• Flourish. Enter King CLAUDIUS and Queen GERTRUDE, ROSENCRANTZ and GUILDENSTERN, and attendants

    CLAUDIUS

    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.

    GERTRUDE

    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.
  • Trumpets play. CLAUDIUS and GERTRUDE enter with ROSENCRANTZ, GUILDENSTERN, and attendants.

    CLAUDIUS

    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.

    GERTRUDE

    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.