takes,
merit (n.) 4 deserving person, righteous individual

When he himself might his quietus make
quietus (n.) discharge, clearing of accounts, release

With a bare bodkin? Who would fardels bear,
bare (adj.) 1 mere, simple
bodkin (n.) 1 dagger [or other pointed weapon]
fardel (n.) burden, load, bundle

To grunt and sweat under a weary life,

But that the dread of something after death,

The undiscovered country, from whose bourn
bourn (n.) 1 frontier, destination, boundary

No traveller returns, puzzles the will,
puzzle (v.) 1 bewilder, perplex, baffle

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 (n.) 1 internal reflection, inner voice, inmost thought

And thus the native hue of resolution

Is sicklied o'er with the pale cast of thought,
cast (n.) 3 tinge, shade, hue
sickly over (v.) cover with a sickly hue, make pallid
thought (n.) 2 melancholic reflection, anxiety, sorrow, worry

And enterprises of great pitch and moment
moment (n.) 1 importance, weight, consequence
pitch (n.) 2 height, elevation, high aspiration
pith (n.) 3 importance, weight, gravity

With this regard their currents turn awry
regard (n.) 2 consideration, respect, factor

And lose the name of action. Soft you now,
soft (adv.) 1 [used as a command] not so fast, wait a moment See Topics: Attention signals

The fair Ophelia! – Nymph, in thy orisons
orison (n.) prayer, plea

Be all my sins remembered.


                         Good my lord,

How does your honour for this many a day?
many a day, for this during these past few days


I humbly thank you, well, well, well.


My lord, I have remembrances of yours
remembrance (n.) 4 love-token, keepsake, memento

That I have longed long to re-deliver.

I pray you now receive them.


                         No, not I.

I never gave you aught.
aught (n.) anything, [with negative word] nothing See Topics: Frequency count


My honoured 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.


Ha, ha! Are you honest?
honest (adj.) 1 chaste, pure, virtuous


My lord?


Are you fair?


What means your lordship?


That if you be honest and fair, your honesty

should admit no discourse to your beauty.
admit (v.) 1 permit, allow, grant


Could beauty, my lord, have better commerce
commerce (n.) dealings, transactions, intercourse

than with honesty?


Ay, truly. For the power of beauty will sooner

transform honesty from what it is to a bawd than the
bawd (n.) pimp, procurer, pander, go-between See Topics: Frequency count

force of honesty can translate beauty into his likeness.
translate (v.) 1 transform, change, alter

This was sometime a paradox, but now the time gives it
paradox (n.) statement going against accepted belief, absurdity
sometime (adv.) 1 formerly, at one time, once
time (n.) 2 times, present day, present state of affairs

proof. I did love you once.


Indeed, my lord, you made me believe so.


You should not have believed me. For virtue

cannot so inoculate our old stock but we shall relish of
inoculate (v.) engraft, graft into
relish (v.) 1 have a flavour [of], taste, savour

it. I loved you not.


I was the more deceived.


Get thee to a nunnery. Why wouldst thou be a

breeder of sinners? I am myself indifferent honest, but
honest (adj.) 2 honourable, respectable, upright
indifferent (adv.) 1 moderately, tolerably, reasonably

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
beck (n.) 1 beckoning, command, call

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
arrant (adj.) downright, absolute, unmitigated See Topics: Frequency count
ways, go thy / your 1 get along, be off See Topics: Discourse markers

nunnery. Where's your father?


At home, my lord.


Let the doors be shut upon him, that he may

play the fool nowhere but in's own house. Farewell.


O, help him, you sweet heavens!


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
monster (n.) 2 cuckold, victim of adultery

make of them. To a nunnery, go, and quickly too.



O heavenly powers, restore him!
power (n.) 9 (usually plural) gods, deities, divinities


I have heard of your paintings too, well enough.
painting (n.) 1 cosmetics, paint [for the face], beautifying

God has given you one face, and you make yourselves

another. You jig and amble, and you lisp. You nickname
amble (v.) walk in an unnatural way
jig (v.) move jerkily [as in a jig]
lisp (v.) 1 talk in an affected way, speak with affectation
nickname (v.) invent names for, misname

God's creatures and make your wantonness your
wantonness (n.) 1 foolish behaviour, caprice, whims

ignorance. Go to, I'll no more on't. It hath made me

mad. I say we will have no more marriage. Those that

are married already – all but one – shall live. The rest

shall keep as they are. To a nunnery, go.



O, 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,
expectancy (n.) expectation, hope for the future, source of hope

The glass of fashion and the mould of form,
form (n.) 5 way of behaving, behaviour, code of conduct
glass (n.) 1 mirror, looking-glass See Topics: Frequency count
mould (n.) 3 model, pattern, paradigm

Th' observed of all observers, quite, quite down!
observed (n.) one demanding respect, deserving of honour

And I, of ladies most deject and wretched,
deject (adj.) dejected, downcast, cast down

That sucked the honey of his music vows,

Now see that noble and most sovereign reason

Like sweet bells jangled, out of time and harsh,

That unmatched form and feature of blown youth
blown (adj.) 1 in full flower, in its bloom
feature (n.) physical appearance, bodily shape, looks

Blasted with ecstasy. O, woe is me
blast (v.) 1 blight, wither, destroy
ecstasy (n.) 2 madness, lunacy
woe (adj.) sorry, sorrowful, sad See Topics: Regrets

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

Enter the King and Polonius
affection (n.) 1 fancy, inclination, desire


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,
brood, on brooding, moping

And I do doubt the hatch and the disclose
disclose (n.) disclosure, bringing into public view
doubt (v.) 1 fear, be afraid [for], feel anxious [for]
hatch (n.) 1 hatching [as from an egg]

Will be some danger; which for to prevent,

I have in quick determination
determination (n.) 1 mind, decision, resolution

Thus set it down: he shall with speed to England
set down (v.) 1 resolve, decide, determine

For the demand of our neglected tribute.

Haply the seas, and countries different,
haply (adv.) perhaps, maybe, by chance, with luck See Topics: Frequency count

With variable objects, shall expel
object (n.) 1 spectacle, sight, object of attention
variable (adj.) varied, diverse, different

This something-settled matter in his heart,

Whereon his brains still beating puts him thus
beat (v.) 1 hammer away, ponder furiously
still (adv.) 1 constantly, always, continually See Topics: Frequency count

From fashion of himself. What think you on't?
fashion (n.) 2 conventional behaviour, conformity, customary use


It shall do well. But yet do I believe

The origin and commencement of his grief
grief (n.) 1 grievance, complaint, hurt, injury

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,
round (adj.) 1 blunt, forthright, straight, plain-spoken

And I'll be placed, so please you, in the ear
ear, in the within earshot

Of all their conference. If she find him not,
conference (n.) 1 conversation, talk, discourse
find (v.) 4 find the truth about, discover the reason for

To England send him, or confine him where

Your wisdom best shall think.


                         It shall be so.

Madness in great ones must not unwatched go.


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