Act I
Act II
Act IV
Act V
Enter the Queen, Horatio, and a Gentleman


I will not speak with her.


She is importunate, indeed distract.
distract (adj.) 1 deranged, mad, mentally disturbed
importunate (adj.) persistent, pressing, insistent

Her mood will needs be pitied.
mood (n.) 2 frame of mind, mental state


                         What would she have?


She speaks much of her father; says she hears

There's tricks i'th' world, and hems, and beats her heart,
hem (v.) 2 make a noise like ‘hmm’ or ‘ahem’ See Topics: Sounds

Spurns enviously at straws, speaks things in doubt
doubt, in without clear meaning, ambiguous
enviously (adv.) spitefully, maliciously, vindictively
spurn against / at (v.) kick out at, treat with contempt
straw (n.) trivial matter, trifle

That carry but half sense. Her speech is nothing.
nothing (n.) 2 nonsense, emptiness, rubbish

Yet the unshaped use of it doth move
unshaped (adj.) uncontrolled, poorly formed

The hearers to collection. They aim at it,
aim (v.) guess, conjecture, surmise
collection (n.) 1 deduction, inference, gathering of meaning
yawn (v.) open wide, gape

And botch the words up fit to their own thoughts,
botch (v.) clumsily patch together, fumble with
fit (adj.) 1 suited, fitting, appropriate

Which, as her winks and nods and gestures yield them,
yield (v.) 8 communicate, deliver, represent

Indeed would make one think there might be thought,

Though nothing sure, yet much unhappily.
nothing (n.) 5 no point, no particular
sure (adj.) 1 certain, definite, reliable
unhappily (adv.) 3 uncomfortably near the truth


'Twere good she were spoken with, for she may strew

Dangerous conjectures in ill-breeding minds.
conjecture (n.) 3 suspicion, misgiving, evil doubt
ill-breeding (adj.) mischief-making, discontented


Let her come in.

Exit the Gentleman

(aside) To my sick soul, as sin's true nature is,

Each toy seems prologue to some great amiss.
amiss (n.) 1 misfortune, calamity, adversity
toy (n.) 1 whim, caprice, trifling matter

So full of artless jealousy is guilt
artless (adj.) uncontrolled, unskilful
jealousy (n.) 1 suspicion, mistrust, apprehension

It spills itself in fearing to be spilt.
spill (v.) destroy, overthrow

Enter Ophelia


Where is the beauteous majesty of Denmark?


How now, Ophelia?



How should I your true-love know

From another one?

By his cockle hat and staff,
cockle hat hat adorned with a cockle shell [symbol of pilgrimage to the shrine of St James of Compostela]

And his sandal shoon.
shoon (n.) [archaism] shoes See Topics: Archaisms


Alas, sweet lady, what imports this song?


Say you? Nay, pray you, mark.
mark (v.) 1 note, pay attention [to], take notice [of] See Topics: Frequency count

(sings) He is dead and gone, lady,

He is dead and gone.

At his head a grass-green turf,

At his heels a stone.

O, ho!


Nay, but, Ophelia –


Pray you, mark.

(sings) White his shroud as the mountain snow, –

Enter the King


Alas, look here, my lord.

OPHELIA (sings)

lard (v.) 1 strew, deck, cover

Larded all with sweet flowers,

Which bewept to the ground did not go
beweep (v.) 2 drowned in tears, wet with tears

With true-love showers.


How do you, pretty lady?


Well, God dild you! They say the owl was a
'ild, 'ield, dild (v.) [form of ‘yield’] reward, repay, requite See Topics: Politeness

baker's daughter. Lord, we know what we are, but know

not what we may be. God be at your table!


Conceit upon her father –
conceit (n.) 2 imagining, brooding, fanciful thinking


Pray let's have no words of this, but when they

ask you what it means, say you this:

(sings) Tomorrow is Saint Valentine's day,

All in the morning betime,
betime (adv.) 1 early, at an early hour

And I a maid at your window

To be your Valentine.

Then up he rose and donned his clothes,

And dupped the chamber door;
dup (v.) [contraction of ‘do up’] open

Let in the maid, that out a maid

Never departed more.


Pretty Ophelia!


Indeed, la, without an oath, I'll make an end


(sings) By Gis and by Saint Charity,

Alack, and fie for shame!

Young men will do't if they come to't.

By Cock, they are to blame.

Quoth she, ‘ Before you tumbled me,
quoth (v.) said See Topics: Frequency count
tumble (v.) 1 have sexual intercourse with

You promised me to wed.’

He answers:

‘So would I ha' done, by yonder sun,

An thou hadst not come to my bed.'


How long hath she been thus?


I hope all will be well. We must be patient. But

I cannot choose but weep to think they would lay him

i'th' cold ground. My brother shall know of it. And so I

thank you for your good counsel. Come, my coach!

Good night, ladies, good night. Sweet ladies, good

night, good night.



Follow her close. Give her good watch, I pray you.
close (adv.) 1 closely, staying near

Exit Horatio

O, this is the poison of deep grief. It springs

All from her father's death – and now behold!

O Gertrude, Gertrude,

When sorrows come, they come not single spies,

But in battalions: first, her father slain;
battalia (n.) large body of troops arrayed for battle, marshalled force

Next, your son gone, and he most violent author
author (n.) 1 creator, originator, instigator

Of his own just remove; the people muddied,
muddied (adj.) 2 stirred up, disturbed, agitated
remove (n.) 3 removal, departure, elimination

Thick and unwholesome in their thoughts and whispers
thick (adj.) 5 confused, clouded [with suspicion]
unwholesome (adj.) 2 corrupted, infected, diseased

For good Polonius' death, and we have done but greenly
greenly (adv.) 2 unskilfully, like an amateur

In hugger-mugger to inter him; poor Ophelia
hugger-mugger, in secretly, stealthily, furtively

Divided from herself and her fair judgement,
judgement (n.) 3 reason, discernment, good sense

Without the which we are pictures or mere beasts;
mere (adj.) 1 complete, total, absolute, utter See Topics: Frequency count

Last, and as much containing as all these,

Her brother is in secret come from France,

Feeds on his wonder, keeps himself in clouds,
clouds, in suspicious, filled with uncertainties
wonder (n.) 7 grief, distress; or: bewilderment

And wants not buzzers to infect his ear
buzzer (n.) rumour-monger, gossiper
want (v.) 1 lack, need, be without See Topics: Frequency count

With pestilent speeches of his father's death,

Wherein necessity, of matter beggared,
beggar (v.) 3 impoverish, exhaust, drain
matter (n.) 1 subject-matter, content, substance

Will nothing stick our person to arraign
arraign (v.) 1 accuse, charge, indict
stick (v.) 7 hesitate, linger, think twice

In ear and ear. O my dear Gertrude, this,

Like to a murdering-piece, in many places
murdering-piece (n.) type of weapon which scatters lethal projectiles See Topics: Weapons

Gives me superfluous death.
superfluous (adj.) 1 extravagant, wasteful, immoderate

A noise within


Alack, what noise is this?


Attend. Where is my Switzers? Let them guard the door.
attend (v.) 7 listen [to], pay attention [to]
Switzer (n.) Swiss guard

Enter a Messenger

What is the matter?


                         Save yourself, my lord.

The ocean, overpeering of his list,
list (n.) 3 boundary, limit, confines
overpeer (v.) 2 rise above, tower over

Eats not the flats with more impiteous haste
flat (n.) 1 low-lying land, plain, swampy ground
impiteous (adj.) impetuous, violent, pitiless

Than young Laertes, in a riotous head,
head (n.) 5 advancing crowd of insurgents, uprising

O'erbears your officers. The rabble call him lord,
officer (n.) 3 (plural) household, servants
overbear (v.) 1 overwhelm, overcome, overpower

And, as the world were now but to begin,
as (conj.) 1 as if

Antiquity forgot, custom not known,
custom (n.) 1 habit, usual practice, customary usage

The ratifiers and props of every word,
word (n.) 3 maxim, saying, adage, motto

They cry ‘ Choose we! Laertes shall be king!’

Caps, hands, and tongues applaud it to the clouds:

‘ Laertes shall be king! Laertes king!’

A noise within
cry (v.) 2 give tongue, cry out
false (adj.) 4 wrong, mistaken


How cheerfully on the false trail they cry!

O, this is counter, you false Danish dogs!
counter, compter (n.) 4 [a term from hunting] taking an opposite path to the prey


The doors are broke.
break (v.) 15 burst open, break through

Enter Laertes with his followers


Where is this King? – Sirs, stand you all without.


No, let's come in.


                         I pray you give me leave.


We will, we will.


I thank you. Keep the door.

Exeunt his followers
keep (v.) 3 guard, watch, tend

                         O thou vile King,

Give me my father.


                         Calmly, good Laertes.


That drop of blood that's calm proclaims me bastard,

Cries cuckold to my father, brands the harlot
cuckold (n.) [mocking name] man with an unfaithful wife See Topics: Frequency count
harlot (n.) prostitute, whore

Even here between the chaste unsmirched brows
brow (n.) 3 eyebrow
unsmirched (adj.) unstained, untainted, spotless

Of my true mother.
true (adj.) 2 constant, faithful in love


                         What is the cause, Laertes,

That thy rebellion looks so giant-like?

Let him go, Gertrude. Do not fear our person.
fear (v.) 2 fear for, worry about, be anxious about

There's such divinity doth hedge a king,
hedge (v.) 3 protect, surround

That treason can but peep to what it would,

Acts little of his will. Tell me, Laertes,
will (n.) 4 intent, purpose, design

Why thou art thus incensed. Let him go, Gertrude.

Speak, man.


Where is my father?




                                                         But not by him.


Let him demand his fill.


How came he dead? I'll not be juggled with.
juggle with (v.) deceive, cheat, trick

To hell allegiance! Vows to the blackest devil!

Conscience and grace to the profoundest pit!

I dare damnation. To this point I stand,

That both the worlds I give to negligence,
negligence (n.) disregard, neglect, indifference

Let come what comes, only I'll be revenged

Most throughly for my father.
throughly (adv.) thoroughly, fully, completely


                         Who shall stay you?


My will, not all the world's.

And for my means, I'll husband them so well

They shall go far with little.


                         Good Laertes,

If you desire to know the certainty
certainty (n.) 1 truth, facts [about]

Of your dear father, is't writ in your revenge

That, swoopstake, you will draw both friend and foe,
draw (v.) 1 bring together, draw in, gather
swoopstake (adv.) indiscriminately [taking all stakes at once]

Winner and loser?


None but his enemies.


                         Will you know them then?


To his good friends thus wide I'll ope my arms
ope (v.) open See Topics: Frequency count

And like the kind life-rendering pelican
kind (adj.) 1 showing natural feeling, acting by nature
life-rendering (adj.) life-giving [to its young], self-sacrificing

Repast them with my blood.
repast (v.) feed, nourish, supply


                         Why, now you speak

Like a good child and a true gentleman.

That I am guiltless of your father's death,

And am most sensibly in grief for it,
sensibly (adv.) 2 acutely, intensely, feelingly

It shall as level to your judgement 'pear
level (adj.) 4 plain, obvious, manifest

As day does to your eye.

A noise within



                         Let her come in.


How now? What noise is that?

Enter Ophelia
heat (n.) 1 anger, rage, passion

O heat, dry up my brains! Tears seven times salt

Burn out the sense and virtue of mine eye!
sense (n.) 2 ability to respond to sensation, physical perception
virtue (n.) 4 power, capability, efficacy, property

By heaven, thy madness shall be paid with weight

Till our scale turn the beam. O rose of May,
beam (n.) 3 cross-bar [on a scales]

Dear maid, kind sister, sweet Ophelia!

O heavens, is't possible a young maid's wits

Should be as mortal as an old man's life?

Nature is fine in love, and where 'tis fine,
fine (adj.) 8 sensitive, responsive, reactive
nature (n.) 3 human nature

It sends some precious instance of itself

After the thing it loves.



They bore him barefaced on the bier,

Hey non nony, nony, hey nony,

And in his grave rained many a tear –

Fare you well, my dove!


Hadst thou thy wits, and didst persuade revenge,
persuade (v.) 1 urge, entreat, beseech

It could not move thus.
move (v.) 1 arouse, affect, stir [by emotion]


You must sing ‘ A-down a-down, and you call

him a-down-a.’ O, how the wheel becomes it! It is the
become (v.) 2 grace, honour, dignify See Topics: Frequency count
wheel (n.) [unclear meaning] song refrain; or: spinning-wheel

false steward, that stole his master's daughter.
false (adj.) 2 disloyal, faithless, inconstant, unfaithful


This nothing's more than matter.
matter (n.) 1 subject-matter, content, substance
nothing (n.) 2 nonsense, emptiness, rubbish


There's rosemary, that's for remembrance.
remembrance (n.) 1 memory, bringing to mind, recollection See Topics: Frequency count

Pray you, love, remember. And there is pansies, that's

for thoughts.


A document in madness: thoughts and
document (n.) lesson, lecture, instruction

remembrance fitted.
fit (v.) 2 belong together, match


There's fennel for you, and columbines. There's

rue for you, and here's some for me. We may call it

herb of grace o' Sundays. O, you must wear your rue

with a difference. There's a daisy. I would give you some
difference (n.) 9 [heraldry] variation, distinguishing mark [on a coat-of-arms]

violets, but they withered all when my father died. They

say 'a made a good end.

(sings) For bonny sweet Robin is all my joy.


Thought and afflictions, passion, hell itself,
passion (n.) 3 suffering, torment, deep grief
thought (n.) 2 melancholic reflection, anxiety, sorrow, worry

She turns to favour and to prettiness.
favour (n.) 3 charm, attractiveness, gracefulness
prettiness (n.) pleasantness, agreeableness



And will 'a not come again?

And will 'a not come again?

No, no, he is dead.

Go to thy deathbed.

He never will come again.

His beard was as white as snow,

All flaxen was his poll.

He is gone, he is gone,

And we cast away moan.
moan (n.) 1 grief, lamentation, sorrow, complaint

God 'a' mercy on his soul!

And of all Christian souls, I pray God. God bye you.



Do you see this? O God!


Laertes, I must commune with your grief,
commune (v.) 2 share, participate [in]

Or you deny me right. Go but apart,

Make choice of whom your wisest friends you will,

And they shall hear and judge 'twixt you and me.

If by direct or by collateral hand
collateral (adj.) 2 indirect, subordinate, accessory
hand (n.) 2 agency, means, aid

They find us touched, we will our kingdom give,
touch (v.) 9 stain, taint, infect

Our crown, our life, and all that we call ours,

To you in satisfaction. But if not,
satisfaction (n.) 2 recompense, compensation, atonement

Be you content to lend your patience to us,
content (adj.) 1 agreeable, willing, ready See Topics: Frequency count
lend (v.) give, grant, bestow [on]

And we shall jointly labour with your soul

To give it due content.
content (n.) 2 contentment, peace of mind


                         Let this be so.

His means of death, his obscure funeral –
mean (n.) 3 (plural) manner, mode, method

No trophy, sword, nor hatchment o'er his bones,
hatchment (n.) [heraldry] tablet displaying a person's coat-of-arms
trophy (n.) 2 memorial, monument

No noble rite nor formal ostentation –
ostentation (n.) 2 ceremony, ritual

Cry to be heard, as 'twere from heaven to earth,

That I must call't in question.


                         So you shall.

And where th' offence is, let the great axe fall.

I pray you go with me.


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