Hamlet

by: William Shakespeare

  Act 4 Scene 5

page Act 4 Scene 5 Page 7

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LAERTES

How came he dead? I’ll not be juggled with.
105To hell, allegiance! Vows, to the blackest devil!
Conscience and grace, to the profoundest pit!
I dare damnation. To this point I stand
That both the worlds I give to negligence.
Let come what comes, only I’ll be revenged
110Most thoroughly for my father.

LAERTES

How did he end up dead? Don’t mess with me. To hell with my vows of allegiance to you! Vows can go to hell! Conscience, too! I don’t care if I’m damned. I don’t care what happens to me in this world or the next. Whatever happens, happens, but I’ll get revenge for my father’s murder.

CLAUDIUS

Who shall stay you?

CLAUDIUS

Who’s stopping you?

LAERTES

My will, not all the world.
And for my means, I’ll husband them so well,
They shall go far with little.

LAERTES

Only my free will—nothing else. What little means I have, I’ll use against you.

CLAUDIUS

    Good Laertes,
115If you desire to know the certainty
Of your dear father’s death, is ’t writ in your revenge,
That, swoopstake, you will draw both friend and foe,
Winner and loser?

CLAUDIUS

My dear Laertes, in your eagerness to know the truth about your father’s death, are you determined to hurt your father’s friends and enemies alike?

LAERTES

None but his enemies.

LAERTES

No, only his enemies.

CLAUDIUS

120Will you know them then?

CLAUDIUS

Do you want to know who they are, then?

LAERTES

To his good friends thus wide I’ll ope my arms
And, like the kind life-rendering pelican,
Repast them with my blood.

LAERTES

I’ll open my arms wide to his true friends, and like a mother

pelican

Pelicans were believed to feed their young with their own blood.

pelican
with her brood, I’ll even give my life for them.

CLAUDIUS

    Why, now you speak
Like a good child and a true gentleman.
125That I am guiltless of your father’s death
And am most sensible in grief for it,
It shall as level to your judgment pierce
As day does to your eye.

CLAUDIUS

Why, now you’re talking like a good son and a true gentleman. I’ll prove to you as clearly as daylight that I’m innocent of your father’s death, and am struck with grief over it.