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Take these again, for to the noble mind
Rich gifts wax poor when givers prove unkind.
There, my lord.
their value when the givers turn out not to be so nice. There, my lord.

105
HAMLET
Ha, ha, are you honest?
HAMLET
Ha ha, are you good?

OPHELIA
My lord?
OPHELIA
Excuse me?

HAMLET
Are you fair?
HAMLET
Are you beautiful?

OPHELIA
What means your lordship?
OPHELIA
My lord, what are you talking about?

HAMLET
That if you be honest and fair, your honesty should admit no discourse to your beauty.
HAMLET
I’m just saying that if you’re good and beautiful, your goodness should have nothing to do with your beauty.

OPHELIA
Could beauty, my lord, have better commerce than with honesty?
OPHELIA
But could beauty be related to anything better than goodness?

HAMLET
Ay, truly, for the power of beauty will sooner transform honesty from what it is to a bawd than the force of honesty can translate beauty into his likeness. This was sometime a paradox, but now the time gives it proof. I did love you once.
HAMLET
Sure, since beauty’s power can more easily change a good girl into a whore than the power of goodness can change a beautiful girl into a virgin. This used to be a great puzzle, but now I’ve solved it. I used to love you.

OPHELIA
Indeed, my lord, you made me believe so.
OPHELIA
You certainly made me believe you did, my lord.

HAMLET
You should not have believed me, for virtue cannot so inoculate our old stock but we shall relish of it. I loved you not.
HAMLET
You shouldn’t have believed me, since we’re all rotten at the core, no matter how hard we try to be virtuous. I didn’t love you.

OPHELIA
I was the more deceived.
OPHELIA
Then I guess I was misled.

HAMLET
Get thee to a nunnery. Why wouldst thou be a breeder of sinners? I am myself indifferent honest, but yet I could accuse me of such things that it were better my mother had not borne me.
HAMLET
Get yourself to a

convent

“Nunnery” could mean either convent or brothel.

convent
at once. Why would you want to give birth to more sinners? I’m fairly good myself, but even so I could accuse myself of such horrible crimes that it would’ve been better if my mother had never given birth to me. and

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Hamlet (No Fear Shakespeare)

1984 (SparkNotes Literature Guide Series)