Act I
Act II
Act IV
Act V
Enter Fortinbras with his army over the stage


Go, captain, from me greet the Danish King.

Tell him that by his licence Fortinbras

Craves the conveyance of a promised march
conveyance (n.) 2 escort, conduct, convoy
crave (v.) 1 beg, entreat, request See Topics: Frequency count
promised (adj.) previously agreed

Over his kingdom. You know the rendezvous.

If that his majesty would aught with us,
aught (n.) anything, [with negative word] nothing See Topics: Frequency count

We shall express our duty in his eye.
eye, in his in front of him, in his presence

And let him know so.


                         I will do't, my lord.


Go softly on.
softly (adv.) slowly, gently

Exeunt all but the Captain

Enter Hamlet, Rosencrantz, Guildenstern, and



Good sir, whose powers are these?
power (n.) 1 armed force, troops, host, army See Topics: Frequency count


They are of Norway, sir.


How purposed, sir, I pray you?
purpose (v.) 1 intend, plan


Against some part of Poland.


Who commands them, sir?


The nephew to old Norway, Fortinbras.


Goes it against the main of Poland, sir,
main (n.) 3 central part, chief part

Or for some frontier?
frontier (n.) 3 border fortress, frontier town


Truly to speak, and with no addition,
addition (n.) 5 exaggeration, overstatement

We go to gain a little patch of ground

That hath in it no profit but the name.
name (n.) 1 reputation, fame, renown

To pay five ducats, five, I would not farm it;
farm (v.) lease out, rent out, let

Nor will it yield to Norway or the Pole

A ranker rate, should it be sold in fee.
fee, in in absolute possession, as freehold
rank (adj.) 1 growing in abundance, excessively luxuriant [often unattractively]
rank (adj.) 9 high, good, great


Why, then the Polack never will defend it.
Polack (n.) Poles, Polish people


Yes, it is already garrisoned.


Two thousand souls and twenty thousand ducats

Will not debate the question of this straw.
debate (v.) 2 decide [by debate], resolve
straw (n.) trivial matter, trifle

This is th' imposthume of much wealth and peace,
imposthume (n.) abscess, putrid swelling
wealth (n.) well-being, welfare, prosperity

That inward breaks, and shows no cause without
break (v.) 9 burst, rupture
inward (adv.) internally, inside
without (adv.) externally, on the outside

Why the man dies. I humbly thank you, sir.


God bye you, sir.



                         Will't please you go, my lord?


I'll be with you straight. Go a little before.
straight (adv.) straightaway, immediately, at once See Topics: Frequency count

Exeunt all but Hamlet

How all occasions do inform against me
inform (v.) 2 provide evidence, bring a charge

And spur my dull revenge! What is a man,
dull (adj.) 1 dead, lifeless, sluggish, inactive

If his chief good and market of his time
market (n.) 2 marketing [i.e. profitable use]

Be but to sleep and feed? A beast, no more.

Sure He that made us with such large discourse,
discourse (n.) 2 rationality, faculty of understanding

Looking before and after, gave us not

That capability and godlike reason

To fust in us unused. Now, whether it be
fust (v.) become musty, grow mouldy

Bestial oblivion, or some craven scruple
craven (adj.) cowardly, spineless, weak-hearted
oblivion (n.) forgetfulness, inability to recall
scruple (n.) 3 scrupulousness, introspective doubt

Of thinking too precisely on th' event –
event (n.) outcome, issue, consequence

A thought which, quartered, hath but one part wisdom

And ever three parts coward – I do not know

Why yet I live to say ‘ This thing's to do,’

Sith I have cause, and will, and strength, and means

To do't. Examples gross as earth exhort me.
gross (adj.) 5 heavy, weighty, bulky

Witness this army of such mass and charge,
charge (n.) 7 expense, cost, outlay
mass (n.) 1 size, numbers, large amount

Led by a delicate and tender prince,
delicate (adj.) 6 sensitive, tender, not robust

Whose spirit, with divine ambition puffed,
puffed (adj.) 1 increased, extended, stuffed

Makes mouths at the invisible event,
event (n.) outcome, issue, consequence
invisible (adj.) unforseeable, unseeable, hidden
mouths, make make faces, grimace, show scorn

Exposing what is mortal and unsure

To all that fortune, death, and danger dare,
dare (v.) 2 present, deliver, inflict

Even for an eggshell. Rightly to be great
eggshell (n.) something worthless

Is not to stir without great argument,
argument (n.) 8 cause, reason [for a dispute]

But greatly to find quarrel in a straw
greatly (adv.) nobly, honourably
quarrel (n.) cause of complaint, reason for hostility, difference, claim

When honour's at the stake. How stand I then,

That have a father killed, a mother stained,
stain (v.) 1 corrupt, spoil, taint

Excitements of my reason and my blood,
blood (n.) 1 passion, feeling, strong emotion [especially sexual]
excitement (n.) incentive, encouragement, exhortation
reason (n.) 1 power of reason, judgement, common-sense [often opposed to ‘passion’]

And let all sleep, while to my shame I see

The imminent death of twenty thousand men

That for a fantasy and trick of fame
trick (n.) 6 bauble, trifle, whim

Go to their graves like beds, fight for a plot

Whereon the numbers cannot try the cause,
try (v.) 3 contest, decide, fight out

Which is not tomb enough and continent
continent (n.) 2 container, receptacle, enclosure

To hide the slain? O, from this time forth,

My thoughts be bloody, or be nothing worth!


  Previous scene     Next scene