Hamlet

by: William Shakespeare

Original Text

Modern Text

What should this mean? Are all the rest come back? Or is it some abuse, and no such thing?
What does this mean? Has everyone else come back too? Or is it all a lie—and no one has yet returned?

LAERTES

Know you the hand?

LAERTES

Do you recognize the handwriting?

CLAUDIUS

  'Tis Hamlet’s character. “Naked”?
50And in a postscript here, he says “alone.”
Can you advise me?

CLAUDIUS

It’s Hamlet’s writing. “Naked,” he says. And in a P.S. he adds, “alone.” Can you help me out with this?

LAERTES

I’m lost in it, my lord. But let him come.
It warms the very sickness in my heart
That I shall live and tell him to his teeth,
55“Thus diddest thou.”

LAERTES

I have no clue, my lord. But let him come. It warms my weary heart to think I’ll get the chance to look him in the eye and say, “You did this.”

CLAUDIUS

  If it be so, Laertes—
As how should it be so? How otherwise?—
Will you be ruled by me?

CLAUDIUS

If that’s how you feel, Laertes—and why shouldn’t you? Will you let me guide and direct you?

LAERTES

    Ay, my lord—
So you will not o'errule me to a peace.

LAERTES

Yes, my lord, as long as you won’t lead me toward peace.

CLAUDIUS

To thine own peace. If he be now returned,
60As checking at his voyage, and that he means
No more to undertake it, I will work him
To an exploit, now ripe in my devise,
Under the which he shall not choose but fall.
And for his death no wind of blame shall breathe,
65But even his mother shall uncharge the practice
And call it accident.

CLAUDIUS

No, just toward your own peace of mind. If he’s come back to Denmark without plans to continue on his trip, then I’ll trick him into an undertaking, which I’m working out now, that’s sure to kill him. When he dies, no one will be blamed, even his mother will call it an accident.

LAERTES

  My lord, I will be ruled
The rather if you could devise it so
That I might be the organ.

LAERTES

My lord, I’ll let you make the decision. I only ask to be in on your plans, the agent of his death.