• Enter King CLAUDIUS and Queen GERTRUDE, with ROSENCRANTZ and GUILDENSTERN

    CLAUDIUS

    (to GERTRUDE) There’s matter in these sighs, these profound heaves.
    You must translate. 'Tis fit we understand them.
    Where is your son?

    GERTRUDE

    (to ROSENCRANTZ and GUILDENSTERN)
    5Bestow this place on us a little while.
    Exeunt ROSENCRANTZ and GUILDENSTERN
    Ah, my good lord, what have I seen tonight!

    CLAUDIUS

    What, Gertrude? How does Hamlet?

    GERTRUDE

    Mad as the sea and wind when both contend
    Which is the mightier. In his lawless fit,
    10Behind the arras hearing something stir,
    Whips out his rapier, cries, “A rat, a rat!”
    And in this brainish apprehension kills
    The unseen good old man.

    CLAUDIUS

        O heavy deed!
    It had been so with us, had we been there.
    15His liberty is full of threats to all—
    To you yourself, to us, to everyone.
    Alas, how shall this bloody deed be answered?
    It will be laid to us, whose providence
    Should have kept short, restrained and out of haunt,
    20This mad young man. But so much was our love,
    We would not understand what was most fit,
  • CLAUDIUS and GERTRUDE enter with ROSENCRANTZ and GUILDENSTERN.

    CLAUDIUS

    (to GERTRUDE) These deep, heaving sighs of yours mean something. You have to tell me what. I need to know. Where’s your son?

    GERTRUDE

    (to ROSENCRANTZ and GUILDENSTERN) Let us speak privately awhile, please.
    ROSENCRANTZ and GUILDENSTERN exit.
    Ah, my lord, you wouldn’t believe what I’ve witnessed tonight!

    CLAUDIUS

    What, Gertrude? How is Hamlet?

    GERTRUDE

    As mad as the waves and the wind when they struggle together in a storm. In an insane rage, he hears something behind the tapestry, whips out his sword, shouts, “A rat, a rat!” and in his deranged state of mind he kills the good old man, who is still hidden.

    CLAUDIUS

    Oh, this is terrible! It would’ve happened to me if I’d been there. His wildness is a threat to all of us—to you, to me, to everyone. How will we deal with this violent deed? I’m the one who will be blamed for not restraining and confining this mad young man. But I loved him so much I didn’t want to think about what I had to do.
    So, like someone suffering from a nasty disease who refuses to divulge his condition and lets it infect him to