Act 1, Scene 2
Elsinore. A room of state in the Castle.
Enter Claudius (King of Denmark) Queen Gertrude (Hamlet's mom), Hamlet, Polonius, Laertes and his sister Ophelia, Voltemand, Cornelius and Lords Attendant.
King: Well, King Hamlet's death is still fresh in our minds, and
it's perfectly normal to grieve. But now I'm marrying my brother's wife, your
Queen. This means the funeral will be a little happier and the wedding a little more
sad. Anyway, Fortinbras of Norway thinks that now since we've just lost our king
we'll be weak and easy to attack. So I sent a message to the king of Norway,
young Fortinbras' uncle. The old fool is senile and bedridden and doesn't realize
what his nephew is up to. My letter will tell him about it. Cornelius and
Voltemand, you two will deliver it to him.
Cornelius, Voltimand: Sure! It's our duty. No problem.
King: I'm sure you'll do fine. Bye!
Voltemand and Cornelius exit.
King: And now, Laertes, what's new with you? If you need something, I'll be glad to help. Your father is my close advisor, after all.
Laertes: Your Majesty, I wish your permission to return to France. I came back to Denmark because I wanted to see your coronation, but now that it's over with, I yearn to go back to France. May I?
King: Did your father, Polonius, say it was okay?
Polonius: He can go, Your Majesty, but I'll miss him.
King: Okay, Laertes. Go whenever you want. Now, Hamlet, my boy...you're now both my nephew and my son. Weird, huh?
Hamlet: (Aside.) I may be related to you, but you're still a jerk!
King: What are you so bummed about?
Hamlet: Who, me? Bummed?
Queen: Good Hamlet, stop wearing your mourning clothes and warm up to the new king. Your noble father is dead and buried. Everyone dies sooner or later.
Hamlet: Well, yeah, but...
Queen: So why does it seem that this is bothering you so terribly?
Hamlet: Seems? It is. It's not just my black clothes, sighs, crying, and downcast expression. I'm hurting even more inside.
King: Well, yeah, Hamlet, mourning is fine, but everybody's father dies eventually. So don't be stubborn and mope about. It's a sin to linger on this grief. Your father wouldn't want you to go on this way. Get over it. I'll give you this advice as your loving step father. Don't go back to school in Wittenburg. It's better for you to be home with your family when you're depressed.
Queen: Please, Hamlet, my son. I don't want you to go to Wittenburg, either.
Hamlet: Oh, all right. Fine. I guess I'll stay here.
King: Good. And well said, Gertrude, dearest.
Everyone but Hamlet leaves.
Hamlet: I wish this rotten body of mine would melt away, back to dust. I wish God hadn't forbidden suicide. How weary, stale, flat and worthless this life seems! Dammit, the world is like an unweeded, ruined garden. Everything is dumb and yucky. My father, an excellent king and a good husband, has only been dead two months. Mother used to cozy up to him lovingly as if their love grew stronger every day. But a month after his death... I don't even want to think about it! A little month! Before she wore out the shoes she had on when she walked behind his coffin. Any decent person would have mourned longer. And then she marries my uncle! My father's brother! But a much worse person than my father. A month! Almost before the red had faded from her eyes from weeping. How awful that she turned around and remarried so quickly. And it's especiallly icky 'cause it's basically incest! No good will come of this. But, much as it pains me, I just hold my tounge.
Enter Horatio, Marcellus, and Bernardo.
Horatio: Hiya, Hamlet, sir! How's it hangin'?
Hamlet: Oh, hi. Good to see you. Horatio, isn't it?.
Horatio: That's the name. Don't wear it out.
Hamlet: Friend, you've come all the way from Wittenburg! And Marcellus?
Marcellus: That's me. Hello.
Hamlet: I'm glad to see you! (To Bernardo:) Good evening, sir. (To Horatio:) So why did you come all the way from Wittenberg?
Horatio: It was just a spur of the moment decision.
Hamlet: Yeah, right. What are you really doing here? Well, whatever the reason, you'll be drunker than a skunk at least once before you leave.
Horatio: I came to see your father's funeral.
Hamlet: My mother's wedding, you mean.
Horatio: They did sort of happen close together, didn't they?
Hamlet: I think Claudius was just being cheap. He wanted the use the leftovers from the funeral for the wedding feast. I'd rather see my worst enemy in heaven than all this scandal. My father...I think I see my father!
Hamlet: In my mind, Horatio.
Horatio: I saw him once. He was a good King.
Hamlet: Yes, he was. You only see one like him in a lifetime.
Horatio: I think I saw him last night.
Hamlet: Saw who?
Horatio: The King, your father.
Hamlet: The King my father?
Horatio: Duh, that's what I just said!
Horatio: Before you freak out, listen.
Hamlet: I'm listening.
Horatio: Two different times, this guys, Marcellus and Bernardo, while on guard duty in the middle of the night, saw a ghost. It looked just like your father and it even had his armor. He strolled around while these guys were frozen with fear. The third night I kept watch with them. I saw it, too. It was a dead ringer for your dad. Er...sorry about the pun.
Hamlet: But where was this?
Marcellus: On the platform where we keep watch, of course.
Hamlet: Didn't you talk to it?
Horatio: Well, yeah, but it didn't answer. It looked like it might, but then the rooster crowed to announce the dawn, and it disappeared.
Hamlet: Whoa. Weird..
Horatio: No kidding. I thought you should know.
Hamlet: Yes. I'm glad you told me, but I'm pretty upset, too. Are you on watch again tonight?
Both Marcellus and Bernardo: Yes.
Hamlet: From head to foot?
Both: You bet.
Hamlet: Did you see his face?
Horatio: Yes. He had the visor of his helmet up.
Hamlet: Was he frowning?
Horatio: He looked more sad than angry.
Hamlet: Was he pale?
Hamlet: And did he look at you?
Hamlet: I wish I'd been there.
Horatio: It would have amazed you.
Hamlet: I'm sure it would have. Did the ghost stay long?
Horatio: About a minute and a half.
Both Marcellus and Bernardo: It was longer than that.
Horatio: Not when I saw it.
Hamlet: His beard was grizzled, right?
Horatio: It looked like it did when he was alive. Silver.
Hamlet: I'll watch tonight, too. Maybe it'll come again..
Horatio: I bet it will.
Hamlet: If it looks like Dad, I'll talk to it no matter what. I'll see you on the watch platform between 11 and 12 tonight.
All. No problem.
Exit all but Hamlet.
Hamlet: Dad's spirit in arms? This isn't good. I suspect foul play. I can't wait until tnoight when I can find out the truth.