Please see the bottom of the page for full explanatory notes and helpful resources.
|ACT IV SCENE VI ||Another room in the castle.|| |
| ||Enter HORATIO and a Servant.|| |
|HORATIO ||What are they that would speak with me?|| |
|Servant ||Sailors, sir: they say they have letters for you.|| |
|HORATIO ||Let them come in.|| |
| ||Exit Servant.|| |
| ||I do not know from what part of the world|
| ||I should be greeted, if not from Lord Hamlet.|| |
| ||Enter Sailors.|| |
|First Sailor ||God bless you, sir.|| |
|HORATIO ||Let him bless thee too.|| |
|First Sailor ||He shall, sir, an't please him. There's a letter for|| |
| ||you, sir; it comes from the ambassador that was|
| ||bound for England; if your name be Horatio, as I am|| |
| ||let to know it is.|| 10|
|HORATIO ||Reads|| |
| ||'Horatio, when thou shalt have overlooked this, |
| ||give these fellows some means to the king:|| |
| ||they have letters for him. Ere we were two days old|| |
| ||at sea, a pirate of very warlike appointment gave us|
| ||chase. Finding ourselves too slow of sail, we put on|| |
| ||a compelled valour, and in the grapple I boarded|| |
| ||them: on the instant they got clear of our ship; so|| |
| ||I alone became their prisoner. They have dealt with|| |
| ||me like thieves of mercy, but they knew what they|| 19|
| ||did; I am to do a good turn for them. Let the king|| |
| ||have the letters I have sent; and repair thou to me|| |
| ||with as much speed as thou wouldst fly death. I|| |
| ||have words to speak in thine ear will make thee|| |
| ||dumb; yet are they much too light for the bore of|
| ||the matter. These good fellows will bring thee|| |
| ||where I am. Rosencrantz and Guildenstern hold their|| |
| ||course for England: of them I have much to tell|| |
| ||thee. Farewell.|| |
| ||'He that thou knowest thine, Hamlet.'|
| ||Come, I will make you way for these your letters;|| 28|
| ||And do't the speedier, that you may direct me|| |
| ||To him from whom you brought them.|| |
| ||Exeunt|| |
Next: Hamlet, Act 4, Scene 7
Explanatory Notes for Act 4, Scene 6
From Hamlet, prince of Denmark. Ed. K. Deighton. London: Macmillan.
1. What are they, what manner of men; What, less definite
5. I should be greeted, I am likely to receive a greeting.
7. Let him, may he.
9. bound, on his way for.
10. let to know, informed; we still say 'let me know,' i.e. tell
12. overlooked, read.
13. some ... king, some means of access to, etc.
14. Ere we ... sea, before we had been two days at sea.
15. of ... appointment, fitted out in most warlike fashion, i.e.
16. we put on ... valour, we made a virtue of necessity and
assumed a warlike bearing.
16, 7. in the grapple, as we grappled, i.e. threw out our
grappling-irons in order to hold their vessel fast to ours: boarded,
leaped on board: on the instant, just as I did so.
19. thieves of mercy, merciful thieves; see note on i. 2. 4.
19, 20. but they ... them, but their mercy was due to politic
reasons, for they wanted me in return to do them a service with
21. repair, make your way; in this sense from Lat. repatriare,
to return to one's own country.
22. as thou, as that with which you.
23. will make, i.e. which will make; for the omission of the
relative, see Abb. § 244.
23, 4. yet are ... matter, yet no words would describe the
matter in sufficiently strong language; the metaphor is that of
shot not heavy enough for the calibre of a gun.
28. I will ... letters, I will give you the means, opportunity, of
delivering these letters.
29. And do 't ... me, and do it all the more quickly that by my
doing so, etc.; the, ablative of demonstration, see Abb. § 94.
How to cite the explanatory notes:
Shakespeare, William. Hamlet, prince of Denmark. Ed. K. Deighton. London: Macmillan, 1919. Shakespeare Online. 20 Feb. 2010. < http://www.shakespeare-online.com/plays/hamlet_4_6.html >.
How to cite the scene review questions:
Mabillard, Amanda. Hamlet: Scene Questions for Review. Shakespeare Online. 27 Dec. 2013. < http://www.shakespeare-online.com/plays/hamlet_4_6.html >.
Scene Questions for Review
1. Was Hamlet's capture truly a coincidence? Is it plausible that this encounter with the pirate ship was part of the counter plot Hamlet alludes to earlier when talking with Gertrude in her closet? There he says of Claudius' plan to send him to England,
Let it work;
2. If Hamlet did have a counter plot ready, why would he not reveal it to Horatio? Is it possible Hamlet believed the letters would fall into the wrong hands?
For 'tis the sport to have the engineer
Hoist with his own petar: and 't shall go hard
But I will delve one yard below their mines,
And blow them at the moon: O, 'tis most sweet,
When in one line two crafts directly meet. (3.4.198-203)
3. If we discount the counter plot theory and assume the events at sea are completely unforeseen to Hamlet, then Divine Providence becomes a very significant component of the drama. If we place such importance on Divine Will, as Hamlet does later in the play when he says, "There's a Divinity that shapes our ends" (5.2.10), how does it change our modern conception of the play? How would an Elizabethan audience view this aspect of the play? For more on Divine Providence in Hamlet, please click here.
4. We have noticed a change in Hamlet since his pivotal soliloquy, "How all occasions do inform against me" (4.4.33-66). Do Hamlet's actions on the pirate ship highlight this change?
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