Skip over navigation

Original Text

Modern Text


GUILDENSTERN
Prison, my lord?
GUILDENSTERN
Prison, my lord?

HAMLET
Denmark’s a prison.
HAMLET
Denmark’s a prison.

ROSENCRANTZ
Then is the world one.
ROSENCRANTZ
Then I guess the whole world is one.

HAMLET
A goodly one, in which there are many confines, wards, and dungeons, Denmark being one o' th' worst.
HAMLET
Yes, quite a large one, with many cells and dungeons, Denmark being one of the worst.

ROSENCRANTZ
We think not so, my lord.
ROSENCRANTZ
We don’t think so, my lord.

HAMLET
Why, then, ’tis none to you, for there is nothing either good or bad, but thinking makes it so. To me it is a prison.
HAMLET
Well, then it isn’t one to you, since nothing is really good or bad in itself—it’s all what a person thinks about it. And to me, Denmark is a prison.

ROSENCRANTZ
Why then, your ambition makes it one. 'Tis too narrow for your mind.
ROSENCRANTZ
That must be because you’re so ambitious. It’s too small for your large mind.

HAMLET
O God, I could be bounded in a nutshell and count myself a king of infinite space, were it not that I have bad dreams.
HAMLET
Small? No, I could live in a walnut shell and feel like the king of the universe. The real problem is that I have bad dreams.

GUILDENSTERN
Which dreams indeed are ambition, for the very substance of the ambitious is merely the shadow of a dream.
GUILDENSTERN
Dreams are a sign of ambition, since ambition is nothing more than the shadow of a dream.

245
HAMLET
A dream itself is but a shadow.
HAMLET
But a dream itself is just a shadow.

ROSENCRANTZ
Truly, and I hold ambition of so airy and light a quality that it is but a shadow’s shadow.
ROSENCRANTZ
Exactly. In fact, I consider ambition to be so light and airy that it’s only the shadow of a shadow.

HAMLET
Then are our beggars bodies, and our monarchs and outstretched heroes the beggars' shadows. Shall we to th' court? For by my fay, I cannot reason.
HAMLET
Then I guess beggars are the ones with bodies, while ambitious kings and heroes are just the shadows of beggars. Should we go inside? I seem to be losing my mind a bit.

ROSENCRANTZ, GUILDENSTERN
We’ll wait upon you.
ROSENCRANTZ, GUILDENSTERN
We’re at your service, whatever you say.

More Help

Previous Next
s