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    Not Peer Reviewed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)

    Uncle King, more news still!
    What fresh news do you bring?
    Prince Hamlet has come back!
    The devil has come back, not Prince Hamlet!
    Prince Hamlet has come back and not the devil!
    Leonhardus, hear. Now thou canst avenge thy father's death, for the Prince has come home again. But you must swear to us an oath to disclose it to no man.
    Doubt me not, Your Majesty; what you reveal shall be as secret as if you had spoken to a stone.
    We shall arrange a match between thyself and him on these terms: you shall fence with rapiers, and the one of you who makes the first three hits, shall have won a white Neapolitan horse. But in the middle of this bout you must let your foil drop, and instead of it, you must have a rapier with a sharp point ready to hand, which must be made exactly like the foil, but you must rub the point of it with a strong poison as soon as you shall wound his body with it, he will certainly die, but you shall win the prize, and your King's favor as well.
    Your Majesty must excuse me! I dare not undertake this, for the Prince is a skilled fencer and might well turn the tables on me.
    Leonhardus, do not refuse, but do it to please thy King; do it to revenge thy father's death. For know, the Prince as assassin of your father deserves such a death. But we cannot do justice on him, because his mother backs him, and my subjects love him dearly. If therefore we avenged ourselves on him openly, a rebellion might easily follow. But that we now reject him as our step-son and nephew is the will of sacred Justice, since he is bloodthirsty and insane, and for the future we must ourselves be afraid of so wicked a man. If you do what we desire, you will relieve your King of his fear, and secretly avenge yourself on the murderer of your father.
    It is a difficult thing which I scarcely dare venture. For should it come out, it would cost me my life.
    Do not doubt; if this should fail we have already devised another trick. We shall have an oriental diamond powdered fine and this, when he is hot, we shall offer to him in a goblet filled with wine mixed with sugar: thus shall he drink death to our health.
    Well then, Your Majesty, under this protection I carry it out.