A room in the castle.
Enter KING CLAUDIUS, QUEEN GERTRUDE, ROSENCRANTZ, and GUILDENSTERN
There's matter in these sighs, these profound heaves:
You must translate: 'tis fit we understand them.
Where is your son?
Bestow this place on us a little while.
Exeunt ROSENCRANTZ and GUILDENSTERN
Ah, my good lord, what have I seen to-night!
What, Gertrude? How does Hamlet?
Mad as the sea and wind, when both contend
Which is the mightier: in his lawless fit,
Behind 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.
O heavy deed!
It had been so with us, had we been there:
His liberty is full of threats to all;
To you yourself, to us, to every one.
Alas, how shall this bloody deed be answer'd?
It will be laid to us, whose providence
Should have kept short, restrain'd and out of haunt,
This mad young man: but so much was our love,
We would not understand what was most fit;
But, like the owner of a foul disease,
To keep it from divulging, let it feed
Even on the pith of Life. Where is he gone?
To draw apart the body he hath kill'd:
O'er whom his very madness, like some ore
Among a mineral of metals base,
Shows itself pure; he weeps for what is done.
O Gertrude, come away!
The sun no sooner shall the mountains touch,
But we will ship him hence: and this vile deed
We must, with all our majesty and skill,
Both countenance and excuse. Ho, Guildenstern!
Re-enter ROSENCRANTZ and GUILDENSTERN
Friends both, go join you with some further aid:
Hamlet in madness hath Polonius slain,
And from his mother's closet hath he dragg'd him:
Go seek him out; speak fair, and bring the body
Into the chapel. I pray you, haste in this.
Exeunt ROSENCRANTZ and GUILDENSTERN
Come, Gertrude, we'll call up our wisest friends;
And let them know, both what we mean to do,
And what's untimely done. O, come away!
My soul is full of discord and dismay.
After Hamlet had left the Queen, the King joined her.
"Goodness, what has provoked all this sighing and shivering. Tell me, what happened? Where is your son?"
"Oh, my good lord, the things I have seen tonight!"
"Poor, Gertrude. How is Hamlet?"
"As mad as the sea and the wind when they contest a duel! Being a law unto himself when he heard something move behind the curtain, he yells A rat, a rat! and in this delusion he put poor old Polonius to the sword!"
"An act of brutality! If I had been there I would be dead. His freedom is a threat to everybody- to you, to us, to everyone. Alas, how shall we explain Polonius' death? I'll be held responsible. I should have had the foresight to keep this mad young man leashed, controlled, secluded. Our love was so trusting we refused to face facts. Like someone with a contagious disease who doesn't want to divulge his condition it actually thrives in secret. Where has he gone?"
"He is removing the corpse, over which his very madness, like a diamond in mud, shines radiantly. He sobs at what he has done."
"Oh, Gertrude, come away. At twilight we will get him on a boat bound for England. Using all our authority and skill we must bear and excuse this vile deed."
The King paused to ponder the consequences.
"Guildenstern," he called.
Rosencrantz and Guildenstern arrived at the chamber.
"Friends, get assistance in this chore. Hamlet, in his madness, has killed Polonius. He's dragged the body off. Find him, humour him, and bring the body to the chapel. Please hurry."
Rosencrantz and Guildenstern speedily followed orders. The King continued to comfort the Queen.
"Come, Gertrude, we'll summon our wisest friends, tell them of our intentions and inform them of Hamlet's misdeed. With a bit of luck, the slanderous gossip which travels the world as fast as cannon shot, may miss us and explode in space. Let us go, my soul is full of discord and dismay.”