Hamlet

by: William Shakespeare

  Act 3 Scene 2

page Act 3 Scene 2 Page 16

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HAMLET

I do not well understand that. Will you play upon this pipe?

HAMLET

I don’t really understand what you mean. Will you play this recorder?

GUILDENSTERN

My lord, I cannot.

GUILDENSTERN

I can’t, my lord.

HAMLET

I pray you.

HAMLET

Please.

GUILDENSTERN

Believe me, I cannot.

GUILDENSTERN

I’m serious, I can’t.

HAMLET

320I do beseech you.

HAMLET

I’m begging you.

GUILDENSTERN

I know no touch of it, my lord.

GUILDENSTERN

I have no idea how.

HAMLET

It is as easy as lying. Govern these ventages with your fingers and thumb, give it breath with your mouth, and it will discourse most eloquent music. Look you, these are the stops.

HAMLET

Oh, it’s as easy as lying. Just put your fingers and thumb over the holes and blow into it, and it’ll produce the most moving music. Here, the holes are here.

GUILDENSTERN

But these cannot I command to any utterance of harmony.
I have not the skill.

GUILDENSTERN

But I can’t play a melody. I don’t know how.

HAMLET

Why, look you now, how unworthy a thing you make of me! You would play upon me. You would seem to know my stops. You would pluck out the heart of my mystery. You would sound me from my lowest note to the top of my compass. And there is much music, excellent voice, in this little organ, yet cannot you make it speak? 'Sblood, do you think I am easier to be played on than a pipe? Call me what instrument you will, though you can fret me, yet you cannot play upon me.

HAMLET

Well, look how you play me—as if you knew exactly where to put your fingers, to blow the mystery out of me, playing all the octaves of my range—and yet you can’t even produce music from this little instrument? My God, do you think I’m easier to manipulate than a pipe? You can push my buttons, but you can’t play me for a fool.