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  Act 4 Scene 1

page Act 4 Scene 1 Page 2

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But, like the owner of a foul disease,
To keep it from divulging, let it feed
Even on the pith of life. Where is he gone?
the core, I kept Hamlet’s condition secret and let it grow more and more dangerous. Where has he gone?


25To draw apart the body he hath killed,
O'er whom his very madness, like some ore
Among a mineral of metals base,
Shows itself pure. He weeps for what is done.


To remove the corpse of the man he killed. His madness allows a glimmering of morality to shine through, like a vein of gold in a chunk of coal. He weeps for what he has done.


O Gertrude, come away!
30The sun no sooner shall the mountains touch
But we will ship him hence, and this vile deed
We must, with all our majesty and skill,
Both countenance and excuse.—Ho, Guildenstern!


Oh, Gertrude, let’s go. As soon as the sun sets we’ll ship him off to England. It’ll take all my diplomatic know-how to explain and excuse the murder he’s committed. Hey, Guildenstern!
Friends both, go join you with some further aid.
35Hamlet in madness hath Polonius slain,
And from his mother’s closet hath he dragged him.
Go seek him out, speak fair, and bring the body
Into the chapel. I pray you, haste in this.
My friends, go find others to help you. Hamlet in his madness has killed Polonius and dragged him out of his mother’s bedroom. Go find him and speak nicely to him, and bring the corpse into the chapel. Please hurry.
Come, Gertrude, we’ll call up our wisest friends,
40And let them know both what we mean to do
And what’s untimely done. So dreaded slander—
Whose whisper o'er the world’s diameter,
As level as the cannon to his blank,
Transports the poisoned shot—may miss our name
45And hit the woundless air. Oh, come away!
My soul is full of discord and dismay.
Come, Gertrude. We’ll confer with our wisest friends and tell them what we’re going to do, and what terrible deed has been done already. Let’s hope slander—a bullet that can travel halfway around the world and still hit its exact target—spares us. Oh, we must go. I’m full of confusion and despair.
They exit.