OPHELIA (to her father):
My lord, as I was sewing in my closet,
Lord Hamlet, with his doublet all unbraced;
No hat upon his head; his stockings fouled,
Ungartered, and down-gyvèd to his ankle;
Pale as his shirt; his knees knocking each other;
And with a look so piteous in purport
As if he had been loosèd out of hell
To speak of horrors—he comes before me.
Hamlet Act 2 Scene 1.
For Hamlet’s plot till now, see Hamlet So Far.
Explanation: It was a fashion faux pas for an Elizabethan man not to wear a hat when he was out and about. Lower class men were required by law to wear a hat on Sundays and holidays. The higher the station the taller the hat. Being a prince, Hamlet would have worn a very tall hat, a hat so tall it would have given Abe Lincoln’s a run for its money.
Act 2 Scene 1 (continued).Ophelia enters the room. Poly Unsaturated is with their Majesties. That is group talk for king and queen.
Poly Unsaturated asks, “Ophie, what’s the matter?”
“O my lord, I have been so affrighted,” Ophie says.
“Could you please speak in plain English the way I’ve taught you?” P U browbeats.
“Hamlet came to see me. He didn’t wear his hat,” Ophie says to her dad.
“Hamlet didn’t wear his hat?” Poly asks.
“Hamlet didn’t wear his hat?” Claudius asks.
“Hamlet didn’t wear his hat?” Gertrude wants to know.
“Hamlet didn’t wear his hat?” Echo echoes.
“That’s what I said,” Ophie says to Poly and the gang.
“Hamlet didn’t wear his hat?” Echo’s echo asks.
“That’s what I said,” Ophie says to Echo’s echo. “I’m not saying this again.”
“Not,” echoes through the room three or four times.
“Oh, shut up,” Claudius commands.
“Yes, Your Magnanimousness,” Echo whimpers away to the corner.
“Oh, what’s the problem now?” Claudius asks, frustrated.
“You hurt the poor thing’s feelings,” Gertie says, then runs over and hugs Echo with a big motherly hug. “He didn’t mean it.” Then to Claudius, “Now did you?”
“Of course, I did,” Claudius says. “I wouldn’t have said it if I didn’t.”
Apologize,” Gertie demands.
“Apologize? What the hell for?”
“You’d better apologize.”
“What?” Frustration rears itself up in Claudius’ voice.”I’m The King. Kings don’t apologize.”
Gertrie strokes poor Echo’s hair. “He’s nothing but a meanie. A blue meanie.”
“I am not.”
“Oh, yes you are.” Gertie is crying. “You apologize or no more tiddlywinks at midnight.”
“But I love tiddlywinks,” Claudius protests.
“Then apologize,” Gertrude demands.
“Now I see why my brother hated this job. Kingship doesn’t have the meaning it used to.”
“Apologize,” Gertie demands once more.
“Oh, okay. Echo, I am so sorry. Will you forgive me?”
“I don’t know,” Echo sobs.
“Say it like you mean it.” Gertie glares.
Claudius shakes his head, knowing a loosing battle when he sees one. He gets down on his knees. “I am so so so sorry. Will you please forgive me? Pretty please?”
Echo says, “Oh, okay.” Then she smiles and runs from the room, dancing. “I made the king say sorry. I made the king say sorry.”
Claudius stands up. “Well, I’m glad that’s over. Tiddlywinks tonight?”
Gertie says, “A very special game of tiddlywinks.” She walks over and kisses Claudius on the lips.
“Excuse me,” Ophie says. “But Hamlet did not wear his hat.”
“Oh, shut up,” everybody says and leaves the room.
Ophie in the room all by her lonesome. “But I liked that hat.”