• Enter HORATIO, GERTRUDE, and a GENTLEMAN

    GERTRUDE

    I will not speak with her.

    GENTLEMAN

        She is importunate,
    Indeed distract. Her mood will needs be pitied.

    GERTRUDE

    What would she have?

    GENTLEMAN

    She speaks much of her father, says she hears
    5There’s tricks i' th' world, and hems, and beats her heart,
    Spurns enviously at straws, speaks things in doubt
    That carry but half sense. Her speech is nothing,
    Yet the unshaped use of it doth move
    The hearers to collection. They aim at it,
    10And botch the words up fit to their own thoughts,
    Which, as her winks and nods and gestures yield them,
    Indeed would make one think there might be thought,
    Though nothing sure, yet much unhappily.

    HORATIO

    'Twere good she were spoken with, for she may strew
    15Dangerous conjectures in ill-breeding minds.

    GERTRUDE

    Let her come in.
    Exit GENTLEMAN
    (aside) To my sick soul (as sin’s true nature is)
    Each toy seems prologue to some great amiss.
    So full of artless jealousy is guilt,
    It spills itself in fearing to be spilt.
    Enter OPHELIA, distracted
  • HORATIO, GERTRUDE, and a GENTLEMAN enter.

    GERTRUDE

    I won’t speak to her.

    GENTLEMAN

    She’s insistent. In fact, she’s crazed. You can’t help feeling sorry for her.

    GERTRUDE

    What does she want?

    GENTLEMAN

    She talks about her father a lot, and says she hears there are conspiracies around the world, and coughs, and beats her breast, and gets angry over tiny matters, and talks nonsense. Her words don’t mean anything, but her babbling causes her listeners to draw conclusions. They hear what they want to hear. Her winks and nods and gestures do suggest that she means to convey a message, and not a happy one.

    HORATIO

    It’s a good idea to speak to her, since she might lead those with evil intentions to dangerous conclusions.

    GERTRUDE

    Show her in.
    The GENTLEMAN exits.
    (to herself) To my sick soul (since sin is always a sickness), every detail looks like an omen of disaster to come. Guilt makes you so full of stupid suspicions that you give yourself away because you’re trying so hard not to.
    OPHELIA enters, insane.