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Act 4, Scene 3


hamlet original play and modern translation
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Original Play

Modern Translation

Enter King CLAUDIUS and two or three attendants

CLAUDIUS enters with two or three attendants.

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CLAUDIUS
I have sent to seek him and to find the body.
How dangerous is it that this man goes loose!
Yet must not we put the strong law on him.
He's loved of the distracted multitude,
Who like not in their judgment, but their eyes.
And where 'tis so, th' offender's scourge is weighed,
But never the offense. To bear all smooth and even,
This sudden sending him away must seem
Deliberate pause. Diseases desperate grown
By desperate appliance are relieved,
Or not at all.

CLAUDIUS
I've sent men to find Hamlet and the body. How dangerous it is to have this madman on the loose! But we can't just throw the strong arm of the law at him. He's loved by the masses, who base their feelings on appearance rather than good judgment. They'll focus on the punishment, not the crime. Our sudden sending him away must seem like it was long-planned and carefully considered move. Curing a fatal disease requires immediate treatment, or you won't cure it at all.

Enter ROSENCRANTZ

ROSENCRANTZ enters.

How now, what hath befall'n? What's going on, what's happened?

ROSENCRANTZ
Where the dead body is bestowed, my lord,
We cannot get from him.

ROSENCRANTZ
We can't get him to tell us where he's put the body.

CLAUDIUS
But where is he?

CLAUDIUS
But where is he?

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ROSENCRANTZ
Without, my lord; guarded, to know your pleasure.

ROSENCRANTZ
Outside, my lord, and guarded, as we wait to hear what you want us to do.

CLAUDIUS
Bring him before us.

CLAUDIUS
Bring him to me.

ROSENCRANTZ
Ho, Guildenstern! Bring in my lord.

ROSENCRANTZ
Hey, Guildenstern! Bring in my lord.

Enter HAMLET and GUILDENSTERN

GUILDENSTERN enters with HAMLET.

CLAUDIUS
Now, Hamlet, where's Polonius?

CLAUDIUS
Now, Hamlet, where's Polonius?

HAMLET
At supper.

HAMLET
At dinner.

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CLAUDIUS
At supper where?

CLAUDIUS
At dinner where?

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HAMLET
Not where he eats, but where he is eaten. A certain convocation of politic worms are e'en at him. Your worm is your only emperor for diet. We fat all creatures else to fat us, and we fat ourselves for maggots. Your fat king and your lean beggar is but variable service—two dishes, but to one table. That's the end.

HAMLET
Not where he's eating, but where he's being eaten. A certain gathering of worms are working on him right now. Worms are the kings of all eating. We fatten up all creatures to feed ourselves, and we fatten ourselves to eventually feed the worms. A fat king and a skinny beggar are just different dishes at the same meal. And that's that.

CLAUDIUS
Alas, alas!

CLAUDIUS
Oh no, oh no!

HAMLET
A man may fish with the worm that hath eat of a king, and eat of the fish that hath fed of that worm.

HAMLET
A man can fish with a worm that ate a king, and then eat the fish he catches with that worm.

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CLAUDIUS
What dost you mean by this?

CLAUDIUS
What do you mean by that?

HAMLET
Nothing but to show you how a king may go a progress through the guts of a beggar.

HAMLET
Nothing, except to make it clear that a king can move through the guts of a beggar.

CLAUDIUS
Where is Polonius?

CLAUDIUS
Where is Polonius?

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HAMLET
In heaven. Send hither to see. If your messenger find him not there, seek him i' th' other place yourself. But if indeed you find him not within this month, you shall nose him as you go up the stairs into the lobby.

HAMLET
In heaven. Send a messager there if you want to be sure. If your messenger can't find him, you can check for him in hell yourself. Now, if you don't find him within the next month, you'll smell him as you go upstairs into the main hall.

CLAUDIUS
(to attendants) Go seek him there.

CLAUDIUS
(to attendants) Go look for him there.

Exeunt some attendants

Some attendants exit.

HAMLET
He will stay till ye come.

HAMLET
No need to hurry, he'll wait for you.

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CLAUDIUS
Hamlet, this deed, for thine especial safety—
Which we do tender as we dearly grieve
For that which thou hast done—must send thee hence
With fiery quickness. Therefore prepare thyself.
The bark is ready and the wind at help,
Th' associates tend, and everything is bent
For England.

CLAUDIUS
Hamlet, I care about your safety as much as I grieve over what you've done. Therefore I must send you away at once. Prepare yourself. The ship is ready, and the wind favorable. Your servants wait for you—everything is set for you to go to England.

HAMLET
For England?

HAMLET
To England?

CLAUDIUS
Ay, Hamlet.

CLAUDIUS
Yes, Hamlet.

HAMLET
Good.

HAMLET
Good.

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CLAUDIUS
So is it, if thou knew'st our purposes.

CLAUDIUS
Yes it is, if you knew why I was sending you.

HAMLET
I see a cherub that sees them. But come, for England.
Farewell, dear mother.

HAMLET
I know an angel who can read your mind. But now, off to England! Good-bye, dear mother.

CLAUDIUS
Thy loving father, Hamlet.

CLAUDIUS
I'm your lving father, Hamlet.

HAMLET
My mother. Father and mother is man and wife, man and wife is one flesh, and so, my mother.—Come, for England!

HAMLET
No, my mother. When you married my mother, the two of you became one flesh, so if you're my father you're also my mother. Come on, to England!

Exit HAMLET

HAMLET exits.

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CLAUDIUS
Follow him at foot. Tempt him with speed aboard.
Delay it not. I'll have him hence tonight.
Away! For everything is sealed and done
That else leans on the affair. Pray you, make haste.

CLAUDIUS
Follow him on foot, and speed him onto the ship. Don't let there be any delays. I want him gone tonight. Gone! Everything is signed and sealed to put an end to this affair. Please hurry.

Exeunt all but CLAUDIUS

Everyone except CLAUDIUS exits.

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And, England, if my love thou hold'st at aught—
As my great power thereof may give thee sense,
Since yet thy cicatrice looks raw and red
After the Danish sword and thy free awe
Pays homage to us—thou mayst not coldly set
Our sovereign process, which imports at full,
By letters congruing to that effect,
The present death of Hamlet. Do it, England,
For like the hectic in my blood he rages,
And thou must cure me. Till I know 'tis done,
Howe'er my haps, my joys were ne'er begun.

And you, dear king of England, if you think me at all important—as you should, considering you can still feel the strength that Denmark bludgeoned you with in the past, causing you to pay us tribue—then you'll have to listen to the instructions in my letter that you kill Hamlet immediately. Do it, England. He's raging like a fever in my blood, and you must cure me. Until I know it's been done, no matter what else happends to me, I'll never be happy.

Exit

He exits.

 

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