But I am pigeon-liver'd and lack gall (550)
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 whore, unpack my heart with words,
And fall a-cursing, like a very drab, (560)
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 proclaim'd 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; (570)
I'll tent him to the quick: if he but blench,
I know my course. The spirit that I have seen
May be the devil: and the devil hath power
To assume a pleasing shape; yea, and perhaps
Out of my weakness and my melancholy,
As he is very potent with such spirits,
Abuses me to damn me: I'll have grounds
More relative than this: the play's the thing
Wherein I'll catch the conscience of the king.
"The moment the dumb-show is over, [Claudius] realizes that Hamlet knows the whole truth. The action of the dumb-show is too like the crime which he has himself committed to leave doubt upon that score. If there were any such doubt, the drift of Hamlet's apparently mad talk during the spoken play following would dispel it. And Rosencrantz and Polonius have already mentioned Hamlet's joy at the arrival of the players, his command that they shall give a play, and his desire that the King and Queen shall witness it." William Witherle Lawrence. Read on...
Did You Know? ... "To lie in the throat was worse than to lie from the lips. Staunton on ii. H. IV. i. 2, quotes from a
curious old Italian treatise on War and the Duello a passage in which the different gradations of giving the lie are enumerated
as the simple "Thou liest"; then, "Thou liest in the throat"; "Thou liest in the throat like a rogue; Thou liest in the throat
like a rogue as thou art," the last being an insult which could not be passed by without a challenge to combat." Kenneth Deighton. (From his edition of Twelfth Night. Allman & Son.)