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Hamlet’s Turning Point

Password to watch is bowie, below is the text of the quote from the book & a modern translation…


Original

“I’ll be with you straight. Go a little before.
How all occasions do inform against me,
And spur my dull revenge! What is a man
If his chief good and market of his time
Be but to sleep and feed? A beast, no more.
Sure, he that made us with such large discourse,
Looking before and after, gave us not
That capability and godlike reason
To fust in us unused. Now, whether it be
Bestial oblivion, or some craven scruple
Of thinking too precisely on th’ event—
A thought which, quartered, hath but one part wisdom
And ever three parts coward—I do not know
Why yet I live to say “This thing’s to do,”
Sith I have cause and will and strength and means
To do ’t. Examples gross as earth exhort me.
Witness this army of such mass and charge
Led by a delicate and tender prince,
Whose spirit with divine ambition puffed
Makes mouths at the invisible event,
Exposing what is mortal and unsure
To all that fortune, death, and danger dare,
Even for an eggshell. Rightly to be great
Is not to stir without great argument,
But greatly to find quarrel in a straw
When honor’s at the stake. How stand I then,
That have a father killed, a mother stained,
Excitements of my reason and my blood,
And let all sleep—while, to my shame, I see
The imminent death of twenty thousand men,
That for a fantasy and trick of fame
Go to their graves like beds, fight for a plot
Whereon the numbers cannot try the cause,
Which is not tomb enough and continent
To hide the slain? Oh, from this time forth,
My thoughts be bloody, or be nothing worth!”


Simplified

I’ll be there in a minute. Start without me.
My God! Everything I see shows me how wrong I am and
tells me to hurry up and get on with my revenge. What is
a human being if he just eats and sleeps? Nothing more
than a beast. God didn’t create us with such a huge
power of thought and a divine capacity for reason in
order for us not to use them. Now, whether it’s animal-
like mindlessness, or the cowardly hesitation
that comes from thinking too much (thinking thoughts
that are one part wisdom, three parts cowardice), I don’t
know why I’m still alive to say “I have to do this deed”
rather than having done it already. I have the motivation,
the willpower, the ability, and the means to do it. It’s as
plain as the ground beneath my feet that I must do it.
Look at this massive army led by a delicate and tender
prince who’s so puffed up with divine ambition that he
puts his fragile life at risk, exposing it to danger and
death, for a reason as thin as an eggshell. To be truly
great doesn’t mean you’d only fight for a good reason. It
means you’d fight over nothing if your honor was at
stake. So where does that leave me, whose father has
been murdered and mother defiled, ignoring these
mental and emotional provocations and letting well
enough alone? Meanwhile, to my shame, I watch twenty
thousand men go marching to their deaths for an illusion
and a little bit of fame, fighting for a tiny piece of land not
even big enough to bury them all. From now on, if my
thoughts aren’t violent I’ll consider them worthless.

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