Internet Shakespeare Editions

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    Not Peer Reviewed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)

    390Hamlet, Two Ruffians.
    It is a pleasant place here on this island! Let us stay here for a while and dine. There is a delightful wood, and here a cool spring of water. So fetch the best from our ship, and we'll make right merry here.
    Ruffian 1
    There's no dinner time here for you, my lord, since you will never leave this island, for here's the place destined for your grave.
    What say'st thou, scoundrel, slave? Dost thou know who I am? Wouldst thou jest thus with a royal prince? However, on this occasion I pardon thee.
    Ruffian 2
    No, it is no jest, but grim earnest. Prepare yourself for death.
    Wherefore this? What harm have I ever done you? I cannot recollect any; therefore speak out, why do ye have such wicked thoughts?
    Ruffian 1
    We have been ordered to do it by the King: as soon as we have brought Your Highness to this island, we are to take your life.
    Dear friends, spare my life! Say that you have done it properly, and I will never return to the King as long as I live. Consider well, what do you gain by covering your hand with the innocent blood of a prince? Will you stain your consciences with my sins? What bad luck that I came here unarmed! If only I had something in my hand!
    [He grabs a sword.]
    Ruffian 2
    Take care of thy weapon, comrade!
    400Ruffian 1
    I'll take good care. Now Prince, prepare yourself; haven't much time.
    Since it cannot be otherwise, and I must die at your hands, by the orders of the tyrannical king, I must submit, although I am innocent. And since you have been bribed through poverty, I freely pardon you. Yet this murderer of his brother and my father must answer for my blood at the Last Great Day.
    Ruffian 1
    Eh! what is that great day to us? we must carry out our orders for today.
    Ruffian 2
    That's true, brother! Quickly to work; it must be so! You fire from this side, I from the other.
    Listen to one word more from me. Since even the wickedest evildoer is not executed without being given time to repent, I, an innocent prince, beg you to let me first address a fervent pray to my Creator; after which I shall willingly die. But I shall give you a sign: I shall raise my hands to heaven, and as soon as I spread out my arms, fire! Level both pistols at my sides, and when I say shoot, give me as much as I need, and be sure and hit me, that I may not suffer long.
    405Ruffian 2
    Well, we may do that much to please him; so go right ahead.
    [He spreads out his hands]. Shoot! [He falls down forward between the two servants, who shoot each other.] Just Heaven! Thanks be to thee for thy angelic inspiration; henceforth I will ever worship the guardian angel who working through my thoughts has saved my life. But these scoundrels, as they worked, so were they paid out. The dogs move still; they have shot each other, but for revenge I'll give them the coup de grace; otherwise one of the rogues might escape. [He stabs them with their own swords.] Now I'll search them, to see whether they have some warrant on them. This one has nothing. But here I find a letter on this murderer. I'll read it. This letter is written to an arch-murderer in England, so that should this attempt miscarry, they would hand me over to him and he would soon blow out the light of my life! But the gods ever stand by the just. Now I will go back again to my 'father', to terrify him; but I will not trust to water again, for who knows whether the captain may not likewise prove a rogue. I shall go to the first town and take the post. The sailors I shall order back to Denmark, but these scoundrels I'll throw into the water.