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    HAMLET

    A monologue from the play by William Shakespeare


    HAMLET: O, what a rogue and peasant slave am I!
    Is it not monstrous that this player here,
    But in a fiction, in a dream of passion,
    Could force his soul so to his own conceit
    That from her working all his visage wanned,
    Tears in his eyes, distraction in his aspect,
    A broken voice, and his whole function suiting
    With forms to his conceit? And all for nothing,
    For Hecuba!
    What's Hecuba to him, or he to Hecuba,
    That he should weep for her? What would he do
    Had he the motive and the cue for passion
    That I have? He would drown the stage with tears
    And cleave the general ear with horrid speech,
    Make mad the guilty and appal the free,
    Confound the ignorant, and amaze indeed
    The very faculties of eyes and ears.
    Yet I,
    A dull and muddy-mettled rascal, peak
    Like John-a-dreams, unpregnant for my cause,
    And can say nothing. No, not for a king,
    Upon whose property and most dear life
    A damned defeat was made. Am I a coward?
    Who calls me villain? breaks my pate across?
    Plucks off my beard and blows it in my face?
    Tweaks me by the nose? gives me the lie i' the throat
    As deep as to the lungs? Who does me this?
    Ha, 'swounds, I should take it, for it cannot be
    But I am pigeon-livered and lack gall
    To make oppression bitter, or ere this
    I should ha' fatted all the region kites
    With this slave's offal. Bloody, bawdy villain!
    Remorseless, treacherous, lecherous, kindless villain!
    O, vengeance!
    Why, what an ass am I! This is most brave,
    That I, the son of a dear father murdered,
    Prompted to my revenge by heaven and hell,
    Must like a whore unpack my heart with words
    And fall a-cursing like a very drab,
    A stallion! Fie upon't, foh! About, my brains.
    Hum --
    I have heard that guilty creatures sitting at a play
    Have by the very cunning of the scene
    Been struck so to the soul that presently
    They have proclaimed their malefactions.
    For murder, though it have no tongue, will speak
    With most miraculous organ. I'll have these players
    Play something like the murder of my father
    Before mine uncle. I'll observe his looks.
    I'll tent him to the quick. If 'a do blench,
    I know my course. The spirit that I have seen
    May be a devil, and the devil hath power
    T' assume a pleasing shape, yea, and perhaps
    Out of my weakness and my melancholy,
    As he is very potent with such spirits,
    Abuses me to damn me. I'll have grounds
    More relative than this. The play's the thing
    Wherein I'll catch the conscience of the king.

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