~ Gertrude ~
Oh, this is sadness.
What a scene is described to me!
My Hamlet, raving cruelly at good Ophelia,
and that poor woman, subjected to this;
first lost in tears, and then grown cold;
her father says that in another moment
he would have stepped from concealment
and dragged my son from his daughter,
to protect her from further flogging of the heart.
My husband, who also seemed shaken,
seemed to speak more to himself
than to me, as he related this:
“Love! His affections do not that way tend;
what he said, though it lacked form a little,
was not like madness.
There's something in his soul,
over which his melancholy sits on brood;
and I do doubt the hatch and the disclose
will be some danger: which for to prevent,
I have in quick determination
thus set it down: he shall with speed to England.
Yes, to England send him, or confine him where
our wisdom best shall think.
Madness in great ones must not unwatched go.”
He would send Hamlet away?
Now I am not merely troubled, but afraid.
I pray to Claudius to act not so swiftly.
Let us watch the play tonight
that Hamlet has seen fit to arrange;
let us see if in such company
he is more of himself.
Then I shall call him to my room afterward
that we may speak together.
I am his mother, and he will not deny me
the truth of what lies behind these actions.
I would have never dreamed my son
could descend to hurt her so;
her weeping I can well understand,
but the coldness that her father says followed
brings a fearful chill to my spirit as well.
And Claudius now speaks of Hamlet
as if the Prince of Denmark
were an enemy or a lunatic.
He agrees to withhold this edict of banishment,
but will not agree
to my meeting with Hamlet alone
once tonight’s play is done.
He says that Polonius must hide himself there,
so to once again silently judge what transpires;
or to come to my aid, should I need it.
Against my own son?
Has our world, our family come to this?
I must lay my hopes on the play
that Hamlet seems so keen for us to share.
I must smile tonight,
and give all outward appearance
of happiness and peace,
so perhaps my son may seize upon this
as a lost mariner
would an island in a tempest.
Then we shall see
if the son I once thought grown
to wisdom and kindness,