Rosencrantz and Guildenstern Are Dead

Sc. 1, Lines 1-32: Describe the Queen's mental state and the King's reaction to her news.

To the Queen, enter King, with Rosencrantz and


King. There's matter in these sighs, these profound heaves,

You must translate. 'Tis fit we understand them.

Where is your son?

Queen. Bestow this place on us a little while.

[exeunt Rosencrantz and Guildenstern]

Ah, my good lord, what have I seen tonight!

King. What, Gertrude, how does Hamlet?

Queen. 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.

King. Oh, 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 everyone.

Alas, how shall this bloody deed be answered?

It will be laid to us, whose providence

Should have kept short, restrained, 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?

Queen. To draw apart the body he hath killed,

O'er whom his very madness, like some ore

Among a mineral of metals base,

Shows itself pure: he weeps for what is done.

King. Oh 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.

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Last updated by jill d #170087
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In this scene, the Queen feels threatened and shows great remorse for her part in Hamlet's perceived madness.