Hamlet

by: William Shakespeare

  Act 2 Scene 2

page Act 2 Scene 2 Page 14

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Modern Text

ROSENCRANTZ

Even those you were wont to take delight in, the tragedians of the city.

ROSENCRANTZ

The tragic actors from the city, the ones you used to enjoy so much.

HAMLET

How chances it they travel? Their residence, both in reputation and profit, was better both ways.

HAMLET

What are they doing on the road? They made more money and got more attention in the city.

ROSENCRANTZ

I think their inhibition comes by the means of the late innovation.

ROSENCRANTZ

But things have changed there, and it’s easier for them on the road now.

HAMLET

Do they hold the same estimation they did when I was in the city? Are they so followed?

HAMLET

Are they as popular as they used to be when I lived in the city? Do they attract big audiences?

ROSENCRANTZ

315No, indeed are they not.

ROSENCRANTZ

No, not like before.

HAMLET

How comes it? Do they grow rusty?

HAMLET

Why? Are they getting rusty?

ROSENCRANTZ

Nay, their endeavor keeps in the wonted pace. But there is, sir, an eyrie of children, little eyases, that cry out on the top of question and are most tyrannically clapped for ’t. These are now the fashion, and so berattle the common stages—so they call them—that many wearing rapiers are afraid of goose quills and dare scarce come thither.

ROSENCRANTZ

No, they’re busy and as excellent as ever. The problem is that they have to compete with a group of children who yell out their lines and receive outrageous applause for it. These child actors are now in fashion, and they’ve so overtaken the public theaters that society types hardly come at all, they’re so afraid of being mocked by the playwrights who write for the boys.