Hamlet

by: William Shakespeare

Original Text

Modern Text

Let my disclaiming from a purposed evil
Free me so far in your most generous thoughts
That I have shot mine arrow o'er the house
230And hurt my brother.
And if that’s true, then Hamlet is the victim of his own illness—his illness is his enemy. Sir, with this audience as witness, let me declare that I’m as innocent of premeditated evil against you as I would be if I had happened to shoot an arrow over my house and accidentally hit my brother.

LAERTES

    I am satisfied in nature,
Whose motive in this case should stir me most
To my revenge. But in my terms of honor
I stand aloof, and will no reconcilement
Till by some elder masters, of known honor,
235I have a voice and precedent of peace
To keep my name ungored. But till that time
I do receive your offered love like love
And will not wrong it.

LAERTES

My feelings are satisfied—even though what you have done to my father and sister should drive me to revenge. Yet when it comes to my honor, I can’t forgive you so fast. I will accept no apology until experts in matters of honor show me how to make peace with you without staining my own reputation in doing so. Until then I will accept your love as love.

HAMLET

    I embrace it freely,
And will this brother’s wager frankly play.—
240Give us the foils. Come on.

HAMLET

I’m grateful for your love. Come on, give us the swords, and we will play this friendly fencing match enthusiastically.

LAERTES

     Come, one for me.

LAERTES

Yes, hand me one too.

HAMLET

I’ll be your foil, Laertes. In mine ignorance
Your skill shall, like a star i' th' darkest night,
Stick fiery off indeed.

HAMLET

I’m going to make you look sharp, Laertes. I’m so bad at the game that your skill will shine like the brightest star in the darkest night.

LAERTES

You mock me, sir.

LAERTES

You’re making fun of me.

HAMLET

245No, by this hand.

HAMLET

No, I swear I’m not.

CLAUDIUS

Give them the foils, young Osric.—Cousin Hamlet,
You know the wager?

CLAUDIUS

Give them the swords, Osric. Hamlet, you know the bet?

HAMLET

    Very well, my lord.
Your grace hath laid the odds o' th' weaker side.

HAMLET

Yes, my lord, quite well. You’ve bet on the weaker fencer.