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Hamlet 5:1

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ACT 5, SCENE 1

                                   (A cemetery.  A GRAVEDIGGER and MATE
                                   enter.)

                                   GRAVEDIGGER
            Is she to be buried as a Christian, after she has willfully
            sought her own salvation as a suicide?

                                   MATE
            I tell you she is.  The crowner has sat on her case and finds
            it Christian.

                                   GRAVEDIGGER
            How can that be, unless she drowned herself in her own
            defence?

                                   MATE
            That's the verdict.


                                   GRAVEDIGGER
            If I drown myself willingly, that's an act, and most acts
            have three parts: to think it, to design it, and to carry it
            out.  Here stands the man.  Here rests the water.  If the man
            goes into the water not knowing how to swim, he's dead.  And
            if the water comes over him by nature or accident, he's dead
            too.  Two deaths, the one who did not shorten their own life
            is not guilty of suicide.

                                   MATE
            This is law?

                                   GRAVEDIGGER
            Of course it is.

                                   MATE
            Do you want the truth?  If this had not been a gentlewoman,
            she would not be buried as a Christian.

                                   GRAVEDIGGER
            Yes, true.  And even more a pity that our lords don't use
            their privilege to commit suicide more often.  My spade,
            please?

                                   (Mate hands Gravedigger spade.)

                                   GRAVEDIGGER (CONT'D)
                          (beginning to dig)
            There were no gentlemen at the beginning of history, only
            gardeners and gravediggers, and both begun by Adam.

                                   MATE
            Was Adam a gentleman?

                                   GRAVEDIGGER
            What kind of heathen are you?  Don't you know the Bible?  It
            says he digged.  Could he dig without arms?

                                   (Beat.)

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I'm a writer/artist/activist from California, with a degree in Creative Studies from the University of California at Santa Barbara. I've been an advocating for the convention clause of Article V since 2001.


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