ACT 5, SCENE 2
(Enter Hamlet and Horatio with
(holding up letter Hamlet had
So much for this, now how about the rest, my lord? Tell me
what took place out on the high sea?
You remember the circumstance?
Of course, my lord.
My heart was stage to an intense battle. I could not sleep
and lay feeling worse than a rebel in chains. Then a rash
impulse swept me--and praise be for such things: instinct
sometimes serves us well when our plans begin to falter; and
that should teach us there's a divinity that shapes our ends,
rough-hew them however we will.
I rose, cloaked myself with a coat, and stole out of my
cabin, groping the way to Rosencrantz and Guildenstern. I
lifted the documents deftly, repaired back to my room, and
broke their seals. Oh such royal treachery! An exact
command, plied with assertions of fear as to the health of
Denmark and England both, that without a moment of delay--not
even to sharpen an axe--my head should be struck off.
No, my lord.
(handing him the document from
out of a chest pocket)
Here it is, read it with your own two eyes.
(taking document, but not
How did you proceed?
Caught up in the plot, before my mind could sort it through
to the end, I sat and wrote out a new set of orders. I used
to disdain the phrasing of official decree, and over the
years have tried to unlearn it, but then and there it served
me oh so well.
What did you write?
I detailed how the Danish and English kings are dependent
upon one another; how the love between them ought to flourish
like the palm; how peace should be maintained, and other such
flowery things; and that upon reading the contents, the
bearers of it be put to death immediately.
What about the seal?
I've carried my father's signet with me since his death, so
even in that heaven had a hand. I signed it, sealed it, and
left it with the sleeping soldiers. The change was never
detected, the next day was our fight at sea, and the rest you