Act I
Act II
Act IV
Act V
Enter the Queen and Polonius
lay home talk severely, rebuke, berate
straight (adv.) straightaway, immediately, at once See Topics: Frequency count


'A will come straight. Look you lay home to him.

Tell him his pranks have been too broad to bear with,
broad (adj.) 2 unrestrained, free, boisterous
prank (n.) 1 outrageous deed, excessive behaviour

And that your grace hath screened and stood between

Much heat and him. I'll silence me even here.
heat (n.) 1 anger, rage, passion

Pray you be round with him.
round (adj.) 1 blunt, forthright, straight, plain-spoken



Mother, mother, mother!


I'll warrant you. Fear me not. Withdraw. I hear
fear (v.) 3 doubt, mistrust
warrant (v.) 1 assure, promise, guarantee, confirm See Topics: Frequency count

him coming.

Polonius hides behind the arras

Enter Hamlet


Now, mother, what's the matter?


Hamlet, thou hast thy father much offended.
father (n.) 2 stepfather See Topics: Family


Mother, you have my father much offended.


Come, come, you answer with an idle tongue.
idle (adj.) 2 mad, crazy, lunatic


Go, go, you question with a wicked tongue.


Why, how now, Hamlet?


                         What's the matter now?


Have you forgot me?


                         No, by the Rood, not so!

You are the Queen, your husband's brother's wife,

And, would it were not so, you are my mother.


Nay, then I'll set those to you that can speak.
set (v.) 3 direct, put, make come


Come, come, and sit you down. You shall not budge.

You go not till I set you up a glass
glass (n.) 1 mirror, looking-glass See Topics: Frequency count

Where you may see the inmost part of you.


What wilt thou do? Thou wilt not murder me?

Help, ho!



What, ho! Help!


(drawing his sword)

How now? A rat? Dead for a ducat, dead!

He makes a thrust through the arras and kills Polonius


O, I am slain!


                         O me, what hast thou done?


Nay, I know not. Is it the King?


O, what a rash and bloody deed is this!


A bloody deed – almost as bad, good mother,

As kill a king and marry with his brother.


As kill a king!


                         Ay, lady, it was my word.

He sees Polonius

Thou wretched, rash, intruding fool, farewell!

I took thee for thy better. Take thy fortune.

Thou findest to be too busy is some danger. –
busy (adj.) 2 interfering, meddlesome, busy-bodying

Leave wringing of your hands. Peace, sit you down,

And let me wring your heart. For so I shall,

If it be made of penetrable stuff,
penetrable (adj.) 1 receptive, susceptible, capable of being affected

If damned custom have not brassed it so
brass, braze (v.) harden (like brass)
custom (n.) 1 habit, usual practice, customary usage

That it be proof and bulwark against sense.
proof (adj.) 1 impenetrable, impervious, sound
sense (n.) 3 feeling, sensibility, capacity to feel


What have I done that thou darest wag thy tongue
wag (v.) 3 move, stir, rouse

In noise so rude against me?
rude (adj.) 1 violent, harsh, unkind


                         Such an act

That blurs the grace and blush of modesty;

Calls virtue hypocrite; takes off the rose

From the fair forehead of an innocent love

And sets a blister there; makes marriage vows
blister (n.) burn-mark

As false as dicers' oaths; O, such a deed
false (adj.) 2 disloyal, faithless, inconstant, unfaithful

As from the body of contraction plucks
contraction (n.) marriage contract, betrothal

The very soul, and sweet religion makes

A rhapsody of words! Heaven's face does glow,
glow (v.) blush, redden, flush
rhapsody (n.) string, miscellany, meaningless heap

Yea, this solidity and compound mass,
compound (adj.) composed of the elements
solidity (n.) solid body [i.e. the Earth]

With tristful visage, as against the Doom,
doom (n.) 3 doomsday, day of judgement
tristful (adj.) sad, sorrowful, dismal
visage (n.) 2 outward appearance, aspect, air

Is thought-sick at the act.
thought-sick (adj.) filled with dread, horror-struck


                         Ay me, what act,

That roars so loud and thunders in the index?
index (n.) prologue, preface, table of contents


Look here upon this picture, and on this,

The counterfeit presentment of two brothers.
counterfeit (adj.) 2 painted, portrayed, rendered
presentment (n.) 1 picture, portrait, depiction

See what a grace was seated on this brow:
brow (n.) 4 forehead [often plural, referring to the two prominences of the forehead]

Hyperion's curls, the front of Jove himself,
front (n.) 1 forehead, face

An eye like Mars, to threaten and command,

A station like the herald Mercury
station (n.) 1 stance, bearing, posture

New lighted on a heaven-kissing hill –
light (v.) 1 alight, descend, fall, come to rest
new (adv.) 1 newly, freshly, recently, just

A combination and a form indeed
combination (n.) alliance, league, treaty

Where every god did seem to set his seal

To give the world assurance of a man.
assurance (n.) 2 confirmation, pledge, guarantee

This was your husband. Look you now what follows.

Here is your husband; like a mildewed ear,

Blasting his wholesome brother. Have you eyes?
blast (v.) 1 blight, wither, destroy
wholesome (adj.) 3 sound, firm, in good condition

Could you on this fair mountain leave to feed,
leave (v.) 1 cease, stop, give up

And batten on this moor? Ha! Have you eyes?
batten (v.) glut oneself, grow fat on

You cannot call it love. For at your age

The heyday in the blood is tame; it's humble,
blood (n.) 1 passion, feeling, strong emotion [especially sexual]
heyday (n.) excited state, youthful wildness

And waits upon the judgement; and what judgement
wait on / upon (v.) 6 follow, obey, pay attention to

Would step from this to this? Sense sure you have,
sense (n.) 2 ability to respond to sensation, physical perception

Else could you not have motion. But sure that sense

Is apoplexed. For madness would not err,
apoplexed (adj.) paralysed, benumbed

Nor sense to ecstasy was ne'er so thralled
ecstasy (n.) 2 madness, lunacy
thralled (adj.) enslaved, imprisoned, held in bondage

But it reserved some quantity of choice
quantity (n.) 1 fragment, little piece, tiny amount
reserve (v.) preserve, retain, keep

To serve in such a difference. What devil was't
serve (v.) 4 be of use, render service, be an advantage [to]

That thus hath cozened you at hoodman-blind?
cozen (v.) cheat, dupe, trick, deceive
hoodman-blind (n.) blind-man's buff

Eyes without feeling, feeling without sight,

Ears without hands or eyes, smelling sans all,
sans (prep.) without

Or but a sickly part of one true sense

Could not so mope.
mope (v.) act aimlessly, be in a daze, wander about

O shame, where is thy blush? Rebellious hell,

If thou canst mutine in a matron's bones,
mutine (v.) rebel, revolt, mutiny

To flaming youth let virtue be as wax

And melt in her own fire. Proclaim no shame

When the compulsive ardour gives the charge,
charge (n.) 1 command, order, injunction, instruction
compulsive (adj.) driving onward, forcing forward

Since frost itself as actively doth burn,

And reason panders will.
pander (v.) gratify, act as a sexual go-between for
reason (n.) 1 power of reason, judgement, common-sense [often opposed to ‘passion’]
will (n.) 2 lust, sexual desire, passion


                         O Hamlet, speak no more.

Thou turnest mine eyes into my very soul,

And there I see such black and grained spots
grained (adj.) 3 ingrained, indelible, fast-dyed

As will not leave their tinct.
tinct (n.) 1 colour, hue, tint


                         Nay, but to live

In the rank sweat of an enseamed bed,
enseamed (adj.) greasy, slimy
rank (adj.) 2 foul-smelling, stinking

Stewed in corruption, honeying and making love
stew (v.) soak, steep, saturate

Over the nasty sty –


                         O, speak to me no more.

These words like daggers enter in mine ears.

No more, sweet Hamlet.


                         A murderer and a villain,

A slave that is not twentieth part the tithe
tithe (n.) tenth part

Of your precedent lord, a vice of kings,
precedent (adj.) former, previous, prior
vice (n.) 1 (usually capitalized) buffoon, stage jester See Topics: Contemporary figures, factual and fictitious

A cutpurse of the empire and the rule,
cutpurse (n.) pickpocket, thief, robber

That from a shelf the precious diadem stole

And put it in his pocket –


                         No more.


A king of shreds and patches –

(Enter the Ghost)

Save me and hover o'er me with your wings,

You heavenly guards! – What would your gracious figure?


Alas, he's mad.


Do you not come your tardy son to chide,
chide (v.), past form chid 1 scold, rebuke, reprove See Topics: Frequency count

That, lapsed in time and passion, lets go by

Th' important acting of your dread command?
dread (adj.) 1 revered, deeply honoured, held in awe
important (adj.) urgent, pressing, demanding, importunate

O, say!


Do not forget. This visitation

Is but to whet thy almost blunted purpose.
purpose (n.) 1 intention, aim, plan See Topics: Frequency count

But look, amazement on thy mother sits.
amazement (n.) 2 bewilderment, perplexity, distraction

O, step between her and her fighting soul!

Conceit in weakest bodies strongest works.
conceit (n.) 1 imagination, fancy, wit

Speak to her, Hamlet.


                         How is it with you, lady?


Alas, how is't with you,

That you do bend your eye on vacancy,
bend (v.) 1 aim, direct, level, turn
vacancy (n.) 1 empty space, nothingness

And with th' incorporal air do hold discourse?
incorporal (adj.) incorporeal, insubstantial, immaterial

Forth at your eyes your spirits wildly peep,

And, as the sleeping soldiers in th' alarm,

Your bedded hair like life in excrements,
bedded (adj.) 1 smooth-lying, laid flat
excrement (n.) outgrowth [of hair]

Start up and stand an end. O gentle son,
gentle (adj.) 1 well-born, honourable, noble See Topics: Frequency count

Upon the heat and flame of thy distemper
distemper (n.) 1 malady, illness, derangement

Sprinkle cool patience. Whereon do you look?


On him, on him! Look you, how pale he glares!

His form and cause conjoined, preaching to stones,
conjoin (v.) 1 unite, join together
form (n.) 8 physical appearance, outward appearance

Would make them capable. – Do not look upon me,
capable (adj.) 1 sensitive, receptive, responsive

Lest with this piteous action you convert
action (n.) 8 movement, demeanour, gesture
convert (v.) change, transform, alter
piteous (adj.) full of pity, compassionate, tender

My stern effects. Then what I have to do
effect (n.) 2 purpose, end, intended deed

Will want true colour – tears perchance for blood.
colour (n.) 3 semblance, outward appearance, character
perchance (adv.) 1 perhaps, maybe See Topics: Frequency count
want (v.) 1 lack, need, be without See Topics: Frequency count


To whom do you speak this?


                         Do you see nothing there?


Nothing at all. Yet all that is I see.


Nor did you nothing hear?


                         No, nothing but ourselves.


Why, look you there! Look how it steals away!

My father, in his habit as he lived!
habit (n.) 1 dress, clothing, costume See Topics: Frequency count

Look where he goes, even now, out at the portal!
portal (n.) door, doorway, gateway

Exit the Ghost


This is the very coinage of your brain.
coinage (n.) 1 invention, fabrication, concoction

This bodiless creation ecstasy
ecstasy (n.) 2 madness, lunacy

Is very cunning in.
cunning (adj.) 1 knowledgeable, skilful, clever



My pulse as yours doth temperately keep time
temperately (adv.) steadily, calmly, moderately

And makes as healthful music. It is not madness
healthful (adj.) healthy, wholesome, fit [in health]

That I have uttered. Bring me to the test,

And I the matter will re-word, which madness
reword, re-word (v.) 1 repeat, reiterate, put into words again

Would gambol from. Mother, for love of grace,
gambol (v.) shy away, leap away

Lay not that flattering unction to your soul,
lay (v.) 1 apply, place, put
unction (n.) 2 balm, salve, soothing ointment

That not your trespass but my madness speaks.

It will but skin and film the ulcerous place
film (v.) film over, cover up
skin (v.) cover up, cover with skin

Whiles rank corruption, mining all within,
mine (v.) undermine, sap, subvert
rank (adj.) 2 foul-smelling, stinking

Infects unseen. Confess yourself to heaven.

Repent what's past. Avoid what is to come;

And do not spread the compost on the weeds

To make them ranker. Forgive me this my virtue.
rank (adj.) 1 growing in abundance, excessively luxuriant [often unattractively]

For in the fatness of these pursy times
fatness (n.) grossness, bloatedness
pursy (adj.) 1 flabby, puffed-up, swollen

Virtue itself of vice must pardon beg,

Yea, curb and woo for leave to do him good.
curb (v.) 1 bow, bend, stoop


O Hamlet, thou hast cleft my heart in twain.
twain (n.) two See Topics: Numbers


O, throw away the worser part of it,

And live the purer with the other half.

Good night. But go not to my uncle's bed.

Assume a virtue, if you have it not.
assume (v.) 1 acquire, adopt, take on

That monster custom, who all sense doth eat,
custom (n.) 1 habit, usual practice, customary usage
sense (n.) 3 feeling, sensibility, capacity to feel

Of habits devil, is angel yet in this,
habit (n.) 3 behaviour, bearing, demeanour

That to the use of actions fair and good
use (n.) 1 usual practice, habit, custom

He likewise gives a frock or livery
frock (n.) dress, gown, costume See Topics: Clothing
livery (n.) 1 uniform, costume, special clothing See Topics: Frequency count

That aptly is put on. Refrain tonight,
aptly (adv.) easily, readily

And that shall lend a kind of easiness

To the next abstinence; the next more easy;

For use almost can change the stamp of nature,
nature (n.) 5 personality, innate disposition, character
stamp (n.) 1 impression, mark, imprint
use (n.) 1 usual practice, habit, custom

And either master the devil or throw him out

With wondrous potency. Once more, good night.

And when you are desirous to be blest,

I'll blessing beg of you. For this same lord,

I do repent. But heaven hath pleased it so,

To punish me with this, and this with me,

That I must be their scourge and minister.

I will bestow him and will answer well
answer (v.) 14 account for, justify, defend
bestow (v.) 6 stow away, dispose of

The death I gave him. So again good night.

I must be cruel only to be kind.

Thus bad begins, and worse remains behind.

One word more, good lady.


                         What shall I do?


Not this, by no means, that I bid you do:

Let the bloat King tempt you again to bed,
bloat (adj.) bloated, flabby, swollen [with excess]

Pinch wanton on your cheek, call you his mouse,
wanton (adv.) lasciviously, lewdly

And let him, for a pair of reechy kisses,
pair of, a a few, two or three
reechy (adj.) 1 dirty, filthy, squalid

Or paddling in your neck with his damned fingers,
paddle (v.) toy [with], play wantonly [with], fondle

Make you to ravel all this matter out,
ravel out (v.) unravel, disentangle, make clear

That I essentially am not in madness,
essentially (adv.) in fact, really, deep down

But mad in craft. 'Twere good you let him know.
craft (n.) 3 cunning, deceit, guile

For who that's but a queen, fair, sober, wise,

Would from a paddock, from a bat, a gib,

Such dear concernings hide? Who would do so?
concerning (n.) concern, affair, matter

No, in despite of sense and secrecy,
sense (n.) 9 intuition, instinct

Unpeg the basket on the house's top.

Let the birds fly, and like the famous ape,

To try conclusions, in the basket creep
conclusions, try experiment, see what happens

And break your own neck down.


Be thou assured, if words be made of breath,

And breath of life, I have no life to breathe

What thou hast said to me.


I must to England. You know that?



I had forgot. 'Tis so concluded on.
conclude (v.) 3 come to terms, reach accord [over]


There's letters sealed, and my two schoolfellows,

Whom I will trust as I will adders fanged,

They bear the mandate. They must sweep my way
mandate (n.) command, order
sweep (v.) 2 prepare, clear [a way]

And marshal me to knavery. Let it work.
knavery (n.) 2 treachery, trap, trickery
marshal (v.) conduct, lead, steer
work (v.), past form wrought 4 happen, proceed, come about

For 'tis the sport to have the enginer
engineer, enginer (n.) constructor of military works; plotter, contriver
sport (n.) 1 recreation, amusement, entertainment See Topics: Frequency count

Hoist with his own petar; and't shall go hard
hard (adv.) 3 badly, poorly, ill
petar (n.) bomb, explosive

But I will delve one yard below their mines

And blow them at the moon. O, 'tis most sweet

When in one line two crafts directly meet.
craft (n.) 2 skilful activity, cunning plan

This man shall set me packing.
pack (v.) 2 plot, scheme, intrigue

I'll lug the guts into the neighbour room.

Mother, good night. Indeed, this counsellor

Is now most still, most secret, and most grave,

Who was in life a foolish prating knave.
knave (n.) 3 boy, lad, fellow
prating (adj.) prattling, chattering, blathering

Come, sir, to draw toward an end with you.
draw toward an end conclude business, end the conversation

Good night, mother.

Exeunt Hamlet, tugging in Polonius, and the Queen

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