Hamlet: Off to England He Goes

Not where he eats, but where he is eaten. A certain convocation of politic worms are e’en at him. Your worm is your only emperor for diet. We fat all creatures else to fat us, and we fat ourselves for maggots. Your fat king and your lean beggar is but variable service—two dishes, but to one table. That’s the end. Hamlet Act 4 Scene 3.

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

Act 4 Scene 3. Hamlet enters the presence of King Claudius. He is in no mood for kowtowing, and towkowing either. Not in no mood at all.

“Hey, Chief,” Hamlet starts off.

Claudius is not amused with Hamlet’s irreverence. “Your Magnanimousness, if you please.”

“Right, Boss,” Hamlet giggles. Could it be that he’s been in the winery? “I thought I would bring my complaint straight to the Big Cheese. That’s you, right?”

Claudius cannot believe his ears. But he nods his head yes.

“We need some new plumbing around here,” The Hamster lets out. “The toilets have a real constipation problem. I went to poop and, man, talk about backup.”

Changing the subject, Claudius asks, “Where’s Polonius’ body?”

“Maybe he’s the reason for all the backup. Could it be somebody tried to flush him away?”

“Where’s the body?” Claudius insists.

“He might be coming to dinner,” Hamlet says. “I really can’t say.”

“Go ahead and say.”

“Since you ask me, he was taking a vaca the last I heard. By FedEx first class.”

“What am I going to do with you, Prince Hamlet?”

“Without a body, there’s no evidence that Polonius didn’t just run off with the farmer’s daughter.”

“Where is his body?” Claudius is now getting in Hamlet’s face big time.

“Whoa, Big Guy, you really need to do something about that breath of yours. Poor hygiene ain’t the way to make friends and influence people.”

Claudius returns to his throne and plops down. “Here’s what you’re going to do. You need to get out of town for a while. So I am going to send you first class to England.”

“Oh, boy, the Coliseum. And I’ll get to see the Pope too. Always wanted to know what a pope looked like.”

“No,” Claudius says. “That’s Rome. England, I said.”

“Oh, goody, the Eiffel Tower and the Champs-Élysées.”

“That’s Paris, not England.”

“Wonderful. I’ll get to see Michelangelo’s David.”

“That’s Florence, not England.”

“I hear the gondoliers sing,” Hamlet says.

“Not Venice. England,” Claudius is extremely frustrated.

“Not England. I hate fog,” Hamlet resists.

“Yes, England, and you can stay at Buckingham Palace.”

“Well, okay. As long as it’s not the Tower of London. You can catch cold there from the draft.”

“Then it is agreed. It’s what your mother wants too.” Claudius is relieved. Dealing with Hamlet is extremely tiring. The king is going to need a nap soon.

“Oh, if Mom says it’s okay, then it must be okay,” Hamlet wise-guys.

Claudius hands Hamlet an envelope with his tickets and his per diem.

“Well, ta-ta, Big Guy,” Hamlet says. “I’ll see you in Tuscany. And remember it’s a long way to Temporary.”

“You mean Tipperary?”

“If you say so,” Hamlet sashays out the door.

Claudius calls after him, “And take those two Bozos with you.” Of course, he was talking Rosencrantz and Guildenstern. Who else?

Since there is always a bard in these kinds of plays, there is a Barde here as well. (In case any of you were wondering, Barde is French for Bard.) Our friendly Bardie sings, “Hamlettown”:

Hamlet, O Hamlet, it’s off to sea
Hamlet, O Hamlet, it’s off to England

Down in Elsinore Castle there was a tragedy
Old Hamlet died, poisoned as poison could be.
Was it a snake bite or was it some other thing
That took down the Dane and Elsinore’s king?

Hamlet, O Hamlet, it’s off to sea
Hamlet, O Hamlet, it’s off to England

It was in the days when the cold winds blow
When all the laughter had turned to snow
The young prince sadly returned to the castle
To find the new king made Hamlet his vassal

Hamlet, O Hamlet, it’s off to sea
Hamlet, O Hamlet, it’s off to England

One night Hamlet saw the ghost of his pater
Dressed in armor just like his dad, his father
Demanding revenge and demanding it quick
“Take out Claudius before you can shake a stick.”

Hamlet, O Hamlet, it’s off to sea
Hamlet, O Hamlet, it’s off to England

Hamlet went mad or so the Danes were led to think
Even his mom said that he wasn’t in the pink
He gave the king’s man a very big tummy ache
Now Polonius will never again awake

Hamlet, O Hamlet, it’s off to sea
Hamlet, O Hamlet, it’s off to England

There was but one thing that Claudius could do
Send Hamlet away to get the king out of the stew
It was off to England with a note to the English
Take off his head to give this plot a good finish.

Hamlet, O Hamlet, it’s off to sea
Hamlet, O Hamlet, it’s off to England

There’s more to this tale than England could finish
When R and G lost their heads to the British
Hamlet stole the note that was to go to Olde England
And changed it from  Claudius’ original plan

Hamlet, O Hamlet, it’s off to sea
Hamlet, O Hamlet, it’s off to England.

Hamlet: No More Mr. Nice Guy

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

Act 3 Scene 2 (continued).

From the moment Ophelia said, “The king rises.”

From the moment the Queen said, “How fares my lord?”

From the moment Polonius said, “Stop the play.”

From the moment Claudius said, “Give me some light, away.”

Hamlet knew, and he knew big time. The white face on Claudius was not embarrassment. It wasn’t a clown’s face. It was the face of a murderer’s guilt.

Yep, Claudius did it. There was no doubt about it.

“Well, there you have it. There it is,” The Hamster said to his good bud, Horatio. “Claudius done it. There’s no doubt about It.” The Hamster looked for agreement. Even now, he was not about to go out on this limb alone.

Horatio was a man of few words and those words usually backed up anything The Hamster said. Horatio had watched Claudius during the performance of “The Murder of Gonzago”. Claudius’ face left nothing to guesswork. He was guilty alright. So Horatio gave his unqualified yep with a clear conscience.

‘Course, whatever Horatio did or said, he said or did with a clear conscience. It wasn’t necessarily that it was right. He just did it with a clear conscience. That was the kind of guy he was. Also it was a great survival technique. And one thing was sure. Horatio was good at surviving.

So there it was. Claudius guilty as charged. Right. What to do about it? Before that could be discussed, guess who showed? Mr. Dumb and Mr. Dumber. Tweedledee and Tweedledum. Rusancrantz and Guildenstern, of course.

R or G said, “My lord, can I have a word with you?’

“I don’t know. Can you?” Hamlet throws off.

“The king. He’s off in his chamber and he’s extremely bummed, man.”

“Got the blues, eh?”

“He’s angry,” R or G said.

“That’s what he gets for drinking that bad hootch.” Hamlet smiled. He was having way too good a time.

“It’s not that.”

“Maybe you should get him a doctor. I hear his doctor the doctor, Doctor Doctor, is very good at healing a pain in the butt. Can’t heal mine but maybe he can take Polonius’ head out of his rear.”

“But your mom…”

“I thought we were talking the king here. You’re always confusing me. Not only can I not tell who R is and who G is, now you’ve got me confused about who the king is and who the queen is. He’s not wearing a dress again, is he?”

In the Middle Ages, lords wore robes. They may have looked like dresses but they were not. They were robes. Popes and cardinals got to wear dresses, I mean robes too. It was what distinguished a higher-up from a lower-down. Serfs wore pants.

“Huh?”

“It’s getting hard to know who’s wearing the pants around here. Oh, me. I’m wearing the pants.” Hamlet asided, “See, you were wrong. I do have fashion-sense. I’m so New School I might as well be in kindergarten.”

Pants were the new thing. All the young turks were wearing them back at Wittenburg U. Even the ladies had gotten on the pants bandwagon. They were after that workingclass look. Only Elsinore was behind the times fashionwise. It would take a hundred years or a Fortinbras to bring pants–and bras–into style.

“It’s not the king who sent us. It’s your mom.”

“Well, it’s lovely to see you too,” Hamlet said.

“She is upset at your behavior.”

“Now that’s not true,” Hamlet said. “And you know it’s not true. You take that back.”

R or G wasn’t sure what to do. Hamlet seemed to be getting nutsier and nutsier. They decided. “We take it back.”

Polonius announced, “My lord, the queen wants to speak with you.”

“Well, I’d better go then. Tell the queen I’ll be there by the by.”

Hamlet was through playing. He was through pussy footin’. He might not be on a mission from God, but now he was on a mission. He knew what he must do. It was time to get on with the show. Just to show it, he said these words:

‘Tis now the very witching time of night,
When churchyards yawn and hell itself breathes out
Contagion to this world. Now could I drink hot blood
And do such bitter business as the bitter day
Would quake to look on. Soft, now to my mother.—
O heart, lose not thy nature, let not ever
The soul of Nero enter this firm bosom.
Let me be cruel, not unnatural.
I will speak daggers to her but use none.
My tongue and soul in this be hypocrites.
How in my words somever she be shent,
To give them seals never, my soul, consent!

Scary stuff. And I’m talking deep fried, Stephen King, Anne Rice kind of scary. The witching hour indeed.

Hamlet: R & G

Hamlet: Why, man, they did make love to this employment. They are not near my conscience. (Hamlet Act 5 Scene 2.)

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

Act 2. Scene 2. Is it Halloween? If not, then why is Rosencrantz and Guildenstern showing up for treat-or-treat? And in those costumes too. They are dressed in white faces, a coxcomb of peacock feathers on their heads, white shirts and red bow ties with purple polka dots, and red and white striped pants. The king and queen had never seen anything like it. It took their breath away.

Bumblers extraordinary. Think Laurel & Hardy or Abbott & Costello. A couple of wild and crazy guys. The Blues Brothers, Jake & Elmo, or Zorro & Sgt. Gonzalez. Crosby & Hope without Dorothy Lamorr. Dumb and Dumber could have taken lessons from these two guys. They were so wild and crazy they got their own play.

One is tall and the other short just like Mutt and Jeff. R & G were the original Tweedledee and Tweedledum. They are inseparable, these two.

The trumpets trumpet. The drums drum. And there they are bowing before King Claude.

Claude is the first to speak. Of course, the king is always the first to speak. “Hey, Dudes.”

“Your Magnanimousness.” We are not sure who speaks. Is it Rosencrantz or is it Guildenstern? No one is ever sure. Not even R & G. It’s like Freddy Mercury sings, “Anyway the wind blows doesn’t really matter.” So why should it matter which is Twiddledee and which Tweedledum?

“We are impressed with your court ettiquette,” King speaks his approval of the boys in those costumes.

Queen Gertie giggles, then makes the vote unanimous. Not that Claudius needs any backup. Claude looks over at the queen and gives her one of those looks. You know the kind of look I am talking about.

Just who are R and G which I will refer to as R and G hence. Hence is another way of saying “from now on.” Kind of like etc. They are Witties just like Hamlet. Fraternity brothers at the University of Wittenberg. A couple of fun guys who were the life of the party. No matter the frown on the Hamster’s face, they could always get a chuckle out of him.

“So what brings you two fine fellows to our court?” Claudius asks.

“We got your note,” R answers or it could be G.

“Oh, that’s right,” Claudius pretends to remember. “I must get off that viagara. It is really affecting my memory.”

“If we can grant it, Your Magnanimousness, we shall grant your desire. Not the desire to get off viagara. But the other desire. The one that brought us here in the first place.”

Claudius smiled down upon the two. This was what he liked to hear. It was morning, the birds were singing, and he had two yes-men before him. What more could a king want?

“If you insist,” Claudius said, “I have one teensy weensy favor to ask. I would like you to visit with Hamlet. Find out what he’s feeling so blue about. He won’t tell the queen and I. You’re such good friends with the boy. I know you can get it out of him. You were his boyhood friends.”

“Gladly, Your Magnanimousness.”

“Then go to him. And report everything,” the king says, “to me. Now run along and do your duty. And make your king proud.”

The two bow and back out of the big room.