Narrator: The tragedy of Hamlet: This is the tragedy
of a sensitive youth, an only son who worshipped
his father. His father died suddenly and his
mother married again shortly after. The son
was heart-broken; he could neither understand,
nor reconcile himself to this situation. Out
of such common stuff, familiar to all of us in
modern daily life, did Shakespeare fashion this
immortal play. The playwrights of our own time,
might choose to unfold this story in a contem-
porary setting--a household in the suburbs of
Detroit, a mansion on Long Island, a ranch in
Texas. But Shakespeare, in the fashion of his
time, makes Hamlet a Prince, his father a King.
And in the sweep of his poetic imagination, he
carries us to the cold shores of the North Sea,
to the castle of Elsinore in Denmark. It is mid-
night. On the rough stone parapet swept by icy
winds from Norway stands a sentry at his post.
Francisco: Stand ho! Who is there?
Horatio: (OFF) Friends to this ground.
Marcellus: (IN) And liegemen to the Dane.
Bernardo: Welcome, Horatio; welcome, good Marcellus.
Marcellus: (FADING IN) What has this thing appeared
Bernardo: I have seen nothing.
Marcellus: Horatio says 'tis but our fantasy,
And will not let belief take hold of him
Touching this dreaded sight, twice seen of us:
Therefore I have entreated him along
With us to watch the minutes of this night,
That if again this apparition come,
He may approve our eyes and speak to it.
Horatio: Tush, tush, 'twill not appear.
Bernardo: Sit down awhile;
And let us once again assail your ears,
That are so fortified against our story,
What we have two nights seen.
Horatio: Well, sit we down,
And let us hear Bernardo speak of this.
Bernardo: Last night of all,
When yond same star that's westward from the pole
Had made his course to illume that part of heaven
Where now it burns, Marcellus and myself-------.
BIZ: (GHOST EFFECT)
Marcellus: Peace, break thee off.
Francisco: Look, where it comes again!
Bernardo: In the same figure like the King that's dead.
Francisco: 'Tis here!
EFFECT: (COCK CROW)
Marcellus: 'Tis gone!
Is it not like the King?
Horatio: As thou art to thyself.
Bernardo: It was about to speak, when the cock crew.
Horatio: And then it started, like a guilty thing
Upon a fearful summons.
But look, the morn, in russet mantle clad,
Walks o'er the dew of yon high eastward hill:
Break we our watch up: and by my advice,
Let us impart what we have seen tonight
Unto young Hamlet; for, upon my life,
This spirit, dumb to us, will speak to him.
SOUND: (GONG AND REVERBERATION EFFECT)
Narrator: In the great hall of the castle, hung with
battle flags and the emblems of royalty-
gaily chatting courtiers and their ladies
crowd about the throne of the new King,
Hamlet's uncle. Beside him sits his newly-
wedded Queen-Hamlet's mother. Hamlet himself,
a sober figure in black stands apart.
BIZ: (AD LIB MURMURS)ORCHESTRA: (TRUMPET)BIZ: (AD LIB DIES OUT)
Narrator: The King is rising.
King: Though yet of Hamlet our dear brother's death
The memory be green, and that it us befitted
To bear our hearts in grief, and our whole kingdom
To be contracted in one brow of woe.
Yet so far hath discretion fought with nature
That we with wisest sorrow think on him,
Together with remembrance of ourselves.
Therefore our sometime sister, now our queen,
The imperial jointress to this warlike state;
For all, our thanks.
BIZ: (AD LIB POLITE MURMURS)
King: But now,
BIZ: (MURMURS DIE)
King: my cousin Hamlet, and my son-
Hamlet: A little more than kin, and less than kind!
King: How is it that the clouds still hang on you?
Hamlet: Not so, my lord. I am too much in the sun.
Queen: Good Hamlet, cast thy nighted colour off,
And let thine eye look like a friend on Denmark.
Do not for ever with thy vailed lids
Seek for thy noble father in the dust.
Thou know'st 'tis common: all that lives must die,
Passing through nature to eternity.
Hamlet: Ay, madam, it is common.
Queen: If it be,
Why seems it so particular with thee?
Hamlet: Seems, madam! Nay, it is. I know not "seems"!
'Tis not alone my inky cloak, good mother,
Together with all forms, moods, shapes of grief,
That can denote me truly, these indeed seem,
For they are actions that a man might play;
But I have that within which passeth show;
These but the trappings and the suits of woe.
King: 'Tis sweet and commendable in your nature, Hamlet,
To give these mourning duties to your father;
But you must know, your father lost a father;
That father lost, lost his, and the survivor bound
In filial obligation for some term
To do obsequious sorrow. But to persever
In obstinate condolement is a course
Of impious stubbornness. For your intent
In going back to school in Wittenberg,
It is most retrograde to our desire;
And we beseech you, bend you to remain
Here in the cheer and comfort of our eye,
Our chiefest courtier, cousin, and our son.
Queen: Let not thy mother lose her prayers, Hamlet.
I pray thee stay with us, go not to Wittenberg.
Hamlet: I shall in all my best obey you, madam.
King: Why, 'tis a loving and a fair reply.
Be as ourself in Denmark. Madam, come.
This gentle and unforc'd accord of Hamlet
Sits smiling to my heart. (FADING) Come away.
Hamlet: O that this too too solid flesh would melt,
Thaw, and resolve itself into a dew!
Or that the Everlasting had not fix'd
His canon 'gainst self-slaughter! O God! God!
How weary, stale, flat, and unprofitable
Seem to me all the uses of this world!
Fie on't! ah, fie! 'Tis an unweeded garden,
That grows to seed: things rank and gross in nature
Possess it merely. That it should come to this!
But two months dead! nay, not so much, not two:
So excellent a king; that was to this,
Hyperion to a satyr: so loving to my mother
That he might not beteem the winds of heaven
Visit her face too roughly. Heaven and earth!
Must I remember? Why, she would hang on him
As if increase of appetite had grown
By what it fed on; and yet, within a month-
Let me not think on't- Frailty, thy name is woman!-
A little month, or ere those shoes were old
With which she followed my poor father's body
Like Niobe, all tears- why she, even she,-
O God! a beast that wants discourse of reason
Would have mourn'd longer,- married with my uncle;
My father's brother, but no more like my father
Than I to Hercules; within a month:
Ere yet the salt of most unrighteous tears
Had left the flushing in her galled eyes,
It is not, nor it cannot come to good.
But break my heart, for I must hold my tongue!
Horatio: (OFF) Hail to your lordship!
Hamlet: I am glad to see you well.
Horatio!- or I do forget myself.
Horatio: The same, my lord, and your poor servant ever.
Hamlet: Sir, my good friend- I'll change that name with you.
And what make you from Wittenberg, Horatio?
Marcellus: My good lord?
Hamlet: I am very glad to see you. Good even, sir.
But what, in faith, make you from Wittenberg?
Horatio: My lord, I came to see your father's funeral.
Hamlet: I prithee do not mock me, fellow student.
I think it was to see my mother's wedding.
Horatio: Indeed, my lord, it followed hard upon.
Hamlet: Thrift, thrift, Horatio! The funeral baked-meats
Did coldly furnish forth the marriage tables.
Would I had met my dearest foe in heaven
Or ever I had seen that day, Horatio!
My father!- methinks I see my father.
Horatio: O where, my lord?
Hamlet: In my mind's eye, Horatio.
Horatio: I saw him once. He was a goodly king.
Hamlet: He was a man, take him for all in all.
I shall not look upon his like again.
Horatio: My lord, I think I saw him yesternight.
Hamlet: Saw? Who?
Horatio: My lord, the king your father.
Hamlet: The king my father!
But where was this, Marcellus?
Marcellus: My lord, upon the platform where we watched.
Hamlet: 'Tis very strange.
Horatio: As I do live, my honoured lord, 'tis true.
Hamlet: Indeed, indeed, sirs, but this troubles me.
Hold you the watch to-night?
and We do, my lord.
Hamlet: Armed, say you?
and Armed, my lord.
Hamlet: From top to toe?
and My lord, from head to foot.
Hamlet: I will watch to-night.
Perchance 'twill walk again.
Horatio: I warrant it will.
Hamlet: If it assume my noble father's person,
I'll speak to it, though hell itself should gape
And bid me hold my peace. So, fare you well.
Upon the platform, 'twixt eleven and twelve,
I'll visit you.
All: Our duty to your honour.
Hamlet: My father's spirit in arms! all is not well.
I doubt some foul play; would the night were come!
Till then sit still, my soul: foul deeds will rise,
Though all the earth o'erwhelm them, to men's eyes.
SOUND (GONG- FADES INTO WIND EFFECT)
Hamlet: The air bites shrewdly; it is very cold.
Horatio: It is a nipping and an eager air.
Hamlet: What hour now?
Horatio: I think it lacks of twelve.
Hamlet: No, it is struck.
Horatio: Indeed? I heard it not. It then draws near the season
Wherein the spirit held his wont to walk.
SOUND (DISTANT TRUMPETS AND THUNDERSTORM OFF)(GHOST EFFECT- WIND UP AND DOWN)
Horatio: Look, my lord, it comes!
Hamlet: Angels and ministers of grace defend us!
Be thou a spirit of health or goblin damned,
Thou comest in such a questionable shape
That I will speak to thee: I'll call thee Hamlet,
King, father, royal Dane: O, answer me!
Say, why is this? wherefore? What should we do?
Marcellus: It waves you to a more removed ground:
But do not go with it!
Horatio: No, by no means.
Hamlet: It will not speak; then I will follow it.
Horatio: Do not, my lord.
Hamlet: Hold off your hands!
Horatio: Be ruled. You shall not go.
Hamlet: Unhand me, gentlemen.
By heaven, I'll make a ghost of him that lets me!
I say, away! Go on; I'll follow thee.
SOUND (WIND UP. HOLD WITH THUNDERSTORM FOR TRANSITION.THEN FADE INTO ECHO CHAMBER EFFECT)
Hamlet: Where wilt thou lead me? Speak: I'll go no further.
Ghost: Mark me.
Hamlet: I will.
Ghost: My hour is almost come,
When I to sulph'rous and tormenting flames
Must render up myself.
Hamlet: Alas, poor ghost!
Ghost: Pity me not, but lend thy serious hearing
To what I shall unfold.
Hamlet: Speak. I am bound to hear.
Ghost: So art thou to revenge, when thou shalt hear.
Ghost: I am thy father's spirit,
Doom'd for a certain term to walk the night,
And for the day confin'd to fast in fires,
Till the foul crimes done in my days of nature
Are burnt and purged away. List, list, O, list!
If thou didst ever thy dear father love-
Hamlet: O God!
Ghost: Revenge his foul and most unnatural murder.
Ghost: Murder most foul, as in the best it is;
But this most foul, strange, and unnatural.
Hamlet: Haste me to know't, that I, with wings as swift
As meditation or the thoughts of love,
May sweep to my revenge.
Ghost: Now, Hamlet, hear.
Sleeping within my orchard,
My custom always of the afternoon,
Upon my secure hour thy uncle stole,
With juice of cursed hebona in a vial,
And in the porches of my ears did pour
The leperous distilment.
Thus was I, sleeping, by a brother's hand
Of life, of crown, of queen, at once dispatch'd;
No reckoning made, but sent to my account
With all my imperfections on my head.
Hamlet: O horrible! O horrible! Most horrible!
Ghost: If thou hast nature in thee, bear it not.
Let not the royal bed of Denmark be
A couch for luxury and damned incest.
But--fare thee well at once!
The glow worm shows the matin to be near
And 'gins to pale his uneffectual fire.
(FADING) Adieu, adieu, Hamlet, remember me.
Hamlet: Remember thee!
Ay, thou poor ghost, while memory holds a seat
In this distracted globe. Remember thee!
Yea, from the table of my memory
I'll wipe away all trivial fond records,
All saws of books, all forms, all pressures past
That youth and observation copied there;
And thy commandment all alone shall live
Within the book and volume of my brain.
Rest, rest, perturbed spirit!
(ORCHESTRA: UP AND FADE)
Narrator: The cold light of day- finds young Hamlet balked
by a sense of his inadequacy, to meet the horrid
problem of revenge. He is his father's heir. Shall
he murder his uncle- on the word of a ghost? In
this turmoil of indecision, his actions and words
become wild and incoherent. He toys with the
idea of death and the peace it might bring him.
Hamlet: To be, or not to be; that is the question:
Whether 'tis nobler in the mind to suffer
The slings and arrows of outrageous fortune,
Or to take arms against a sea of troubles,
And by opposing [end] them? To die: to sleep;
No more; and by a sleep to say we end
The heartache, and the thousand natural shocks
That flesh is heir to, 'tis a consummation
Devoutly to be wished. To die, to sleep;
To sleep: perchance to dream: ay, there's the rub;
For in that sleep of death what dreams may come
When we have shuffled off this mortal coil,
Must give us pause: there's the respect
That makes calamity of so long life;
For who would bear the whips and scorns of time,
The oppressor's wrong, the proud man's contumely,
The pangs of despised love, the law's delay,
The insolence of office, and the spurns
That patient merit of the unworthy takes,
When he himself might his quietus make
With a bare bodkin? who would fardels bear,
To grunt and sweat under a weary life,
But that the dread of something after death,
The undiscovered country from whose bourn
No traveller returns, puzzles the will
And makes us rather bear those ills we have
Than fly to others that we know not of?
Thus conscience does make cowards of us all;
And thus the native hue of resolution
Is sicklied o'er with the pale cast of thought,
And enterprises of great pith and moment
With this regard their currents turn awry,
And lose the name of action.
(ORCHESTRA: UP IN SLOW CRESCENDO AND DOWN)
Narrator: Hamlet's strange behaviour has now become the
common gossip of the court. Old Polonius, Court
Chamberlain, believes that he is insane and meet-
ing him in the hallway draws him into conversation.
Polonius: How does my good Lord Hamlet?
Hamlet: (OFF) Well, God-a-mercy.
Polonius: Do you know me, my lord?
Hamlet: (FADING IN) Excellent well; you are a fishmonger.
Polonius: Not I, my lord.
Hamlet: Then I would you were so honest a man.
Polonius: Honest, my lord!
Hamlet: Ay, sir. To be honest, as this world goes, is to
be one man picked out of ten thousand.
Polonius: What do you read, my lord?
Hamlet: Words, words, words.
Polonius: What is the matter, my lord?
Hamlet: Between who?
Polonius: I mean, the matter that you read, my lord.
Hamlet: Slanders, sir; for the satirical rogue says here
that old men have grey beards; that their faces
are wrinkled; their eyes purging thick amber and
plum-tree gum; and that they have a plentiful
lack of wit, together with most weak hams.
Polonius: (WHISPERING) Though this be madness, yet there
is a method in't.
(VOICE) Will You walk out of the air, my lord?
Hamlet: Into my grave?
Polonius: Indeed, that is out o' th' air. (WHISPER) How
pregnant sometimes his replies are.
(VOICE UP) My honourable lord, I will most
humbly take my leave of you.
Hamlet: You cannot, sir, take from me anything that I will
more willingly part withal, except my life, except
my life, except my life.
Polonius: (FADING) Fare you well, my lord.
Hamlet: These tedious old fools!
Narrator: The King and Queen are now thoroughly perturbed.
They send for Hamlet's old friends, Rosencrantz
and Guildenstern, hoping to charm him out of his
SOUND (AD LIB MURMURS OFF MIKE)
Polonius: (OFF MIKE) You go to seek the Lord Hamlet;
there he is.
Rosencrantz: (OFF) God save you, sir! (FADING IN) My honour'd lord!
Guildenstern: My most dear lord!
Hamlet: My excellent good friends! How dost thou,
Guildenstern? Ah, Rosencrantz! What's the news?
What make you at Elsinore?
Rosencrantz: To visit you, my lord; no other occasion.
Hamlet: Beggar that I am, I am even poor in thanks; but
I thank you; Were you not sent for? Is it your
own inclining? Is it a free visitation? Come,
deal justly with me: Come, come; Nay, speak!
Guildenstern: What should we say, my lord?
Hamlet: Why, anything, but to the purpose.
I know the good King and Queen have sent for you.
Rosencrantz: To what end, my lord?
Hamlet: That you must teach me. By the right of our
fellowship, be even and direct with me, whether
you were sent for or no.
Guildenstern: My lord, we were sent for.
Hamlet: I will tell you why; so shall my anticipation
prevent your discovery, and your secrecy to the
king moult no feather. I have of late--but
wherefore I know not--lost all my mirth. Man
delights me not; no, nor woman neither, though
by your smiling you seem to say so.
Rosencrantz: My lord, there was no such stuff in my thoughts.
Hamlet: Why did you laugh then, when I said 'Man delights not me'?
Rosencrantz: To think, my lord, if you delight not in man,
what lenten entertainment the players shall
receive from you: we coted them on the way; and
hither are they coming to offer you service.
Hamlet: He that plays the king shall be welcome; his
Majesty shall have tribute of me;
SOUND (TRUMPET IN DISTANCE WITH MUFFLED TRAP DRUM)
Guildenstern: There are the players.
Polonius: (FADING IN)- My lord, I have news to tell you.
Hamlet: My lord, I have news to tell you. When Roscius
was an actor in Rome--.
Polonius: The actors are come hither, my lord.
Hamlet: Buz, Buz!
SOUND (DRUMS LOUDER)
Polonius: The best actors in the world, either for tragedy,
comedy, history, pastoral, pastoral-comical,
individual, or poem unlimited.
SOUND (CUT DRUMS)
Player: My lord!
Hamlet: You are welcome, master player. I am glad to see
thee well. Come, we'll have a speech straight:
give us a taste of your quality; come, a passionate
Player: What speech, my lord?
Hamlet: I heard thee speak me a speech once, but it was
never acted. Or if it was, not above once; for
the play, I remember, pleased not the million;
'twas caviare to the general: if it live in your
memory, begin at this line: let me see, let me
see-- 'The rugged Pyrrhus, like the Hyrcanian
beasts,' it is not so: it begins with Pyrrhus:-
'The rugged Pyrrhus, he whose sable arms'-
So, proceed you.
Player: 'The rugged Pyrrhus, he whose sable arms
Black as his purpose, did the night resemble...'
Hamlet: Say on: come to Hecuba.
Player: 'But who, O who, had seen the mobled queen---!'
Hamlet: "The mobled queen?"
Polonius: That's good; 'Mobled queen' is good.
Player: 'run barefoot up and down, a clout upon that head
Where late the diadem stood, and for a robe
A blanket, in the alarum of fear caught up.
But if the gods themselves did see her then,
When she saw Pyrrhus make malicious sport
In mincing with his sword her husband's limbs
The instant burst of clamor that she made,
Would have made milch the burning eyes of heaven,
And passion in the gods.'
Polonius: Look, whether he has not turned his color and
has tears in his eyes. Pray you, no more.
Hamlet: 'Tis well. I'll have thee speak out the rest of
this soon. Good my lord, will you see the players
Polonius: Come, sir.
Hamlet: Follow him, friend. We'll hear a play to-morrow.
SOUND (AD LIB MURMURS - FOOTSTEPS)
Hamlet: Dost thou hear me, old friend?
Player: Aye, my lord.
Hamlet: Can you play 'The Murder of Gonzago'?
Player: Aye, my lord.
Hamlet: We'll ha't to-morrow night. You could, for a need,
study a speech of some dozen or sixteen lines,
which I would set down and insert in't, could you
Player: Aye, my lord.
Hamlet: Very well. Follow that lord.
Ay, so, God be wi' ye!
MUSIC (FADING OUT)SOUND (MURMURS FADE OUT)
Hamlet: Now I am alone.
O what a rogue and peasant slave am I!
Is it not monstrous that this player here,
But in a fiction, in a dream of passion,
Could force his soul so to his own conceit
That, from her working, all his visage wann'd,
Tears in his eyes, distraction in's aspect,
A broken voice, and his whole function suiting
With forms to his conceit? and for nothing!
What's Hecuba to him, or he to Hecuba,
That he should weep for her? What would he do,
Had he the motive and the cue for passion
That I have? He would drown the stage with tears.
Yet I, a dull and muddy-mettled rascal, peak
Like John-A-dreams, unpregnant of my cause,
And can say nothing; No, not for a king,
Upon whose property, and most dear life
A damned defeat was made. Am I a coward?
Who calls me villain? Breaks my pate across?
Plucks off my beard and blows it in my face?
Tweaks me by the nose? gives me the lie i'
As deep as to the lungs? Who does me this? Ha!
'Swounds, I should take it, for it cannot be
But I am pigeon-livered and lack gall
To make oppression bitter, or ere this
I should have fatted all the region kites
With this slave's offal: Bloody, bawdy, villain!
Remorseless, treacherous, lecherous, kindless villain!
Why, what an ass am I! This is most brave,
That I, the son of a dear father murder'd,
Prompted to my revenge by heaven and hell,
Must, like a bawd, unpack my heart with words
And fall a-cursing like a very drab, a scullion!
Fie upon't! foh! About, my brain! I have heard
That guilty creatures, sitting at a play,
Have by the very cunning of the scene
Been struck so to the soul that presently
They have proclaimed their malefactions;
For murder, though it have no tongue, will speak
With most miraculous organ. I'll have these players
Play something like the murder of my father
Before mine uncle: I'll observe his looks;
I'll tent him to the quick: if he but blench,
I know my course. The spirit that I have seen
Must be the devil; and the devil hath power
To assume a pleasing shape; yes, and perhaps
Out of my weakness and my melancholy,
As he is very potent with such spirits,
Abuses me to dam me. I'll have grounds
More relative than this: the play's the thing
Wherein I'll catch the conscience of the king.
ORCHESTRA: (UP IN CLIMAX)(FADE FOR STATION BREAK)(APPLAUSE)ORCHESTRA: (THEME IN AND BEHIND)
Smith: (announcer) You have just heard Part One of the
Columbia Network's production of "Hamlet" by
William Shakespeare, starring Burgess Meredith
and Grace George. Part Two will begin in just a
moment. This is the COLUMBIA....BROADCASTING SYSTEM.
Smith: (announcer) We continue now
with the Columbia Network's production of "Hamlet",
starring Burgess Meredith and Grace George.
ORCHESTRA: (THEME IN AND DOWN FOR)
Smith: (announcer) Mr. Conway Tearle returns to the
microphone as narrator.
Narrator: "The play's the thing, wherein I'll catch the
conscience of the king."
At last Hamlet resolves on action. And it is
time. For his uncle has determined to send him
away to England, and to have him murdered
secretly. Tonight, however, when the strolling
players present a scene duplicating the circum-
stances of his father's death, Hamlet hopes to
test his uncle's guilt. The court, delighted to
be out of mourning for the dead king, is determin-
ed to make the play a gala occasion. And in a
moment the blaring trumpets will announce the
arrival of the King and Queen, of old Polonius,
the court chamberlain, of Ophelia, his daughter
whom Hamlet loved before this tragic cloud
descended on him. But now in a fidget of last
minute nervousness, Hamlet advises the actors.
Horatio: (FADING IN) Here, sweet lord, at your service.
Hamlet: There is a play to-night before the King.
One scene of it comes near the circumstance
Which I have told thee of my father's death.
I prithee, when thou seest that act afoot,
Even with the very comment of thy soul
Observe mine uncle: if his occulted guilt
Do not itself unkennel in one speech,
It is a damned ghost that we have seen!
SOUND (TRUMPET WITH TRAP DRUM)
(MURMUR FADING IN - "THE KING" ETC)
Hamlet: He is coming to the play. (FADING) Get you a
place,- Your Majesty!
King: How fares our cousin Hamlet?
Hamlet: Excellent, i' faith; of the chameleon's dish
I eat the air, promise-crammed. You cannot feed
King: I have nothing with this answer, Hamlet:
these words are not mine.
Hamlet: No, nor mine now. Polonius, be the players ready?
Polonius: Ay, my lord. They stay upon your patience.
Queen: Come hither, my son Hamlet, sit by me.
Hamlet: No, good mother. Here's metal more attractive.
The fair Ophelia.
Ophelia: You are merry, my lord.
Hamlet: What should a man do but be merry? For, look
you, how cheerfully my mother looks, and my father
died within these two hours.
Ophelia: Nay 'tis twice two months, my lord.
Hamlet: So long? O heavens, die two months ago, and not
SOUND (TRUMPET WITH TRAP DRUM)
Hamlet: We shall know by this fellow.
ORCHESTRA (MUSIC BEGINS)
Prologue: For us, and for our tragedy,
Here stooping to your clemency,
We beg your hearing patiently.
Hamlet: Is this a prologue, or the posy of a ring?
Ophelia: 'Tis brief, my lord.
Hamlet: As woman's love.
SOUND (AD LIB MURMURS. "A KING AND A QUEEN" SEE?"THE PLAY BEGINS" ETC)
Player King: (SLIGHTLY OFF MIKE) Full thirty times hath
Phoebus' cart gone round Neptune's salt wash
and Tellus' orbed ground,
Since love our hearts and Hymen did our hands
Unite comutual in most sacred bands.
Player Queen: (SLIGHTLY OFF MIKE) So many journeys may the
sun and moon
Make us again count o'er ere love be done.
Player King: Faith, I must leave thee love and shortly too;
My operant powers their functions leave to do;
And thou shalt live in this fair world behind
Player Queen: O, confound the rest!
Such love must needs be treason in my breast.
In second husband let me be accurst
None wed the second but who kill'd the first.
Hamlet: Wormwood, wormwood!
Player King: I do believe you think what now you speak,
But what we do determine oft we break.
So think thou wilt no second husband wed;
But die thy thoughts when thy first lord
Player Queen: Both here and hence pursue me lasting strife,
If, once a widow, ever I be wife.
Player King: 'Tis deeply sworn. Sweet, leave me here a
My spirits grow dull and fain I would beguile
The tedious day with sleep.
Player Queen: Sleep rock thy brain,
(FADING) And never come mischance between us
Hamlet: Mother, how like you this play?
Queen: The lady doth protest too much, methinks.
Hamlet: O, but she'll keep her word.
King: What do you call the play?
Hamlet: The Mouse-trap. Marry, how? Tropically.
This play is the image of a murder done in
Player: (SLIGHTLY OFF MIKE) Thoughts black,
Hamlet: Begin, murderer - leave thy damnable faces
and begin (SAYING WITH PLAYER) 'hands apt,
drugs fit and time agreeing.'
Player: hands apt, drugs fit, and time agreeing.
Hamlet: This is one Lucianus, nephew to the King.
See, he poisons him i' the garden for's estate.
His name's Gonzago; the story is extant, and
written in choice Italian. You shall see anon how
the murderer gets the love of Gonzago's wife.
BIZ: (AD LIB MURMURS STRONG)
Polonius: Give o'er the play.
Ophelia: The King rises.
Hamlet: What, frighted with false fire!
King: Give me some light!
SOUND (SHOUTS OF 'LIGHTS, LIGHTS', ETC.)
King: (FADING) Away! Away!
Hamlet: (AS SHOUTS FADE AWAY) Why, let the stricken deer
The hart ungalled play;
For some must watch, while some must sleep;
So runs the world away.
SOUND (DEEP CHIMES STRIKE TWELVE STROKES - HAMLETSPEAKS ON FOURTH STROKE)
Hamlet: 'Tis now the very witching time of night,
When churchyards yawn and hell itself breaths out
Contagion to this world. Now could I drink hot blood
And do such bitter business as the day
Would quake to look on. Soft! now to my mother.
Narrator: Down the gloomy winding corridors strides Hamlet
through the portals of the royal chamber, towards
his mother's room. Polonius is hidden behind a
curtain in the room so that he may eavesdrop on
the conversation between the young prince and his mother.
SOUND (SOFT GONG)
Hamlet: (OFF) Mother, mother, mother!
SOUND (OF CURTAIN BEING DRAWN ON ROD)
Hamlet: (FADING IN) Now, mother, what's the matter?
Queen: Hamlet, thou hast thy father much offended.
Hamlet: Mother, you have my father much offended.
Queen: Come, come, you answer with an idle tongue.
Hamlet: Go, go, you question with a wicked tongue.
Queen: Why, how now, Hamlet! Have you forgot me?
Hamlet: No, by the rood, not so!
You are the Queen, your husband's brother's wife;
And, would it were not so - you are my mother.
Queen: Nay, then I'll set those to you that can speak.
Hamlet: You go not till I set you up a glass where you
may see the inmost part of you.
Come, come, and sit you down.
Queen: What wilt thou do?
Hamlet: You shall not budge.
Queen: Thou wilt not murder me?
Polonius: (OFF) What, ho! Help! help! help!
Hamlet: How now? a rat?
SOUND (METALLIC DRAWING SOUND AS SWORD)
Hamlet: Dead for a ducat, dead!
SOUND (RUSTLE OF CURTAIN)
Polonius: (OFF) O, I am slain!
SOUND (THUMP OF BODY)
Queen: O me, what hast thou done?
Hamlet: Nay, I know not. Is it the king?
Queen: O, what a rash and bloody deed is this.
Hamlet: A bloody deed! Almost as bad, good mother,
As kill a king, and marry with his brother.
Queen: As kill a king?
Hamlet: Ay, lady, 'twas my word.
SOUND (OF CURTAIN DRAWN ON ROD)
Thou wretched, rash, intruding fool, farewell!
I took thee for thy better.
Queen: O me! (SOBS)
Hamlet: Leave wringing of your hands: peace, sit you down,
And let me wring your heart; for so I shall
If it be made of penetrable stuff,
If damned custom have not brass'd it so
That it be proof and bulwark against sense.
Queen: What have I done, that thou dares wag thy tongue
In noise so rude against me?
Hamlet: Such an act
That blurs the grace and blush of modesty;
Queen: Ay me, what act,
That roars so loud and thunders in the index?
Hamlet: Look here upon this picture, and on this.
The counterfeit presentment of two brothers.
See, what a grace was seated on this brow;
Hyperion's curls, the front of Jove himself,
An eye like Mars to threaten and command;
A station like the herald Mercury
New lighted on a heaven-kissing hill;
A combination and a form indeed,
Where every god did seem to set his seal
To give the world assurance of a man.
This was your husband. Look you now, what follows;
Here is your husband; like a mildewed ear
Blasting his wholesome brother. Have you eyes?
Could you on this fair mountain leave to feed,
And batten on this moor? Ha! have you eyes?
You cannot call it love; for at your age
The hey-day in the blood is tame, it's humble
And waits upon the judgment; and what judgment
Would step from this to this?
Queen: O, Hamlet, speak no more:
Thou turn'st mine eyes into my very soul:
And there I see such black and grained spots
As will not leave their tinct.
Hamlet: A murderer and a villain!
A slave that is not twentieth part the tithe
Of your precedent lord.
A vice of Kings; A King of shreds and patches--.
BIZ: (GHOST EFFECT AS USED BEFORE)
Hamlet: Save me and hover o'er me with your wings,
You heavenly guards! What would your gracious
Queen: Alas, he's mad!
Hamlet: Do you not come your tardy son to chide,
That, laps'd in time and passion, lets go by
The important acting of your dread command?
Ghost: Do not forget! this visitation
Is but to whet thy almost blunted purpose.
But look amazement on thy mother sits.
Speak to her, Hamlet.
Hamlet: How is't with you, lady?
Queen: Alas, how is't with you
That you do bend your eye on vacancy,
And with th' encorporal air do hold discourse?
Hamlet: On him, on him! Look you how pale he glares!
Do you see nothing there?
Queen: Nothing at all; yet all that is I see.
Hamlet: Nor did you nothing hear?
Queen: No, nothing but ourselves.
Hamlet: Why, look you there! Look how it steals away!
My father, in his habit as he lived!
Look where he goes, even now, out at the portal!
Queen: This is the very coinage of your brain.
Hamlet: Mother, for love of grace,
Lay not that flattering unction to your soul,
That not your trespass but my madness speaks;
It will be skin and film the ulcerous place,
Whiles rank corruption, mining all within,
Infects unseen. Confess yourself to heaven.
Queen: O, Hamlet, thou hast cleft my heart in twain.
Hamlet: O throw away the worser part of it,
And live the purer with the other half.
Good night, but go not to my uncle's bed.
Assume a virtue if you have it not.
And when you are desirous to be blessed,
I'll blessing beg of you. So again, good night.
I must be cruel, only to be kind.
Queen: Be thou assured if words be made of breath,
And breath of life, I have no life to breathe
What thou hast said to me.
Hamlet: I must to England: you know that?
Queen: Alack, I had forgot! 'Tis so concluded on.
Hamlet: Good night, mother.
ORCHESTRA: (MUSIC IN SOFTLY TO BRIDGE)
Narrator: So - goes Hamlet to England, supposedly to his
death. Now follows one misfortune after another.
The killing of Polonius and the departure of
Hamlet, contrive to drive Ophelia insane. The
Danish people, moved by these mysterious and
inexplicable events, throng the public square.
BIZ: (FADE IN SHOUTS OF MOB)
Narrator: Laertes, son of Polonius, suddenly returns to
his native land and stirs the rabble to revolt.
With Laertes at their head, they storm the
castle where the uneasy King and the sorrowing
Queen have secluded themselves.
BIZ: (SHOUTS UP)
Laertes: Where is this king? Sirs, staid you all without.
Crowd: No! No! Let's come in, etc.
Laertes: I pray you give me leave. Keep the door.
BIZ: (MURMURS DOWN AND CUT)
Laertes: O thou vile king, give me my father!
King: Tell me, Laertes,
Why thou art thus incensed. Let him go, Gertrude.
Laertes: Where is my father?
Queen: But not by him.
Laertes: How came he dead? I'll not be juggled with.
King: That I am guiltless of your father's death,
It shall as level to your judgment pierce
As day does to your eye.
Ophelia: (SINGING) How should I your true love know
(OFF) From another one?
BIZ: (MURMURS 'OPHELIA' 'LET HER COME IN')
Laertes: Dear Maid, sweet sister, kind Ophelia.
Ophelia: (FADING IN) Where is the beauteous majesty of
King: How do you do, pretty lady?
Ophelia: Well God 'old you. They say the owl was a baker's
Laertes: O heavens, is't possible, a young maid's wits
Should be mortal as an old man's life?
Ophelia: There's rosemary, that's for remembrance. There's
rue for you, and here's some for me. We may call it
herb-grace o' Sundays. Here's a daisy. I would
give you some violets but they withered all when my
father died. They say he made a good end. God ha'
mercy on his soul! And on all Christian souls, I
pray God. (FADING) God be wi' ye.
Laertes: And so have I a noble father lost;
A sister driven into desp'rate terms.
But my revenge will come.
Narrator: The mad Ophelia goes singing to her death - a
suicide by drowning. "One woe doth tread upon
another's heel, so fast they follow." But
Hamlet, meanwhile, has thwarted the King's plot
to kill him, and hastened home secretly. He
knows nothing of what has happened in his absence.
With his friend Horatio, he is wandering through
the churchyard near the castle. Nearby a grave-
digger sings at his work.
Gravedigger: (FADING IN) In youth when I did love, did love,
Methought 'twas very sweet.
To contract the time, for ah me behove,
O methought there was nothing meet.
Hamlet: (SPEAKING THROUGH SONG)
Has this fellow no feeling of his business,
that he sings at grave-making?
Horatio: Custom hath made it in him a property of easiness.
SOUND (CUT WIND)
Hamlet: I will speak to this fellow. Whose grave's this, sirrah?
Gravedigger: Mine, sir. (STARTS TO SING)
Hamlet: What man dost thou dig it for?
Gravedigger: For no man, sir.
Hamlet: What woman, then?
Gravedigger: For none, neither.
Hamlet: Who is to be buried in't?
Gravedigger: One that was a woman, sir; but, rest her soul,
Hamlet: How absolute the knave is, Horatio. How long has
thou been a grave-maker?
Gravedigger: Of all the days i' th' year, I came to't that
day that our last king Hamlet overcame
Hamlet: How long is that since?
Gravedigger: Cannot you tell that? every fool can tell
that. It was the very day that young Hamlet
was born; he that is mad, and sent to England.
Hamlet: How long will a man lie i' th' earth ere he rot?
Gravedigger: In faith, if he be not rotten before he die,
he will last you some eight or nine year.
Here's a skull now. This skull has lain in
the earth three and twenty years.
Hamlet: Whose was it?
Gravedigger: A whoreson mad fellow's it was. This same
skull, sir, was Yorick's skull, the King's
Gravedigger: E'en that.
Hamlet: Let me see. Alas, poor Yorick! I knew him,
Horatio. A fellow of infinite jest, of most
excellent fancy; he hath borne me on his back
a thousand times; and now how abhorred in my
imagination it is! Where be your gibes now?
Your gambols? Your songs? Your flash of merriment
that were wont to set the table on a roar? Prithee,
Horatio, tell me one thing.
Horatio: What's that, my lord?
Hamlet: Dost thou think Alexander looked o' this fashion
i' th' earth?
Horatio: E'en so.
Hamlet: And smelt so? Pah! To what base uses we may return,
SOUND: (DEEP BELL TOLLS)
Hamlet: But soft, aside - here comes the king.
SOUND: (BELL CONTINUE, CHANTING)
Hamlet: The Queen, the courtiers. Who is this they follow?
And with such maimed rites?
Couch we awhile, and mark.
SOUND: (CUT BELLS AND CHANT)
Laertes: What ceremony else?
Hamlet: (WHISPERED) That is Laertes. A very noble youth--mark!
Laertes: What ceremony else? Must there no more be done?
Priest: No more be done.
We should profane the service of the dead
To sing a requiem and such rest to her
As to peace parted souls.
Laertes: Lay her i' the earth.
And from her fair and unpolluted flesh
May violets spring. I tell thee, churlish priest,
A ministering angel shall my sister be
When thou liest howling.
Hamlet: (WHISPERED) What, the fair Ophelia!
Queen: Sweets to the sweet! Farewell.
I hoped thou shouldst have been my Hamlet's wife;
I thought thy bride-bed to have decked, sweet maid,
And not have strewed thy grave.
Laertes: Hold off the earth awhile,
Till I have caught her once more in mine arms.
Now pile your dust upon the quick and dead,
Till of this flat a mountain you have made.
To o'ertop old Pelion, or the skyish head
Of blue Olympus.
Hamlet: (FADING IN) What is he whose grief
Bears such an emphasis? Whose phrase of sorrow
Conjures the wandering stars, and makes them stand
Like wonder-wounded hearers? This is I,
Hamlet the Dane.
Laertes: The devil take thy soul!
SOUND: (OF STRUGGLING THROUGH NEXT SPEECHES. AD LIBS OF)'PLUCK THEM ASUNDER' ETC.)
Hamlet: I prithee take thy fingers from my throat,
Hold off thy hand!
King: Pluck them asunder.
Queen: Hamlet! Hamlet!
Hamlet: Gentlemen; why, I will fight with him upon this theme
Until my eyelids will no longer wag.
Queen: O my son!
Hamlet: I loved Ophelia; forty thousand brothers
Could not with all their quantity of love
Make up my sum. Dost thou come here to whine?
To outface me with leaping in her grave?
Nay, and thou'lt mouth, I'll rant as well as thou.
King: O, he is mad, Laertes.
Queen: For the love of God, forbear him.
What is the reason that you use me thus?
I loved you ever. But it is no matter.
Let Hercules himself do what he may,
The cat will mew and dog will have his day.
SOUND: (GONG AND REVERBERATION EFFECT)
Narrator: The King is now determined to rid himself
of Hamlet. He quickly allies himself with
Laertes, who still frets for revenge. A
duel, supposedly friendly, is arranged
between Laertes and Hamlet. But Laertes'
rapier will have a bare point in place of
the harmless button which is customary on
a fencing foil. And on the point of
Laertes' weapon is smeared a deadly poison.
If that fails, the King has a poisoned
drink at hand. Hamlet must die.
ORCHESTRA: (TRUMPET SOUNDS)BIZ: (FADE IN MURMURS)
Narrator: The court as though half-guessing the
treachery that lurks beneath this sport-
ing event, crowds eagerly into the great
hall, as the King and Queen enter.
ORCHESTRA: (TRUMPETS LOUDER)BIZ: (INCREASED MURMURS - UP THEN OUT)
King: Come, Hamlet, come, and take this hand from me.
Give them the foils. You know the wager?
Hamlet: Very well, my lord.
King: Set me the stoups of wine upon that table.
If Hamlet give the first or second hit,
Or quit in answer of the third exchange,
The King shall drink to Hamlet's better breath.
Hamlet: Come on, sir.
Laertes: Come, my lord.
SOUND: (OF DUELLING. ROLL OF SNARE DRUMS)
SOUND: (DRUMS OUT)
Horatio: A hit, a very palpable hit.
King: Stay, give me drink. Hamlet, here's to thy health.
Give him the cup.
Hamlet: I'll play this bout first; set it by awhile, come.
SOUND: (OF DUELLING - MURMURS)
Hamlet: Another hit. What say you?
Laertes: A touch, a touch; I do confess.
Queen: The Queen carouses to thy fortune, Hamlet.
King: Gertrude, do not drink.
Queen: I will, my lord. I pray you, pardon me.
King: (WHISPER) It is the poisoned cup - it is too late.
Hamlet: Come for the third, Laertes - you but dally.
I pray you pass with your best violence.
Laertes: Have at you now!
SOUND: (OF DUELLING - MURMURS - GROANS FROM HAMLET)
Horatio: A touch for Laertes.
Hamlet: Nay, come again!
SOUND: (OF RAPIERS FALLING)
Horatio: Look, they have changed rapiers!
SOUND: (OF DUELLING - MURMURS)
Horatio: Look to the Queen there, ho!
Hamlet: How does the queen?
King: She swounds to see them bleed.
Queen: No, no - the drink! I am poisoned.
Hamlet: O villainy! Let the door be locked!
Treachery! Seek it out.
Laertes: It is here, Hamlet. Hamlet, thou art slain.
The treacherous instrument is in thy hand
Unbated and envenomed. Thy mother's poisoned.
I can no more. The king, the king's to blame.
Hamlet: The point envenomed too?
Then, venom, to thy work.
King: O, yet defend me, friends!
Hamlet: Here, thou incestuous, murderous, damned Dane,
Drink off this potion. Follow my mother.
Hamlet: You that look pale and tremble at this chance,
That are but mutes or audience to this act,
Had I but time - O, I could tell you,
But let it be. I die, Horatio.
Thou livest - report me and my cause aright
To the unsatisfied.
Horatio: Never believe it.
I am more an antique Roman than a Dane.
Here's yet, some liquor left!
Hamlet: As thou'rt a man,
Give me the cup! Let go! By heaven, I'll have it!
SOUND: (OF FALLING GOBLET)
Hamlet: O good Horatio, what a wounded name,
Things standing thus unknown shall live behind me!
If thou didst ever hold me in thy heart,
Absent thee from felicity awhile,
And in this harsh world draw thy breath in pain,
To tell my story. The rest is silence.
Horatio: Now cracks a noble heart. Good night, sweet prince,
And flights of angels sing thee to thy rest.
SOUND: (DISTANT THUNDER - DRUMS SOFT)
Bernardo, an officer----------------Victor Rodman
Francisco, a soldier----------------William Royal
Horatio, friend to Hamlet-----------Walter Abel
Marcellus, an officer---------------Stefan Schnabel
Claudius, King of Denmark-----------Montagu Love
Hamlet, son to the former and
nephew to the present king-------Burgess Meredith
Getrude, Queen of Denmark, mother
to Hamlet------------------------Grace George
Ghost of Hamlet's Father------------William Brady
Guildenstern, courtier--------------Philip Terry
Rosencrantz, courtier---------------Fritz Lieber, Jr.
Polonius, Lord Chamberlain----------Ben Webster
A Player----------------------------Eric Snowden
Ophelia, daughter to Polonius-------Margaret Perry
A Player, speaker of the Prologue---Stefan Schnabel
A Player----------------------------Ethel Mantell
Laertes, son to Polonius------------Morris Ankrum
A Gravedigger-----------------------John Wray
A Priest----------------------------Victor Rodman
Adapted and direction by Brewster Morgan
July 12, 1937