Artboard Created with Sketch. Close Search Dialog

  Act 1 Scene 1

page Act 1 Scene 1 Page 6

Original Text

Modern Text

And terms compulsatory, those foresaid lands
So by his father lost. And this, I take it,
Is the main motive of our preparations,
105The source of this our watch, and the chief head
Of this posthaste and rummage in the land.
As far as I understand, that’s why we’re posted here tonight and why there’s such a commotion in Denmark lately.


I think it be no other but e'en so.
Well may it sort that this portentous figure
Comes armèd through our watch so like the king
110That was and is the question of these wars.


I think that’s exactly right—that explains why the ghost of the late king would haunt us now, since he caused these wars.


A mote it is to trouble the mind’s eye.
In the most high and palmy state of Rome,
A little ere the mightiest Julius fell,
The graves stood tenantless and the sheeted dead
115Did squeak and gibber in the Roman streets
As stars with trains of fire and dews of blood,
Disasters in the sun, and the moist star
Upon whose influence Neptune’s empire stands
Was sick almost to doomsday with eclipse.
120And even the like precurse of feared events,
As harbingers preceding still the fates
And prologue to the omen coming on,
Have heaven and earth together demonstrated
Unto our climatures and countrymen.


The ghost is definitely something to worry about. In the high and mighty Roman Empire, just before the emperor Julius Caesar was assassinated, corpses rose out of their graves and ran through the streets of Rome speaking gibberish. There were shooting stars, and blood mixed in with the morning dew, and threatening signs on the face of the sun. The moon, which controls the tides of the sea, was so eclipsed it almost went completely out. And we’ve had similar omens of terrible things to come, as if heaven and earth have joined together to warn us what’s going to happen.
The GHOST enters.
125But soft, behold! Lo, where it comes again.
I’ll cross it though it blast me.—Stay, illusion!
Wait, look! It has come again. I’ll meet it if it’s the last thing I do. —Stay here, you hallucination!
GHOST spreads his arms
The GHOST spreads his arms.
If thou hast any sound or use of voice,
Speak to me.
If you have a voice or can make sounds, speak to me.