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About this text

  • Title: Der bestrafte Brudermord (Fratricide Punished)
  • Author: Anonymous
  • Editor: David Bevington
  • General textual editors: James D. Mardock, Eric Rasmussen
  • Associate textual editor: Donald Bailey
  • Coordinating editor: Michael Best
  • Associate coordinating editor: Janelle Jenstad

  • Copyright David Bevington. This text may be freely used for educational, non-profit purposes; for all other uses contact the Editor.
    Author: Anonymous
    Editor: David Bevington
    Not Peer Reviewed

    Der bestrafte Brudermord (Fratricide Punished)

    King, Queen, Hamlet, Horatio, Corambus, Ophelia, Retinue.
    Our dearest wife, I hope that you will now banish your sadness, and make it give place to joy; before supper there is to be a comedy, played by the German actors, and after the meal a ballet given by our own people.
    Queen
    Most gladly shall I see such sport; still, I hardly believe that my heart will be at ease, for gloomy forebodings of misfortune, I know not what, disturb my soul.
    Pray, be content. Prince Hamlet, we are informed that some players have arrived here who will perform a comedy tonight. Tell me, is it so?
    Hamlet
    Ay, father, it is so. They asked my permission, and I have given it. I hope that Your Majesty will also approve.
    What is the subject? There's nothing offensive or uncivil in it?
    Hamlet
    It is a good subject. We that have a good conscience, it touches us not.
    Where are they? Let them begin at once; we should like to see what the Germans can do.
    260Hamlet
    Marshal, go and see whether the actors are ready; tell them to begin.
    Corambus
    Actors, where are you? Quick, you are to begin at once. Ah! here they come.
    [Here the players enter: the King with his consort. He wishes to lie down and sleep; the Queen entreats him not to do so; he lies down all the same. The Queen kisses him, and takes her leave. The King's brother comes with a phial and pours something into his ear, and exit.]
    Hamlet
    That is King Pyrrhus who goes to sleep in the garden. The Queen entreats him not to do so, but he lies down. The poor wife goes away: see, there comes the King's brother bearing the poisonous juice of hebenon; and he pours into his ear that which, as soon as it mixes with the blood of a man, immediately destroys his life.
    Bring torches, lanterns here! the play does not please us
    265Corambus
    Pages, lackeys, light the torches! The King wishes depart: quick with the lights! The actors have made a mess of it.
    [Exeunt King, Queen, Corambus and retinue.]
    Hamlet
    Bring torches here, the play does not please us! Now thou seest that the Ghost has not deceived me! Players, you can go from here with this verdict, that although you have not played the piece to its end, and it has not pleased the King, yet it pleased us all the same. Horatio shall reward you on my behalf.
    Charles
    We thank you and ask for a passport.
    Hamlet
    You shall have one.
    270[Exeunt Players.]
    Now may I go boldly on to vengeance. Did you perceive how the king went pale when he saw the play?
    Horatio
    Yes, Your Highness; the thing is certain.
    Hamlet
    My poor father was murdered, just as we have seen in this play! But I will punish him for this wicked deed.