Hamlet By William Shakespeare Act IV: Scene 2

Scene II. Another room in the Castle.

[Enter Hamlet.]

HAMLET.
Safely stowed.

ROSENCRANTZ. and Guil.
[Within.] Hamlet! Lord Hamlet!

HAMLET.
What noise? who calls on Hamlet? O, here they come.

[Enter Rosencrantz and Guildenstern.]

ROSENCRANTZ.
What have you done, my lord, with the dead body?

HAMLET.
Compounded it with dust, whereto 'tis kin.

ROSENCRANTZ.
Tell us where 'tis, that we may take it thence,
And bear it to the chapel.

HAMLET.
Do not believe it.

ROSENCRANTZ.
Believe what?

HAMLET.
That I can keep your counsel, and not mine own. Besides, to be
demanded of a sponge! — what replication should be made by the son
of a king?

ROSENCRANTZ.
Take you me for a sponge, my lord?

HAMLET.
Ay, sir; that soaks up the King's countenance, his rewards,
his authorities. But such officers do the king best service in
the end: he keeps them, like an ape, in the corner of his jaw;
first mouthed, to be last swallowed: when he needs what you have
gleaned, it is but squeezing you, and, sponge, you shall be dry
again.

ROSENCRANTZ.
I understand you not, my lord.

HAMLET.
I am glad of it: a knavish speech sleeps in a foolish ear.

ROSENCRANTZ.
My lord, you must tell us where the body is and go with us to
the king.

HAMLET.
The body is with the king, but the king is not with the body.
The king is a thing, —

GUILDENSTERN.
A thing, my lord!

HAMLET.
Of nothing: bring me to him. Hide fox, and all after.

[Exeunt.]

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Approximately how much time has passed between the death of King Hamlet and the remarriage of Gertrude to Claudius?




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