A monologue from the play "Hamlet" by William Shakespeare

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About this Monologue

  • Character: Horatio
  • Gender: Male
  • Age Range(s): Young Adult (20-35), Adult (36-50)
  • Type of monologue / Character is: Descriptive, Afraid
  • Type: Dramatic
  • Period: Renaissance
  • Genre: Tragedy
  • Description: Horatio predicts misfortune for Denmark
  • Location: ACT I, Scene 1

Summary

The play is set in Denmark at the Elsinore Castle. In the first scene of the play we are outside the castle on a winter night. Two watchmen, Bernardo and Marcellus have called Horatio, Prince Hamlet's friend, to join them during the night watch to witness the apparition of a ghost that they believe is the ghost of the dead King Hamlet. Horatio doesn't believe them at first but then he witnesses a fast apparition of the ghost. Horatio argues that this apparition has a meaning, that is some misfortune is about to happen in Denmark.

In this monologue Horatio explains what he thinks is about to happen in Denmark, ...

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Excerpt

HORATIO
That can I;
At least, the whisper goes so. Our last king,
Whose image even but now appear'd to us,
Was, as you know, by Fortinbras of Norway,
Thereto prick'd on by a most emulate pride,
Dared to the combat; in which our valiant Hamlet--
For so this side of our known world esteem'd him--
Did slay this Fortinbras; who by a seal'd compact,
Well ratified by law and heraldry,
Did forfeit, with his life, all those his lands
Which he stood seized of, to the conqueror:
Against the which, a moiety competent
Was gaged by our king; which had return'd
To the inheritance of Fortinbras,
Had he been vanquisher; as, by the same covenant,
And carriage of the article design'd,
His fell to Hamlet. Now, sir, young Fortinbras,
Of unimproved mettle hot and full,
Hath in the skirts of Norway here and there
Shark'd up a list of lawless resolutes,
For food and diet, to some enterprise
That hath a stomach in't; which is no other--
As it doth well appear unto our state--
But to recover of us, by strong hand
And terms compulsatory, those foresaid lands
So by his father lost: and this, I take it,
Is the main motive of our preparations,
The source of this our watch and the chief head
Of this post-haste and romage in the land.



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