Act 3, Scene 3, Page 4
To take him in the purging of his soul
When he is fit and seasoned for his passage?
Up, sword, and know thou a more horrid hent.
When he is drunk asleep, or in his rage,
Or in th' incestuous pleasure of his bed,
At game a-swearing, or about some act
That has no relish of salvation in ’t—
Then trip him, that his heels may kick at heaven,
And that his soul may be as damned and black
As hell, whereto it goes. My mother stays
This physic but prolongs thy sickly days.
So is it really revenge for me if I kill Claudius right when he is confessing his sins, in perfect condition for a trip to heaven? No. Away, sword, and wait for a better moment to kill him. (he puts his sword away) When he’s sleeping off some drunken orgy, or having incestuous sex, or swearing while he gambles, or committing some other act that has no goodness about it—that’s when I’ll trip him up and send him to hell with his heels kicking up at heaven. My mother’s waiting. The king’s trying to cure himself with prayer, but all he’s doing is keeping himself alive a little longer.
(rises) My words fly up, my thoughts remain below.
Words without thoughts never to heaven go.
(rising) My words fly up toward heaven, but my thoughts stay down here on earth. Words without thoughts behind them will never make it to heaven.