Hamlet

Act 3, Sc. 2, lines 347-375: Explain how, aside from lying, Hamlet thinks Guildenstern is "playing" him.

[Enter the Players with recorders]

Hamlet. Oh, the recorders. Let me see one. To withdraw with,

why do you go about to recover the wind of me, as if you

would drive me into a toil?

Guildenstern. Oh my lord, if my duty be too bold, my love is

too unmannerly.

Hamlet. I do not well understand that. Will you play upon

this pipe?

Guildenstern. My lord, I cannot.

Hamlet. I pray you.

Guildenstern. Believe me, I cannot.

Hamlet. I do beseech you.

Guildenstern. I know no touch of'it, my lord.

Hamlet. It is as easy as lying. Govern these ventages with

your fingers and thumb, give it breath with your mouth, and

it will discourse most eloquent music. Look you, these are

the stops.

Guildenstern. But these cannot I command to any utterance

of harmony. I have not the skill.

Hamlet. Why, look you now, how unworthy a thing you

make of me. You would play upon me, you would seem to

know my stops, you would pluck out the heart of my

mystery, you would sound me from my lowest note to the

top of my compass; and there is much music, excellent voice,

in this little organ, yet cannot you make it speak. Why, do

you think I am easier to be played on than a pipe? Call me

what instrument you will, though you can fret me, you

cannot play upon me.

[Enter Polonius]

God bless you, sir.

Polonius. My lord, the Queen would speak with you, and

presently.

Hamlet. Do you see yonder cloud that's almost in shape of a

camel?

Polonius. By th'mass and 'tis like a camel indeed.

Hamlet. Methinks it is like a weasel.

Polonius. It is backed like a weasel.

Hamlet. Or like a whale.

Polonius. Very like a whale.

Hamlet. Then I will come to my mother by and by. [Aside]

They fool me to the top of my bent. I will come by and by.

Polonius. I will say so.

[Exit Polonius]

Hamlet. 'By and by' is easily said. Leave me, friends.

[Exit all but Hamlet]

'Tis now the very witching time of night,

When churchyards yawn and hell itself breathes out

Contagion to this world. Now could I drink hot blood,

And do such bitter business as the day

Would quake to look on. Soft, now to my mother.

O heart, lose not thy nature.

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