Hamlet for the Shakespeare-Impaired

Act 4, Scene 3


Elsinore. A room in the Castle.  Enter King with servants.

King: Rosencrantz and Guildenstern are looking for Hamlet and the body. He's a dangerous man to have on the loose! But we really can't punish him under the law, 'cause he is the prince, after all, and the people like him. They don't see him when he's like this. But if I had him punished, they'd get mad at me. I don't dare do that. My hands are tied!
[Enter Rosencrantz.]
King: Well, don't just stand there! What happened?
Rosencrantz: Hamlet won't tell us where he hid the body, Your Majesty.
King: But where is he?
Rosencrantz: He's outside, with the guards, waiting to speak to you.
King: Bring him in.
Rosencrantz: Guildenstern! Bring in Hamlet.
[Enter Hamlet and Guildenstern, with Attendants.]
King: Now, Hamlet, where's Polonius?
Hamlet: At supper.
King: At supper? Where?
Hamlet: Well, he's not doing the eating. He's being eaten. By worms, you see. Funny...no one eats worms, but when we die, worms eat us. Isn't it ironic? Worms don't care if you were a king or a beggar. They eat you all the same.
King: Alas, alas!
Hamlet: A man can go fishing with a worm that's eaten from a king's corpse, and then eat fish that ate the worm.
King: What do you mean?
Hamlet: I just wanted to explain how a king can pass through the guts of a beggar.
King: Where's Polonius?
Hamlet: In heaven. Send a servant to find him there. If he can't find him there, go to the other place and look for him yourself! But if you don't find him in a month or so, you'll start to smell him as you go up the stairs into the lobby.
 King: [To Attendants.] Go look for the body there.
Hamlet: No hurry. He's not going anywhere!
[Exit Attendants.]
King: Hamlet, you've done a terrible thing. We don't hate you for it, but we have to send you away immediately. Pack your bags. The ship is ready down at the dock. Everything is ready to take you to England.
Hamlet: England?
King: Yes, Hamlet.
Hamlet: Oh, goody! I hear England is nice this time of year!
King: You wouldn't be so happy if you knew what is in store for you.
Hamlet: A store? Yipee! I can go shopping. What are we waiting for! Let's go to England! 'Bye, Mom!
King: Did you just call me Mom?
Hamlet: Of course. Father and mother are man and wife; man and wife are said to be one flesh. So you're my mother. Now let's get this show on the road! To England!
[Exit Hamlet.]
King: Rosencrantz, Guildenstern, follow him. Get him away from here as fast as possible.
[Exit Rosencrantz and Guildenstern.]
King: Okay, England, even if you don't like me or respect me, you must fear me. We beat the snot out of you before, and you'd better help me out now. I sent a letter along with Rosencrantz and Guildenstern ordering Hamlet's immediate execution. You'd better do it, England. This is very important.