Hamlet: A Time to Plan, A Time to Plot

When beggars die, there are no comets seen;
The heavens themselves blaze forth the death of princes. (Julius Caesar Act 2 Scene 2)

For Hamlet’s plot till now, see Hamlet So Far.

Act 3 Scene 1. It’s late. One might even say that it’s the dead of the night. A time to plan. A time to plot. A time to conspire.

Cassius says to Brutus, “Caesar is getting too big for his britches.”

Brutus: What can we do?’

Casca presents him a dagger. “It’s for his own good.”

*****
It’s late. One might even say that it’s the dead of the night. A time to plan. A time to plot. A time for conspirators to come out to play.

John Wilkes Booth, “Lincoln has gotten too big for britches.”

Spangler asked, “What can we do?’

Booth produced a gun. “It’s for his own good.”

*****
It’s late. One might even say that it’s the dead of the night. A time to plan. A time to plot. A time for a conspiracy to catch fire.

Robespierre to Danton, “Louis is a problem.”

Danton: “What can we do?”

Robespierre pulls back the curtains. Through the window is a guillotine. “It’s for his own good.”

*****
It’s late. One might even say that it’s the dead of the night. A time to plan. A time to plot. A time for conspirators to change their world.

Stalin to Lenin: “The tsar is a problem.”

Lenin: “What can we do?”

Stalin hands Lenin a death warrant and a pen. “It’s for his own good.”

*****
It’s late. One might even say that it’s the dead of the night. A time to plan. A time to plot. A time for conspiracies to fail.

Babington to Mary, Queen of Scots: “Your Majesty, we have a problem. The bastard queen must be removed.”

Mary, Queen of Scots: “What can we do?”

Babington: “Sign this and your subjects will rise.”

Mary signs, then hands the confession back to Babington.

Enter Walsingham with an axe. “Your majesty, we need your head. It’s for your own good.”

*****
It’s late. One might even say that it’s the dead of the night. A time to plan. A time to plot. A time to—

Deep in the heart of Castle Elsinore, Claudius and Gertrude.

R & G have nothing to report to Claudius and Gertrude.

“So?” Claudius asks.

R&G: “My lord Hamlet is a regular guy. Quite nice actually. A little bit odd. But he was always a little bit odd. Admits he has been under the weather.”

Gertrude, Hamlet’s mother: “Does he say why?”

R&G: “He did not. It could be he is having flashbacks.”

Claudius: “I had those back in my college days. Man, you know what they say?”

R&G: “No, Your Magnanimousness.”

Gertie: “What do they say, Dear?” Gertrude, the queen and Hamlet’s mom, just revealed a bit about her attitude toward Claudius and her marriage. She called him “Dear”, not “Darling” or “Sweet’ums”. She called him “Dear”. When a wife calls a husband “Dear” with Gertrude’s tone of voice, there is a good chance something is going on that is not obvious to Claudius.

Just after the they-lived-happily-ever-afters in all the fairy tales, the “dear” starts coming up. “Dear, will you take out the garbage.” “Dear, I need a new pair of shoes to go with my new gown. I only got the last pair fifteen minutes ago. That’s like forever.” “Dear, Lancelot is such a nice knight. Can we keep him?” Prince Charming is always the last to know. Gertie asks again: “What do they say, Dear?”

Claudius: “If you remember the 1540s, you weren’t there.”

Gertrude: “Did my sweet boy use drugs?”

R&G: “Worse. He became a Protestant.”

Claudius: “No.”

Gertrude: “He didn’t.

R&G: “He did.”

Polonius: “May the saints preserve us.”

Claudius: “What are we going to do?” (He already has an answer but he has to get permission. Either that or proof.)

Polonius: “We could call in the Inquisition.”

Gertrude: “We’ll have none of that while I’m around.”

Polonius (thinking): “Well, we can arrange that you are not around. Then Ophelia would be queen. After all, she is the only eligible girl in the castle. Actually she is the only girl in the castle.”

Instead Polonius says: “I was just kidding, Your Majesty. Of course, we won’t bring in the Inquisition. We couldn’t have them sticking their nose in every little thing. Pretty soon they would want a burning every Friday night.”

Claudius: “We will not have that. Friday night is Game Night at the Castle.”

Gertrude: “Yes, you owe me a rematch of Monopoly. You keep winning. I think you’re cheating.”

Claudius: “I am king. It’s my job to cheat.”

Gertrude: “So what do we do about Sonny?”

R&G: “There was one other thing. An acting troupe has arrived. That did seem to cheer him up.”

Claudius: “Oh, goody. A play. A play. I love plays.”

Gertrude (knowingly): “I know.”

Claudius (to R&G): “Gentlemen, thank you kindly for your good work. Go down to the tavern and have yourself a feast on us.”

They leave, a big grin on their face.

Polonius hurries out of the chambers, then momentarily returns with his daughter. She is a lovely lady. Blonde hair, blue eyes and a rubenesque figure that Rubens would admire. Her smile puts Mona Lisa to shame. She curtsies before the king and the queen.

Claudius: “Ophelia, fair Ophelia.” There is a big grin on his face.

Gertrude (punches him in the side): “Don’t you go getting ideas, Dear.” There’s that “Dear” again. Only this time it is saying, “You had better watch yourself.”

Claudius (serious): “We have a favor to ask of you.”

Ophelia (looks up at the king with those baby blues of hers): “Whatever Your Majesties request, I will do it if it be possible.” (She’s thinking, “Just how did Anne Boleyn get to be queen?”)

Claudius: “We would like you to have a little talk with our son. Would that be okay?”

Ophelia (looking over at Polonius): But, Father, you said—“

Polonius: “It’s for Hamlet’s own good.”

Ophelia: Yes, Father.”

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5 thoughts on “Hamlet: A Time to Plan, A Time to Plot

  1. The way you started this post with various conspiracies, repeating the first four lines each time, then changing the fifth to introduce the new conspiracy and players was quite masterful; as was, of course, your hijinks with Hamlet that followed.

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