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Act 2 Scene 2

page Act 2 Scene 2 Page 1

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Flourish. Enter King CLAUDIUS and Queen GERTRUDE, ROSENCRANTZ and GUILDENSTERN, and attendants
Trumpets play. CLAUDIUS and GERTRUDE enter with ROSENCRANTZ, GUILDENSTERN, and attendants.


Welcome, dear Rosencrantz and Guildenstern.
Moreover that we much did long to see you,
The need we have to use you did provoke
Our hasty sending. Something have you heard
5Of Hamlet’s “transformation”—so call it
Since nor th' exterior nor the inward man
Resembles that it was. What it should be,
More than his father’s death, that thus hath put him
So much from th' understanding of himself,
10I cannot dream of. I entreat you both
That, being of so young days brought up with him
And since so neighbored to his youth and 'havior,
That you vouchsafe your rest here in our court
Some little time so by your companies
15To draw him on to pleasures and to gather,
So much as from occasion you may glean,
Whether aught, to us unknown, afflicts him thus
That, opened, lies within our remedy.


Welcome, dear Rosencrantz and Guildenstern. I’ve wanted to see you for a long time now, but I sent for you so hastily because I need your help right away. You’ve probably heard about the “change” that’s come over Hamlet—that’s the only word for it, since inside and out he’s different from what he was before. I can’t imagine what’s made him so unlike himself, other than his father’s death. Since you both grew up with him and are so familiar with his personality and behavior, I’m asking you to stay a while at court and spend some time with him. See if you can get Hamlet to have some fun, and find out if there’s anything in particular that’s bothering him, so we can set about trying to fix it.


Good gentlemen, he hath much talked of you.
20And sure I am two men there are not living
To whom he more adheres. If it will please you
To show us so much gentry and good will
As to expend your time with us awhile
For the supply and profit of our hope,
25Your visitation shall receive such thanks
As fits a king’s remembrance.


Gentlemen, Hamlet’s talked a lot about you, and I know there are no two men alive he’s fonder of. If you’ll be so good as to spend some time with us and help us out, you’ll be thanked on a royal scale.