Original Text Translated Text Source: Enter Gravedigger and Another. Laertes promptly leaps out of Ophelia's grave and scuffles with Hamlet. Next, Hamlet wants to know how long it takes a body to rot. He instructs Gertrude to have her son watched, implying that another death will serve as Ophelia's memorial. For here lies the point: if I drown myself 10 wittingly, it argues an act, and an act hath three branches—it is to act, to do, to perform. Hamlet asks the gravedigger how long it takes a body to decompose. The Gravedigger says he's been at it since the day the old King Hamlet beat Fortinbras, which, coincidentally is the day the young Hamlet was born.
He then produces a skull from the grave that he says has been lying there for twenty-three years. So, uncle, there you are. The king discusses a possible war and agrees to let Laertes, son of the king's lord chamberlain, Polonius, leave court and return to school. The riddles are comic relief, but they also show that the gravedigger probably knows Hamlet. Anon, as patient as the female dove When that her golden couplets are disclosed, 305 His silence will sit drooping. He and many other critics have found this scene to be a microcosm of the whole play, as it were.
In a cemetery, two gravediggers discuss whether the body to be put in the grave they're digging should receive a Christian burial. Horatio and Marcellus attempt to keep Hamlet from following the ghost, warning him of the many evils that might befall him. He hath bore me on his back a thousand times, and now how abhorred in my imagination it is! A courtier, , interrupts Hamlet and Horatio. Hamlet, overwhelmed and half-raving, swears that he will kill Claudius. He dishonesty and betrayal totally offends him, he thinks it is the worst thing that a person could do. Argal, she drowned herself wittingly. Horatio says sure, why not? From me, whose love was of that dignity 55 That it went hand in hand even with the vow I made to her in marriage, and to decline Upon a wretch whose natural gifts were poor To those of mine.
Hamlet and Laertes have a third pass which ends in a draw. O Hamlet, what a falling off was there! What do we learn about Gertrude, Claudius, and Hamlet in this scene? The main gravedigger sends his partner off for a cup of liquor and then commences to dig, singing songs all the while. The gravedigger informs Hamlet about the length of time it takes bodies to decay in the ground. Why may not imagination trace the noble dust of 210 Alexander till he find it stopping a bunghole? If thou hast nature in thee, bear it not. Here hung those lips that I have kissed I know not how oft.
The king, queen, and all their retinue then exit the stage, leaving Hamlet alone. And shall I couple hell? Who joins Bernardo, the watchman, on his watch of the castle? We should profane the service of the dead 245 To sing a requiem and such rest to her As to peace-parted souls. Hamlet declares that should become King of Denmark. Has she ever disobeyed Claudius before? When the gravedigger tells him that it was Yoric's skull he remembers a time when he was happy, when he didn't have to worry about looking over his shoulder. They repeat a rumor that Ophelia committed suicide and wonder whether she ought to be buried in hallowed ground. His meddlesome, didactic character leads to his undoing, as we shall see.
The king and queen dismiss his avowal as madness. The only meaning that matters must be made out of apparent meaninglessness. In their dialogue, they paraphrase some of the arguments from the famous 1554 suicide case of , a dead-by-suicide judge whose land was forfeited to the crown, as was standard punishment for suicides. Ay, thou poor ghost, whiles memory holds a seat In this distracted globe. He is both wide-ranging and profound — truly a Renaissance mind. Hamlet asks for the treachery to be found out and Laertes confesses the plan hatched by the king and he. O horrible, O horrible, most horrible! GradeSaver, 30 August 2009 Web.
Would heart of man once think it? Tanners last the longest because their skin is stained with the chemicals they use on leather, so their bodies are more waterproof. Hamlet seems to bring the drama to a close almost accidentally, and Johnson accuses Shakespeare on these grounds of dramatic clumsiness and moral ineptitude. Yet here she is allowed her virgin crants, 240 Her maiden strewments, and the bringing home Of bell and burial. The ambassadors from England enter with news that Rosencrantz and Guildenstern have been killed. He expresses a wish that Hamlet remain with them in Denmark instead of returning to Wittenberg, where he is a student, and when Gertrude seconds this wish, Hamlet agrees. Ophelia reminds him that the king and Polonius are using the woman that he loves to spy on him and he feels betrayed. One can weigh the various maxims here offered on the basis of their individual merits.
Forty thousand brothers 285 Could not with all their quantity of love Make up my sum. The second says that if she had not been a noblewoman she would not have received a Christian burial. He declares that his grief upon losing his father still deeply affects him. Find lines that support your answer. With Ophelia, he is more concerned that she bring honor and wealth to the family than about her own desires. The first scene of the play, like most every scene of the play, is very well known, and very puzzling.
The ghost reveals the details. What is he saying, and how does this set of words help to move him to action? They ask Hamlet's friend Horatio to watch on the third night, and he sees the ghost. He asks the gravedigger whose grave he is in, and the gravedigger plays with puns, finally asserting that the grave is one who was a woman. Countless characters, ideas, and quotations introduced in this play have become part of the cultural and literal vocabulary of the western world — and, indeed, the whole world. Swear by my sword 180 Never to speak of this that you have heard.