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Hamlet Screenplay 1
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FADE IN:

TITLE

Never forget, and remember always, my son, there is nothing so important as righteousness...

						-- Abraham


0.1  EXT. DENMARK -- A FOREST -- DAY (AFTERNOON)

TRAVELLING SHOT: A dense, gloomy, old-growth forest tangled with undergrowth, dripping with newfallen rain.  As we travel along, the sounds of a faint but ominous drumming fades in.  Just then a trio of shrunken heads impaled on a stick pass by in fg, then another set.  The rearguard of an army appears, through the trees, in a grassy dell.  More SOLDIERS appear as we continue travelling, then the main host of a large army: the army of the Kingdom of Denmark.  At the head of this, there is a gathering of THANES, and PRIESTS.  An OLD PRIEST is reciting a prayer.  Kneeling before him, in full armor, is the KING OF DENMARK.  STOP TRAVELLING SHOT.  The King’s armor is of Roman style, and is composed of gold, silver, and bronze.  In addition, he is also wearing, also after the Roman fashion, purple fabric.

					NARRATOR (V.O.)
				(whispers)
			That’s the Danish army, and their king,
			right there.  He’s receiving a blessing 
			from that priest.  The priest is speaking 
			in Latin.  He’s invoking the aid of God 
			for his King, for Denmark, and what he
			calls “all Christendom.”

THE DANISH ARMY

They’re rapt.

					NARRATOR (V.O.)
				(continuing; whispers)
			This is single combat between the Danish
			king, and the King of Norway.

THE NORWEGIAN SIDE

Just across the dell the main Norwegian host is assembled.  They are pagan Vikings.  A contingent of WITCHES are dancing around the KING OF NORWAY, as he prepares himself for battle.  The Norwegians have a company of DRUMMERS banging out a jungle beat.  The Witches have their hairline cut back to a line even with their ears, and bear various tattoos all over themselves.

					NARRATOR (V.O.)
				(continuing; whispers)
			That’s the King of Norway: Fortinbras, 
			right there.

THE DANISH SIDE
				
The Priest is concluding his prayer.

					PRIEST
				(in Latin)
			In the name of the Father, and the Son,
			and the Holy Spirit, I bless you and your
			sword.  Amen.

					THE ARMY
			Amen.

The Norwegian drums fall silent.  Then the Witches begin a chant: “Odin, Odin, Odin...”  This is taken up by the entire Norwegian host.  In response the Danish army starts clanging their swords against their shields, making a tremendous clamor.

The Danish King crosses himself, rises, and turns, facing the Norwegians.  

					NARRATOR (V.O.)
				(whispers)
			They’re about to engage in single combat
			for the possession of this territory here.
			Whichever king wins, the other army retires, 
			and the winners take over.

					DANISH KING
				(in Old Norse)
			God is my strength!

					FORTINBRAS
				(in Old Norse)
			Odin and Thor tear you to pieces!

A shout goes up from the Norwegian side.

					NARRATOR (V.O.)
				(whispers)
			They’re speaking Old Norse.  They just
			invoked their gods.  Now they’ll fight.

Fortinbras draws his sword and advances.  The Danish King advances to meet him.  They fight.  The Danish host begins singing a psalm.  The Norwegian drummers start pounding again.  There is a tremendous noise.

THE FIGHT

The two kings, although past their prime as warriors, are nevertheless well skilled as swordsmen, and the fight goes on most strenuously, ebbing to and fro, accompanied by shouts of joy or dread whenever one seems to have the advantage.  The fight goes on for two hours, and both are wounded.  The passage of time is indicated by WIPES, and by the setting of the sun.  NIGHT FALLS.  the combat continues by torchlight.  The Danish King takes up his own chant: “God is my strength” (in Old Norse).  Both sides have lost energy for much singing or shouting.  At last, the Danish King, calling on a hidden reserve of stamina, pounds Fortinbras back and down.  Fortinbras, exhausted, cannot hold his heavy shield up quite high enough, and with his last strength, the Danish King swings his heavy sword around, beheading Fortinbras.  A stream of blood shoots straight up out his neck.  A SHRIEK goes up from the Witches, a ROAR from the Danish host, and the Norwegian host panics and runs for their lives.

The Danish King is borne aloft, and the Danish host pursues the Norwegian host, singing again.  We watch them run after the Norwegians into the gathering gloom, and the camera comes to rest at a shot of another set of shrunken heads, this time flanked by skulls.

					NARRATOR (V.O.)
				(continuing)
			That was thirty years ago.

										WIPE TO:


0.2 EXT. AN AMORPHOUS VOID -- NIGHT

Dark shifting shapes of greyness give way, and we spy the surface of a moonlit sea, from a great height.

CREDITS

Swooping down, we flash over the surface of the sea, but not steadily, not as in an airplane: the speed ebbs and flows, as if we were born along by a great bird...

As the Credits come to a close, we bank and climb, over toward:


EXT. ELSINORE CASTLE -- NIGHT

The great castle is on a sharp promontory.  Its foundation is hewn of stone, but much of the castle superstructure is made of timber.  Torches illuminate the ramparts.  It is raw weather, and a strong wind drives a mist against the walls.  We bank again and glide over the castle, and seem to come to rest on a high tower, overlooking all.


1.1  EXT. ELSINORE CASTLE -- RAMPARTS -- NIGHT

Sounds of the sea, and of wind whipping the banners, and the torches.

A sentry, BARNARDO, appears from just off frame to the right.  He is terrified, and peers out into the mist.  He turns this way and that, brandishing his spear.  Finally, nearly in a panic, he shouts:

					BARNARDO
			Who’s there?

From out of the gloom another voice calls:
				
					FRANCISCO (O.S.)
			Nay, answer me!  Stand and unfold yourself!

					BARNARDO
				(bringing his spear round)
			Long live the King!

Francisco, the other sentry, appears straight out of the fog.  Barnardo gapes in terror.

					FRANCISCO
			Barnardo?

					BARNARDO
			He.

					FRANCISCO
			You come most carefully upon your hour.

					BARNARDO
			‘Tis now struck twelve.  Get thee to bed,
			Francisco.

					FRANCISCO
			For this relief much thanks.

He eyes Barnardo carefully, judging his agitation.

					FRANCISCO
				(continuing)
			‘Tis bitter cold, and I am sick at heart.

					BARNARDO
			Have you had quiet guard?

					FRANCISCO
			Not a mouse stirring.

A deep, throaty sound of what might be laughter is heard O.S.(but near the microphone).  Although the sentries do not seem to hear it, they continue to look around uneasily.  Barnardo tries to recover himself.

					BARNARDO
			Well, good night.
				(pause)
If you meet Horatio and Marcellus, bid them make haste.

					FRANCISCO
			I think I hear them.

There are footsteps.  Both sentries are alarmed, and stand ready with their weapons.  The wind kicks up, dispelling the fog a little.  Francisco looks over at Barnardo, who is now petrified with fear.

					FRANCISCO
			Stand ho!  Who is there?

Barnardo backs away into the fog.  Behind and above, we see revealed the form of an enormous, glowing, jewel-encrusted WHITE DRAGON, perched on a tower of the battlements.  HORATIO, an Irish priest who looks rather youthful for his 46 years, and MARCELLUS, another guard, enter from either side of the camera position to face Francisco.
	
					HORATIO
			Friends to this ground.

					MARCELLUS
			And liegemen to the Dane.

					FRANCISCO
			God give you good night.

Marcellus is amused at Francisco’s alarm.  He has been drinking.  Matter of fact, he is drinking right now: a good vintage of imported Greek wine, in a bottle wrapped in wicker.

					MARCELLUS
			Oh, farewell, honest soldier.
				(looking around)
			Who hath relieved you?

					FRANCISCO (O.S.)
			Barnardo hath my place.  Good 
			night.

					MARCELLUS
			Hey there, Barnardo!

Barnardo reappears from the mist.

					BARNARDO
				(relieved)
			Say, what, is Horatio there?

					HORATIO
			A piece of him.

Marcellus is looking around nonchalantly, as if there is nothing to be afraid of.  The Dragon, although visible to us, is not seen by the characters.

					BARNARDO
			Welcome, good Horatio, and you,
			too, Marcellus.

Horatio regards the quaking Barnardo closely, and his demeanor becomes suddenly serious.

					HORATIO
			What, has this thing appeared again tonight?

					BARNARDO
				(trying to cover up
				 his fear)
			I have seen nothing.

					MARCELLUS
				(To Barnardo; with excellent
				 good cheer)
			Horatio says ‘tis but our fantasy,
			And will not let belief take hold of him,
				(to Horatio)
			Touching this dreaded sight twice seen by us.
				(to Barnardo)
			Therefore I have entreated him along
				(moving to Horatio)
			With us to watch the minutes of this night,
			That if again this apparition come
				(aside)
			He may approve our eyes and speak to it.

Is Marcellus going to kiss Horatio?

					HORATIO
				(evading him)
			Hah! There’s no such thing.

Horatio is peering out into the night, on the lookout for the apparition, and though his eyes pass over the Dragon, he sees it not.  Barnardo is afraid he’ll find something, and tries to distract him.

					BARNARDO
			Sit you down awhile, Horatio, 
			And let us once again assail your ears --
			That are so fortified against our story --
			With what we have these two nights seen.

					HORATIO
			Well -- 
	
					MARCELLUS
			Well, sit we down,
			And let us hear Barnardo speak of this.

Marcellus sits down right next to Horatio.

					BARNARDO
			Last night, 
			When yond same star that’s westward from the pole,
			Had made its course to shine in that part of heaven

HIGH ANGLE PAST DRAGON

The Dragon is becoming agitated, and it flexes its talons.

					BARNARDO
				(continuing)
			Where it now burns, Marcellus and myself,

THE BATTLEMENTS

Marcellus is facing the position of the Dragon.

					BARNARDO
				(continuing)
			The bell then beating one -- 

The Dragon produces a large mask which, in Greek theater, denotes comedy.  Suddenly Marcellus sees it.

					MARCELLUS
			Peace!  Break thee off!
			Look where it comes again!

					BARNARDO
				(jumping to his feet)
			In the same guise like the King that’s dead!

					MARCELLUS
			Thou art a scholar, speak to it, Horatio.

					BARNARDO
			Looks it not like the King?

					HORATIO
			Most like.

					BARNARDO
			It would be spoke to.

					MARCELLUS
			Question it, Horatio.

					HORATIO
				(to Dragon)
			What art thou that stalks this time of night,
			Together with that fair and warlike form
			In which the majesty of buried Denmark
			Did sometimes march?

The Dragon peers down at them.  Horatio makes the sign of the cross.

					HORATIO
				(continuing)
			By God, I charge thee, speak!

The Dragon starts, and then slithers away over the edge of the wall.

					MARCELLUS
			It is offended.

					BARNARDO
			See!  It stalks away!

					HORATIO
				(advancing)
			Stay, speak, speak!  I charge thee speak!

Marcellus and Barnardo charge past Horatio, and peer over the battlements out into the fog.  There is nothing but the sound of breakers.

					MARCELLUS
			It’s gone and will not answer.
	
					BARNARDO
			How now, Horatio, you tremble and look pale.
			Is not this something more than fantasy?
			What think you on it?

					HORATIO
			Before my God, I might not this believe,
			Without the sensible and true report
			Of my own eyes.

					MARCELLUS
			Is it not like the King?

					HORATIO
			As thou art to thyself.

He looks out into the night for the apparition.  Then he turns back to the two guards.

					HORATIO
				(continuing)
			Such was the very armor he had on when he fought
			the Norwegian King. ‘Tis most strange.

					MARCELLUS
			Thus twice before, and right at this dead hour,
			With martial gait hath he gone by our watch.

They look at Horatio as if waiting for an explanation.

					HORATIO
			With what particular motive I know not, but in 
			my opinion this...this bodes some strange
			eruption to our state.

Horatio walks back to the main part of the platform, and then starts to walk away altogether.  But Marcellus prevents him.  The Dragon peers over the edge of the battlements, listening in.

					MARCELLUS
			Wait, sit you down, and tell me, if you know,
			How it is that not only we, on guard here,
			But also many more toil in the realm,
			Feverishly, daily forging steel for swords,
			And in the market place trade them also,
			For implements of war from foreign lands,
			Why such impress of shipwrights, whose sore task
			Does not divide the Sunday from the week?
			What is the reason for the sweaty haste
			That makes the night joint-laborer with the day?
				(makes pass at Horatio)
			Who is it that can inform me?

Horatio again evades Marcellus, and settles down to lecture them, with disapproving allusions toward Marcellus.

					HORATIO
			That I can.
			At least the whisper goes so: our last King,
			Whose image even now appeared before us,
			Was, as you know, by Fortinbras of Norway,
			Thereto led on by an unrighteous pride,
			Challenged to single combat.

					NARRATOR (V.O.)
				(whispers)
			Listen to him: he thinks he’s a narrator.

					
FLASHBACK

THE BATTLE IN THE FOREST

M.O.S.  Old Fortinbras and Old Hamlet fighting their duel.


					HORATIO (V.O.)
			In this, our valiant King Hamlet,
			For so this side of our known world esteemed him,
			Did slay this Fortinbras, who by a seal’d compact
			
MAP OF THE REGION
		
					HORATIO (V.O.)
				(continuing)
			Well ratified by law and heraldry
			Did forfeit, with his life, all those lands
			He had seized afore to his conqueror.

END FLASHBACK

THE BATTLEMENTS

					HORATIO
				(continuing)
			Now, sir, this young Fortinbras,
			A temperamental boy, hot and full,

EXT. NORWAY -- THE COAST -- DAY

FORTINBRAS leading a rag-tag group of followers.  He is accompanied by the same group of Witches and Drummers (plus YOUNGER ONES) that appeared in the combat scene.

					HORATIO (V.O.)
				(continuing)
			Has, on the coast of Norway, here and there,
			Gathered a force of lawless resolutes,
			For some strange enterprise, which is no other,
			As it doth well appear...

INT. ELSINORE CASTLE -- WAR ROOM -- NIGHT

The current King, CLAUDIUS, with his ADVISORS, among them POLONIUS, are studying maps of the region.

					HORATIO (V.O.)
				(continuing)
			                       ...unto our state,
			But to recover from us by a strong hand
			All those foresaid lands, by this father lost.

THE BATTLEMENTS

					HORATIO
				(continuing)
			And this, I take it,
			Is the main motive of our preparations,
			The source of this our watch, and the whole point
			Of this most rapid rummaging in the land.

					BARNARDO
			I think it be no other but the same.

DRAGON POV

					BARNARDO
				(continuing)
			Well may it be that this portentous figure
			Comes armed through our watch so like the King
			That was, and is, the reason for these wars.

					HORATIO
			A mote it is to trouble the mind’s eye.

The Dragon starts moving: it climbs along the outside of the wall, and peers over at them as it does.

THE BATTLEMENTS

					HORATIO
				(continuing; partly to
				 himself)
			In the most high and mighty empire of Rome,
			Just before the great Iulius fell,
			The graves stood open, and the unbound dead
			Did squeak and gibber in the Roman streets.
			As stars with trains of fire and dews of blood,
			As darkenings of the sun, as the pallid moon
			Which rules the tides, is blotted in eclipse,
			As all these do occur, so too portend they
			Havoc, as is often demonstrated here,
				(aside)
			And in other lands, as well.

The Dragon climbs over the wall, and crouches on the platform, leaning forward.  It then presents its comedy mask.

					MARCELLUS
				(dropping wine bottle)
			But soft!  Behold!

					BARNARDO
			Lo, where it comes again!

					HORATIO
			I’ll cross it though it blast me.

The Dragon rises, looming over them.  Horatio advances towards it.
				
					HORATIO
				(continuing)
			If thou hast any sound or use of voice,
			Speak to me!
			If there be any good thing to be done
			That may do thee ease, and grace to me,
			Speak to me!
			If thou have intelligence of thy country’s fate,
			Which, if foreknowledge may avoid it,
			O, speak!
			
A COCK CROWS.  The Dragon starts, and turns away.

					HORATIO
				(continuing)
			Stop it, Marcellus!

Marcellus stabs at the Dragon with his spear, but the Dragon hops over to another part of the wall as nimbly as you please.  Barnardo stabs at it.

					BARNARDO
			‘Tis here.

					HORATIO
			‘Tis here.

The Dragon drops its mask, seems to fall over the edge of the battlements, and vanishes into the night.

					MARCELLUS
			‘Tis gone.
			We do it wrong, being so majestical,
			To offer it the show of violence,
			For it is as the air, invulnerable,
			And our vain blows malicious mockery.

					BARNARDO
			It was about to speak when the cock crew.

					HORATIO
			And then it started like a guilty thing
			Upon a fearful summons...
				(thinks)
			I have heard
			The cock, that is the trumpet to the morn,
			Doth with his lofty and shrill-sounding throat
			Awake the god of day, and at his warning,
			Whether in sea or fire, in earth, or air,
			The extravagant and erring spirit hies
			To his confine... 

					MARCELLUS
			And the truth of that belief
			This present show confirmation offers.

					BARNARDO
			It faded at the crowing of the cock.

					MARCELLUS
			Some say that ever within that time of year
			Wherein our Savior’s birth is celebrated,
			This bird of dawning singeth all night long,
			And then --
	
					BARNARDO
			And then, they say, no spirit dare stir abroad,
			The nights are wholesome, then no planets strike,
			No fairy takes, nor witch hath power to charm,
			So hallowed and so gracious is that time.

					HORATIO
			So have I heard...and do in part believe it.
				(thinks)
			But look you, the morning fast approaches.
			Let us divide our watch, and my advice is,
			That we impart what we have seen tonight
			Unto young Hamlet, for upon my life
			This ‘spirit,’ dumb to us, will speak to him.
			Do you consent we shall acquaint him with it,
			As needful in our loves, fitting our duty?

					BARNARDO
			Let’s do it, I pray.

					MARCELLUS
			And I this morning know
			Where we shall find him most convenient.
			
A full moon broods over the striking form of the Castle at Elsinore.  Breakers pound the rocks.  Just then the Dragon flies in front of the camera position in SLOW MOTION.


1.2  INT. ELSINORE -- THRONE ROOM -- DAY

The Old King’s armor is hanging on the wall.

					NARRATOR (V.O.)
				(whispers)
			In a moment the courtlings will enter;
			Watch out for the new king Claudius, and 
			his wife, Gertruda.  They’re a hot item.  
			You should see them in bed, especially her.

A FLOURISH SOUNDS.  Enter Claudius, King of Denmark, GERTRUDA, the Queen, and the ROYAL COUNCIL, including VOLTEMAND, CORNELIUS, Polonius, and his son LAERTES, young PRINCE HAMLET, and others of the court.  Hamlet and Claudius hate each other.

					CLAUDIUS
			Though yet of Hamlet our dear brother’s death
			The memory be green, and that it us befitted
			To bear our hearts in grief, and our whole kingdom
			To be contracted in one brow of woe,
			Yet so far hath discretion fought with nature
			That we with wisest sorrow think on him
			Together with remembrance of ourselves.

					NARRATOR (V.O.)
				(whispers)
			You’re a pompous old bastard, aren’t you?

					CLAUDIUS
			Therefore our sometime sister, now our queen,
			The imperial jointress to this warlike state,
			Have we, as ‘twere with a defeated joy,
			With an auspicious and a dropping eye,
			With mirth in funeral and with dirge in marriage,
			In equal scale weighing delight and dole,
			Taken to wife.

INSERT -- SHOT OF HAMLET

					NARRATOR (V.O.)
				(whispers)
			Porkin’ her.  Porkin’ her up the butt.  You
			bastard.

					CLAUDIUS
			Nor have we herein barr’d
			Your better wisdoms, which have freely gone
			With this affair along.

INSERT -- SHOT OF POLONIUS

					NARRATOR (V.O.)
				(whispers)
			He knows.  He knows all about it.
			
					CLAUDIUS
			For all, our thanks.

A CHEER goes up from the court.  Claudius rises, and begins an oration.

					CLAUDIUS
				(continuing)
			Now follows that you know young Fortinbras,
			Holding a weak supposal of our worth,
			Or thinking by our late dear brother’s death
			Our state to be disjoint and out of frame,
			Colleagued with this dream of his advantage,
			He hath not fail’d to pester us with message
			Importing the surrender of those lands
			Lost by his father, with all bonds of law,
			To our most valiant brother.  So much for him.
			Now for ourself, and for this time of meeting,
			Thus much the business is: we have here writ
			To Norway, uncle of young Fortinbras --
			Who, impotent and bedrid, scarcely hears
			Of his nephew’s purpose -- to suppress
			His further gait herein, in that the levies,
			The lists, and full proportions are all made
			Out of his subject; and we here dispatch
			You, good Cornelius, and you Voltemand,
			For bearers of this greeting to Old Norway,
			Giving to you no further personal power
			To business with the King more than the scope
			Of these dilated articles allow.

Cornelius and Voltemand advance to receive their documents.  They are dressed after the Viking fashion.

					NARRATOR (V.O.)
				(whispers)
			He’s trying to hold on to his hard-won territory
			by diplomatic means.  That has no chance.  As
			for these two ambassadors, well...

					CLAUDIUS
				(formulaic)
			Farewell, and let your haste commend your duty.

					CORNELIUS + VOLTEMAND
				(formulaic)
			In that, and all things, will we show our duty.

Cornelius and Voltemand exit the throne room.

					CLAUDIUS
				(sitting down)
			And now, Laertes, what’s the news with you?

Laertes looks embarrassed, and says nothing.

					CLAUDIUS
				(continuing)
			Come now, lose not your voice.
			The head is not more native to the heart,
			The hand more instrumental to the mouth,
			Than is the throne of Denmark to thy father.

He looks more embarrassed than ever.

					CLAUDIUS
				(continuing)
			What wouldst thou have, Laertes?

Hamlet mimics the king’s words in pantomime.

					LAERTES
			My dread lord,
			Your leave and favor to return to France,
			From whence though willingly I came to Denmark
			To show my duty in your coronation,
			Yet I must confess, that duty done,
			My thoughts and wishes bend again toward France
			And bow them to your gracious leave and pardon.

					CLAUDIUS
				(glancing at Hamlet)
			Have you your father’s leave?  What says Polonius?

					POLONIUS
			He hath, my lord, wrung from me my slow leave
			By laborsome petition, and at last
			Upon his will I seal’d my hard consent.
				(pause)
			I do beseech you, let him go.

					CLAUDIUS
			Take thy fair hour, Laertes, time be thine,
			And thy best graces spend it at thy will.

Laertes bows and exits.

					CLAUDIUS
				(continuing)
			But now, my cousin Hamlet, and my son --

					HAMLET
				(aside)
			A little more than kin, and less than kind.

					CLAUDIUS
			How is it that the clouds still hang on you?

					HAMLET
			Not so, my lord, I am too much in the sun.

					NARRATOR (V.O.)
				(whispers)
			Ha, ha, very funny.

					GERTRUDA
			Good Hamlet, cast thy nighted color off,
			And let thine eye look like a friend on Denmark.
			Do not for ever with thy vailed lids
			Seek for thy noble father in the dust.
			
No reaction.

					GERTRUDA
				(continuing)
			Thou know’st ‘tis common: all that lives must die,
			Passing though nature to eternity.

					HAMLET
				(looking up)
			Ay, madam, it is common.

					GERTRUDA
			If it be,
			Why seems it so particular with thee?

					HAMLET
			Seems, madam?  Nay it is.  I know not ‘seems.’
			‘Tis not alone my inky cloak, good mother,
			Nor customary suits of solemn black,
				(to Claudius)
			Nor windy suspiration of forc’d breath,
				(to court)
			No, nor the fruitful river in the eye,
			Nor the dejected ‘havior of the visage,
			Together with all forms, moods, shapes of grief,
			That can denote me truly.  These indeed seem,
			For they are actions that a man might play;
			But I have that within which passes show,
				(aside)
			These but the trappings and the suits of woe.

					CLAUDIUS
			‘Tis sweet and commendable in your nature, Hamlet,
			To give these mourning duties to your father,
			But you must know your father lost a father,
			That father lost, lost his -- and the survivor bound
			In filial obligation for some term
			To do official grieving.  But to persevere
			In obstinate endless sorrow is a course
			Of impious stubbornness: an unmanly grief.
			It shows a will most incorrect to heaven,

A low, coarse, rumbling becomes audible, of something that might be laughter, and then it fades away.

					CLAUDIUS
				(continuing)
			A heart unfortified, a mind impatient,
			An understanding simple and...unschooled;
			For what we know must be, and is as common
			To accept as anything there is.
			Why should we in our peevish opposition
			Take it to heart?  Fie, ‘tis a fault to heaven,
			A fault against the dead, a fault to nature,
			To reason most absurd, whose common theme
			Is death of fathers, and nature cries still,
			From the first corpse...
			

					NARRATOR (V.O.)
				(whispers)
			Abel.  Abel, Abel, Abel.

					CLAUDIUS

						...till he that died today,
			‘This must be so.’

Hamlet is fuming.

					CLAUDIUS
				(continuing)
			We pray you bury deep
			This unprevailing woe, and think of us
			As of a father; for let the world take note
			You are the most immediate to our throne,

That’s a surprise.

					CLAUDIUS
				(continuing)
			And with no less nobility of love
			Than that which dearest father bears his son
			Do I impart toward you.

There is a murmur of approval from the court.

					CLAUDIUS
				(continuing)
			For your intent
			In going back to school in Wittenberg,
			It is most retrograde to our desire,
			And we beseech you bend you to remain
			Here in the cheer and comfort of our eye,
			Our chiefest courtier, cousin, and our son.

A small ovation from the court.

					NARRATOR (V.O.)
				(whispers)
			Keep him here where you can keep an eye
			on him.  Very clever.

Gertruda almost forgets her cue.

					GERTRUDA
			Let not thy mother lose her prayers, Hamlet.
			I pray thee stay with us, go not to Wittenberg.

					HAMLET
			I shall in all my best obey you, madam.

					CLAUDIUS
				(to court; ignoring
				 the insult)
			Why, ‘tis a loving and a fair reply.
				(to Hamlet; as warning)
			Be as ourself in Denmark.
				(to Gertruda)
			Madam, come.
				(to court)
			This gentle and unforc’d accord of Hamlet
			Sits smiling on my heart; in grace whereof,
			No joyous toast that Denmark drinks today
			But our trumpets to the clouds shall sound,
			And the King’s health the heavens sound again, 
			Re-speaking earthly thunder.  Come away!

Another flourish of trumpets.  The throne room empties, as the feasting is to begin.  Hamlet remains alone.
			
					NARRATOR (V.O.)
			Fuck that shit.

					HAMLET
				(aside/to himself)
			O that this too too sullied flesh would melt,
			Thaw and resolve itself into a dew,
			Or that the Everlasting had not fixed 
			His canon ‘gainst self-slaughter.  O God!  God!
			How weary, stale, flat and unprofitable
			Seem to me all the uses of this world!
			Fie on’t, ah fie, ‘tis an unweeded garden
			That goes to seed; things rank and gross in nature
			Possess it wholly.  That it should come to this!
			But two months dead -- nay, not so much, not two --
			So excellent a king, that was to this....as 
			Hyperion to a satyr.  So loving to my mother
			That he might not permit the winds of heaven
			Visit her face too roughly.  Heaven and earth,
			Must I remember?  Why, she would hang on him
			As if increase of appetite had grown
			By what it fed on; and yet within a month --
			Let me not think on’t -- Frailty, thy name is woman --
			A little month, or ere those shoes were old
			With which she follow’d my poor father’s body,
			Like Niobe, all tears -- why, she --
			O God, a beast that wants discourse of reason
			Would have mourn’d longer --  married with my uncle,
			My father’s brother -- but no more like my father
			Than I to Hercules.  Within a month,
			Ere yet the salt of most unrighteous tears
			Had left the flushing in her galled eyes,
			She married -- O most wicked speed!  To rush
			With such dexterity to incestuous sheets!
			It is not, nor it cannot come to good.
			But, break my heart, for I must hold my tongue.

Horatio, Marcellus, and Barnardo have been peering in; they nod to each other, and advance.  Hamlet is weeping, and marks them not.

					HORATIO
			Hail to your lordship.

Hamlet slowly turns to them, and strives to place them.

					HAMLET
			I am glad to see you well.
			Horatio, or I do forget myself.

					HORATIO
			The same, my lord, and your poor servant ever.

					HAMLET
			No, sir: my good friend.  I’ll show you.
			And what make you from Wittenberg, Horatio?
				(to Marcellus)
			Marcellus.

					MARCELLUS
			Good my lord.

					HAMLET
			I am very glad to see you.
				(to Barnardo)
			Good even, sir.
				(to Horatio)
			But what in faith takes you from Wittenberg?

They are trying to get around to broaching the apparition, and spend some attention regarding the armor on the wall.

					HORATIO
			A truant disposition, good my lord.
			
					HAMLET
			I would not hear your enemy say so,
			Nor shall you do my ear that violence
			To make it truster of your own report
			Against yourself.  I know you are no truant.

No one speaks, but the sounds of the feast are apparent.

					HAMLET
				(continuing)
			But what is your affair in Elsinore?
			We’ll teach you to drink deep ere you depart.

					HORATIO
			My lord, I came to see your father’s funeral.

All three of the boys sneak glances at the armor.  Hamlet turns to see what they are looking at, then in the direction of the noise, then back to them.

					HAMLET
			I prithee do not mock me, fellow-student.
			I think it was to see my mother’s wedding.

					HORATIO
			Indeed, my lord, it followed hard upon.

					HAMLET
			Thrift, thrift, Horatio.  The funeral-baked meats
			Did coldly furnish forth the marriage tables.
			Would I had met my dearest foe in heaven
			Rather I had seen that day, Horatio.
				(indicating armor)
			My father,
				(looking off)
				      methinks I see my father --

The others are startled, and turn around to look in the direction Hamlet is looking.
	
					HORATIO
				(alarmed)
			Where, my lord?

					HAMLET
				(pause; slowly)
			In my mind’s eye, Horatio.

					HORATIO
				(about to reveal it)
			I saw him...once...he was a goodly king.
			
					HAMLET
				(regarding armor)
			He was a man, take him for all in all.
			I shall not look upon his like again.

Horatio screws up his courage, and comes out with it.

					HORATIO
			My lord...I think I saw him yesternight.

					HAMLET
			Saw?  Who?

					HORATIO
			My lord, the king your father.

Marcellus and Barnardo nod vehemently.

					HAMLET
				(stunned)
			The king my father!

He turns to the armor.  Horatio turns him back.

					HORATIO
			Season your amazement for a while, with
			An attentive ear, till I may deliver
			Upon the witness of these gentlemen
			This marvel to you.

					HAMLET
			For God’s love let me hear!

					HORATIO
			Two nights together had these gentlemen,

FLASHBACK

THE BATTLEMENTS

The Ghost appears, and in the form and guise as they saw it: namely, as Old Hamlet, in the Roman armor.  The rest goes as Horatio describes it.

					HORATIO (V.O.)
			Marcellus and Barnardo, on their watch
			In the dead waste and middle of the night
			Were thus encounter’d: a figure like your father
			Fully armed, from head to foot,
			Appeared before them, and with a solemn march
			Goes slow and stately by them; thrice he walk’d
			By their oppress’d and fear-surprised eyes
			Within their truncheon’s length, whilst they, distilled
			Almost to jelly with the act of fear,
			Stand dumb and speak not to him.  This to me
			In dreadful secrecy impart they did,
			And I with them the third night kept the watch,
			Where, as they had deliver’d, both in time,
			Form of the thing, each word made true and good,
			The apparition comes.

END FLASHBACK

THE THRONE ROOM

Hamlet again looks back at the armor.  Horatio again turns him back.  Hamlet grabs Horatio’s hands, as if to remove them from himself.

					HORATIO
				(continuing)
			I knew you father;
			These hands are not more like.

					HAMLET
				(to Barnardo)
			But where was this?

					MARCELLUS
			My lord, upon the platform where we watch.

					HAMLET
				(to Marcellus)
			Did you not speak to it?

					HORATIO
			My lord, I did,

FLASHBACK

THE BATTLEMENTS

Again the Ghost, appearing as Old Hamlet.

					HORATIO (V.O.)
			But answer made it none.  Yet once I thought
			It lifted up its head and did address
			Itself to motion like as it would speak.
			But even then the morning cock crew loud,
		
END FLASHBACK

THE THRONE ROOM
		
					HORATIO
				(continuing)
			And at the sound it shrunk in haste away
			And vanished from our sight.

					HAMLET
			Very strange.

					HORATIO
			As I do live, my honour’d lord, ‘tis true;
			And we did think it writ down in our duty
			To let you know of it.

					HAMLET
			Indeed sirs.  But this troubles me.
				(glances to armor,
				 and back)
			Hold you the watch tonight?
	
					ALL
			We do, my lord.

					HAMLET
			Armed, say you?

					ALL
			Armed, my lord.

					HAMLET
			From top to toe?

					ALL
			My lord, from head to foot.

					HAMLET
			Then saw you not his face?

					HORATIO
			O yes, my lord, he wore his visor up.

					HAMLET
			What looked he, frowningly?

					HORATIO
			A countenance more in sorrow than in anger.

					HAMLET
			And fixed his eyes upon you?

					HORATIO
			Most constantly.
	
					HAMLET
			I would I had been there.

					HORATIO
			It would have much amazed you.

					HAMLET
			Very like.
				(pause)
			Stayed it long?

					HORATIO
			While one with moderate haste might tell a hundred.

					MARCELLUS + BARNARDO
			Longer, longer.

					HORATIO
			Not when I saw it.

					HAMLET
			His beard was grizzled, no?

					HORATIO
			It was as I have seen it in his life,
			A sable silvered.

He decides.

					HAMLET
			I will watch tonight.
			Perchance ‘twill walk again.

					HORATIO
			I warrant it will.

					HAMLET
			If it assume my noble father’s person.
			I’ll speak to it though hell itself should gape
			And bid me hold my peace.  I pray you all,
			If you have hitherto conceal’d this sight,
			Let it be tenable in your silence still;
			And whatsoever else shall hap tonight,
			Give it an understanding but no tongue.
			I will requite your loves.  So fare you well.
			Upon the platform ‘twixt eleven and twelve
			I’ll visit you.

					ALL
			Our duty to your honor.

					HAMLET
			Your loves, as mine to you.  Farewell.

Exit Horatio, Marcellus, and Barnardo.

					HAMLET
				(aside/to himself)
			My father’s spirit -- in arms!  All is not well.
			I guess some foul play.  Would the night were come.
			Till then, sit still, my soul.  Foul deeds will rise,
			Though all the earth o’erwhelm them, to men’s eyes.
			

1.3  INT. ROOM IN CASTLE -- DAY

M.O.S. plus music.  Present are Laertes, and his older sister OPHELIA; Ophelia has her hair up, wearing it that way until the very end.  A strong sun shines through the windows.  Laertes is just finishing packing his things.  Ophelia waits patiently.  Laertes approaches her and kisses her, then points to a desk.

INSERT -- PEN AND PAPER

OPHELIA

TITLE
	DO YOU DOUBT ME?

OPHELIA

LAERTES

He smiles, turns and goes to the desk, then turns back.

MONTAGE SEQUENCE

Laertes says his regular speech  M.O.S., superimposed over: Hamlet wooing Ophelia, who rebuffs him.

TITLE
	SWEET, NOT LASTING

OPHELIA

A motion of rejection.

LAERTES

A motion of rejection.

OPHELIA

TITLE
	No more but so?

LAERTES

TITLE
	THINK IT NO MORE.

A CORRIDOR IN THE CASTLE

Hamlet approaches Ophelia down a long corridor in the castle.  As he nears her he gradually acquires royal garments, finally, a crown.  He passes Ophelia, and ascends the throne.  FADE IN Courtiers.

OPHELIA

HAMLET

A tear in his eye.

OPHELIA

HAMLET

Looks to maps: a council of war.

A ROOM IN THE CASTLE

Ophelia is forlorn.

LAERTES

FADE OUT Superimposition.  Laertes finishes his speech.  He shakes his head “no.”

OPHELIA

TITLE

	HE LOVES ME.

HAMLET

He mouths the words, “I love you.”

LAERTES

He mouths the word “If.”

TITLE

	IF HE SAYS HE LOVES YOU.

OPHELIA

She mouths the word “If.”

LAERTES

He mouths the words “If he says he loves you...”

OPHELIA

She gives him a querying look.  She mouths the word “If?”

TITLE

	BEWARE

THRONE ROOM

Full of courtiers.  Ophelia before the throne.  Hamlet extends his hand.  Ophelia kisses it, rises.  The courtiers stare at her disapprovingly.

HAMLET’S CROWN

OPHELIA’S EYES

LAERTES

He shakes his head “no.”

THRONE ROOM

Ophelia bows, and withdraws, taking her place at the back.

LAERTES

TITLE

	THEN,

INT. CASTLE 

A state wedding: Hamlet, and...a princess.

OPHELIA

At the back.

A ROOM IN THE CASTLE

Ophelia on a bench, nude: view from the rear.  Her legs are spread wide.  Hamlet faces her.  PAN HALFWAY AROUND.

SERIES OF SHOTS

Extreme close-ups of Ophelia, in agony and ecstasy.

A ROOM IN A DUNGEON

Ophelia looks up to a remote window.  Through which stark sunbeams slant.  PULL BACK REVEALING Ophelia, pregnant, and imprisoned.

LAERTES

TITLE

	THEN

TITLE

	WEIGH WHAT LOSS YOUR HONOR MAY SUSTAIN...

OPHELIA

TITLE

	HAMLET

OPHELIA

TITLE
	WEIGH WHAT LOSS

OPHELIA

TITLE
	HAMLET

OPHELIA

TITLE
	YOUR HONOR MAY SUSTAIN

OPHELIA
	
She mouths the word “Hamlet!”

TITLE
	WEIGH WHAT LOSS YOUR HONOR MAY SUSTAIN...

TITLE
	MAY SUSTAIN

TITLE
	MAY SUSTAIN [in larger letters]

TITLE
	YOUR HONOR MAY SUSTAIN

OPHELIA

In a room in the castle, sitting at a window.  PULL BACK REVEALING her nursing and crying.  She looks up.

LAERTES

He mouths the words, “fear it.”

QUICKTITLE
	FEAR IT

LAERTES

He mouths the words, “fear it, Ophelia.”

QUICKTITLE
	FEAR IT, OPHELIA.

LAERTES

He mouths the words “Fear it, Ophelia, fear it, my dear sister.”

MONTAGE SEQUENCE

Laertes and Ophelia in the room.  He puts a cloak around her.
Laertes and Ophelia in the Throne Room.  He puts a cloak around her.  Laertes and Ophelia before a bonfire, in front of a full moon.  Ophelia nude, dancing before it.  He puts a cloak around her.

TITLE
	BE WARY THEN.  BEST SAFETY LIES IN FEAR.
	YOU BETRAY YOURSELF, EVEN IF NONE ELSE BE NEAR.

LAERTES

OPHELIA

She smiles.

TITLE
	I SHALL THE EFFECT OF THIS GOOD LESSON KEEP AS
	WATCHMAN TO MY HEART.

OPHELIA

Still mostly M.O.S., but she speaks in synchrony with her lips.

					OPHELIA
			But, good my brother,
			Do not as some ungracious pastors do,
			Show me the steep and thorny way to heaven,
			Whiles like a puff’d and reckless libertine
			Himself the primrose path of dalliance treads,
			And heeds not his own schemes.

SOUND IN.

					LAERTES
				(guilty)
			O, fear me not.

They embrace.  Sounds of footsteps.

					LAERTES
				(continuing)
			I stay too long. But here my father comes.

Enter Polonius.

					POLONIUS
			Yet here Laertes?  Aboard, aboard for shame.
			The wind sits in the shoulder of your sail,
			And you are stayed for.

He gives Laertes a large purse, or bag, of money.

					POLONIUS
				(continuing)
			There, my blessing with thee.

Now they embrace, too.

					POLONIUS
				(continuing)
			And these few precepts in thy memory...

Laertes has heard this before, and turns away, but Polonius prevents him.  Ophelia is amused.

					POLONIUS
				(continuing)
						...look you, engrave.

He holds up a large gold coin, which he then puts into Laertes’s hand.  He begins a speech.

					POLONIUS
				(continuing)
			Give thy thoughts no tongue,
			Nor any unproportional thought his act.

MONTAGE SEQUENCE

There are two visual tracks: one shows a writer feverishly writing out the very text Polonius recites; the other is an enactment of Polonius’s advice to Laertes.  Frequently the text is shown in tight close-up, so close we see right through it -- through the letters (which achieve a certain transparency) to the other visual track. The first location is:

INT. FRANCE -- AN INN -- NIGHT

Laertes gambling (at cards).

					POLONIUS (V.O.)
				(continuing)
			Those friends thou hast, and their adoption tried,
			Grapple them unto thy soul with hoops of steel

One of the other gamblers accuses Laertes of cheating, overturns the tables, and challenges him.

					POLONIUS (V.O.)
				(continuing)
			But do not dull thy palm with entertainment

Laertes takes up the challenge, disarms his opponent easily, gives him back his weapon, whereupon the other leaves in dismay, and Laertes is surrounded by beautiful inn-women.

					POLONIUS (V.O.)
				(continuing)
			Of each new-hatched unfledged gallant.  Beware
			Of entrance to a quarrel, but being in,
			Bear’t that the opposed may beware of thee.

FLASHFORWARD

Laertes conspiring with Claudius.

					POLONIUS (V.O.)
			Give every man thy ear, but few thy voice;
			
END FLASHFORWARD

FLASHFORWARD

Laertes arguing with Hamlet at the graveside (Ophelia not visible).
				
					POLONIUS (V.O.)
			Take each man’s censure, but reserve thy judgment.

END FLASHFORWARD

INT. FRANCE -- DAY

Laertes is shaved, made-up, and attired in fancy (for the time) dress -- especially in contrast to the rude apparel of the northern climes of Denmark.

					POLONIUS  (V.O.)
				(continuing)
			Costly thy habit as thy purse can buy,
			But not expressed in fancy: rich, not gaudy;
			For the apparel oft proclaims the man,
			And they in France of the best rank and station
			Are of a most select and generous chief in that.

INT. FRANCE -- AN OFFICE -- NIGHT

Laertes is a money-lender, and is lending out money.

					POLONIUS (V.O.)
				(continuing)
			Neither a borrower nor a lender be,
			For loan oft loses both itself and friends,
			And borrowing dulls the edge of husbandry.

FLASHFORWARD

Laertes dueling Hamlet.

					POLONIUS (V.O.)
				(continuing)
			This above all: to thine own self be true,
			And it must follow as the night the day
			Thou canst be false to no man.

END FLASHFORWARD

END MONTAGE SEQUENCE

					POLONIUS
				(continuing)
			Farewell, my blessing season this in thee.

					LAERTES
			Most humbly do I take my leave, my lord.

Ophelia almost laughs.

					POLONIUS
			The time invests you.  Go, your servants tend.

					LAERTES
			Farewell Ophelia, and remember well 
			What I have said to you.

					OPHELIA
			‘Tis in my memory locked,
			And you yourself shall keep the key of it.

					LAERTES
			Farewell.

Exit Laertes.

					POLONIUS
			What has he said to you?

Ophelia adopts an ill-concealed attitude of mockery.

					OPHELIA
			Something...touching the Lord Hamlet.

					POLONIUS
			That’s well bethought.

Ophelia smirks, in impatience.

					POLONIUS
				(continuing)
			I have heard he has very often,
			of late, given...private time to you.

Waits for a response.

					POLONIUS
				(continuing)
			And you yourself, have, of yourself, 
			been most free and bounteous.

Waits again for a response.

					POLONIUS
				(continuing)
			If it be so, as so I have heard, I must
			tell you you may not clearly understand
			your position.

She turns away.

					POLONIUS
				(continuing)
			What is between you?  Tell me the truth.

					OPHELIA
			He has, my lord, of late made many 
			tenders of his affection to me.

					POLONIUS
			Affection?  Nonsense.  You talk like a
			shiksa. 
				(circling round her)
			Do you believe these ‘tenders,’ as you
			call them?

She turns away again -- not wanting to argue the point.

					OPHELIA
			I do not know, my lord, what
			I should think.

					POLONIUS
			I’ll tell you.  You’re a baby to take
			these tenders for true pay, which are
			not sterling.  Tender yourself more
			dearly, or, so to say, you’ll tender 
			me a fool.

He points down at her private parts.  This angers her.

					OPHELIA
			My lord, he has importuned me with
			love in honorable fashion.

					POLONIUS
			Faah!  Fashion you may call it.

					OPHELIA
			My lord, he has confirmed his speech with
			holy vows to...heaven.

That really irritates Polonius.

					POLONIUS
			Snares to catch rabbits!  I know very
			well how, when the blood burns, how
			easily the tongue will vow.

She tries to go, but Polonius blocks her exit.

					POLONIUS
				(continuing)
			Don’t you believe him.  Rate yourself
			more highly.  As for Lard Hamlet, do 
			not forget that he is young, and with a 
			longer tether may he walk than is given
			to you.  He seeks you out to satisfy his
			lust, nothing more: thus his clever phrases.

She tries to rush past him, but he grabs her.

					POLONIUS
				(continuing)
			Listen to me!  You will not, in plain
			terms, from this time forth, slander
			any moment of leisure by giving words,
			or ‘talk’ with the Lord Hamlet.

She struggles.

					POLONIUS
				(continuing)
			Look to it.  I charge you.

					OPHELIA
				(defeated)
			I shall obey, my lord.
			
					POLONIUS
			Hmmm.
			
			
INT. ELSINORE -- HALL -- NIGHT

The King’s feast is proceeding well, having gone on all day, and now into the evening.  Dancing, drinking, feasting, revelry.  Claudius and Gertruda sit behind a table still.  They hold hands as they drink.


EXT. ELSINORE -- CASTLE -- NIGHT

AERIAL SHOT.  We bank and dive toward the castle.


1.4  INT/EXT. ELSINORE -- CASTLE -- NIGHT

Hamlet, Horatio, and Marcellus are hurrying through an interior hallway.  Hamlet seems colder than the others.  Sounds of the revels echo throughout the castle.

					HAMLET
			The air bites shrewdly, it is very cold.

					HORATIO
			It is a nipping and an eager air.

They march off screen.  Just then the Dragon’s eye peers through one of the openings in the castle walls; it searches a moment, and then moves on.

EXT. PASSAGE

					HAMLET (O.S.)
				(rubbing his hands)
			What hour now?

					HORATIO
			I think it lacks of twelve.

					MARCELLUS
			No, it is struck.

As they walk along the exterior passage, the Dragon shadows them, hopping along the battlements like a cat.

					HORATIO
			Indeed?  I heard it not.
			It then draws near the season
			Wherein the spirit held his wont to walk.

They arrive at a COURTYARD high in the castle.  They spread out and look around.  It is a clear night, and the stars are out in force.  Then, a flourish of trumpets and a banging of drums.

					HORATIO
				(continuing)
			What does this mean, my lord?

					HAMLET
			The King doth wake tonight, holds his merriment,
			Keeps wassail, dances swagg’ring upspring reels.
			And as he drains his drafts of Rhenish down,
			The kettle drum and trumpet thus bray out
			The triumph of his health.

THE FEAST

Claudius and Gertruda are madly dancing a reel, with the rest of the partygoers applauding, drinking, and singing.

THE COURTYARD

					HORATIO
			Is it a custom?

					HAMLET
			Ay, marry it is.
			But to my mind, though I am native here
			And to the manner born, it is a custom
			More honored in the breach than the observance.

He takes the Greek bottle of wine (a new one) from Marcellus, and takes a drink from it.  He goes to the battlements, and looks off, then all around, sweeping his gaze over the Dragon, not seeing it, although the Dragon is visible to us, on the wall.  Then he searches the sky.

					HAMLET
			This heavy-handed revel east and west
			Makes us judged and condemned of other nations --
			They call us drunkards, and with swinish phrase
			Soil our addition; and indeed it takes
			From our achievements,...

Straightening Horatio’s robes.
			
					HAMLET
				(continuing)
			                      ...though performed so well,
			The pith and marrow of our attribute.

He looks back in the direction of the feast.

					HAMLET
				(continuing)
			So, oft it chances in particular men
			That for some vicious mole of nature in them,
			As in their birth, wherein they are not guilty
				(aside)
			Since nature cannot choose his origin,
				(to Horatio)
			Or by the overgrowth of some peculiarity,
			Oft breaking down the pales and forts of reason,
				(to Marcellus)
			Or by some habit, that too much oversteps
			The form of common manners, that these men,
				(aside/to himself)
			Carrying, I say, the stamp of one defect,
			His virtues else, be they as pure as grace,
			As infinite as man may undergo,
			Shall in the general censure take corruption
			From this particular fault.

					HORATIO
				(as if quoting)
			The dram of evil
			Doth all the noble substance often taint
			To his undoing.

The Dragon crouches down with a deliberate feline grace, as if ready to pounce, and once again raises its Greek mask.

					MARCELLUS
				(dropping bottle)
			Look, my lord, it comes!

					HORATIO
				(brandishing crucifix)
			Angels and ministers of grace defend us!

Hamlet pushes past him to face the apparition.

					HAMLET
			Be thou a spirit of health or goblin damn’d,
			Bring with thee airs from heaven or blasts from hell,
			Be thy intents wicked or charitable,
			Thou com’st in such a questionable shape
			That I will speak to thee.  I’ll call thee Hamlet!
			King, father, royal Dane!  O ANSWER ME!

The Dragon glares at them.

					HAMLET
				(continuing; to Horatio)
			What may this mean,
				(to Dragon)
			That thou, dead corpse, again in shining armor,
			Revisits thus the glimpses of the moon,
			Making night a terror, and we pawns of nature --
			So horridly shakes our disposition --
			With thoughts beyond the reaches of our souls?

No response from the Dragon.

					HAMLET
				(continuing)
			Say, why is this!  Wherefore?  What should we do?

The Dragon makes an elaborate gesture.

					HORATIO
			It beckons you to go away with it.
			As if some secret it should tell...
			To you alone.

					MARCELLUS
			Look how courteous...but do not go with it!

					HORATIO
				(making up his mind)
			No, by no means.

					HAMLET
			It will not speak.  Then I will follow it.

					HORATIO
			Do not, my lord!

The Dragon withdraws a ways, and makes a series of identical gestures.

					HAMLET
			Why, what should I fear?
			I do not set my life equal to a pin,
			And for my soul, what can it do to that,
			Being a thing immortal as itself?

He takes a step toward it, but Horatio grabs him.

					HAMLET
				(continuing)
			It waves me forth again.  I’ll follow it.

Horatio argues, but does not voice his real concern, which is spiritual in nature.

					HORATIO
			What if it tempt you toward the flood, my lord,
			Or to the dreadful summit of the cliff,
			That beetles o’er his base into the sea,
			And there assume some other horrible form
			Which might deprive your sovereignty of reason
			And draw you into madness?  Think of it!
			
Hamlet takes another step toward the Dragon.

					HORATIO
			The very place puts thoughts of desperation,
			Without more motive, into every brain
			That looks so many fathoms to the sea
			And hears it roar beneath.

					HAMLET
			It waves me still.
				(to Dragon)
			Go on!  I’ll follow thee!

					MARCELLUS
			You shall not go, my lord!

					HAMLET
			Hold off your hands!

					HORATIO
			Be ruled; you shall not go.

Hamlet takes another step toward the Dragon, and both Marcellus and Horatio restrain him.

					HAMLET
				(to himself)
			My fate cries out.
				(aside)
			Still am I called.
				(to Marcellus)
			Unhand me, gentlemen.

They don’t let him go.  Then he wrestles free and draws his sword.

					HAMLET
				(continuing)
			By God, I’ll make a ghost of him that checks me!
			I say away!
				(to Dragon)
			Go on!  I’ll follow thee!

Hamlet runs after the Dragon, which turns, takes two steps, and vanishes.

					HORATIO
			He waxes desperate with his imagination.

					MARCELLUS
			Let’s follow.  ‘Tis not fit thus to obey him.

					HORATIO
			Have after.

They charge on up the winding stone path.

SERIES OF SHOTS

Hamlet chasing the Dragon, Horatio and Marcellus trying to keep up, and getting lost.

A PASSAGEWAY

					HORATIO
				(continuing)
			 To what issue will this come?

					MARCELLUS
			Something is rotten in the state of Denmark.

Horatio loses his nerve, and stops, terrified, convinced of the demonic nature of the apparition.  Then a terrifying SHRIEK pierces the night.

					HORATIO
			Heaven will direct it.

Marcellus grabs him and drags him along.

					MARCELLUS
			Nay, let’s follow him.

They hurry on up the path.

THE FEAST

Claudius and Gertruda passionately kissing, seated at the table, amid the revels.

SERIES OF SHOTS

Hamlet racing through a series of passageways in the castle; some inside, some outside, at last culminating in a high platform overlooking the sea.  The sounds of the feast are muffled here.  The Dragon is perched on a tower.

THE PLATFORM

Hamlet arrives, looks about, and sees nothing.  For the first time we hear the sounds about the Dragon: it has a slow heartbeat like a drum; its breath sounds harshly out of its nostrils, and it has a low gurgling noise in its throat.

					HAMLET
			Whither wilt thou lead me?  
			Speak, I’ll go no further.

The Dragon puts up its mask, and speaks.

					DRAGON
			Mark me.

Hamlet whirls and is amazed.

					HAMLET
			I will.

					DRAGON
			My hour is almost come
			When I to sulph’rous and tormenting flames
			Must render up myself.

					HAMLET
			Alas, poor Ghost.

					DRAGON
			Pity me not, but lend thy serious hearing
			To what I shall unfold.

					HAMLET
			Speak, I am bound to hear.

					DRAGON
				(looming closer)
			So art thou to revenge when thou shalt hear.

					HAMLET
			What?

					DRAGON
			I AM THY FATHER’S SPIRIT,
			DOOM’D FOR A CERTAIN TERM TO WALK THE NIGHT
			AND FOR THE DAY CONFIN’D TO FAST IN FIRES,
			TILL THE FOUL CRIMES DONE IN MY DAYS OF NATURE
			ARE BURNT AND PURG’D AWAY!  But that I am forbid
			To tell the secrets of my prison-house,
			I could a tale unfold whose lightest word
			Would harrow up thy soul, freeze thy young blood,
			Make thy two eyes like stars start from their spheres,
			Thy knotted and combined locks to part,
			And each particular hair to stand on end
			Like quills upon the fretful porcupine.

Hamlet is rapt, and illumined by the radiant light of the Dragon.

					DRAGON
				(continuing)
			But this eternal drama must not be
			To ears of flesh and blood.  List, list, O list!

Hamlet is on his knees before the Dragon.

					DRAGON
				(continuing)
			If thou didst ever thy dear father love --

					HAMLET
			O God!

The Dragon blasts Hamlet with its fiery breath.

					DRAGON
			REVENGE HIS FOUL AND MOST UNNATURAL MURDER!

					HAMLET
			Murder!

					DRAGON
			Murder most foul, strange, and unnatural!

There is a pause as this sinks in.  Then:

					HAMLET
			Haste me to know it, that I with wings as swift
			As meditation or the thoughts of love
			May sweep to my revenge!

					DRAGON
			I find thee apt.
			And duller shouldst thou be than the fat weed
			That roots itself in ease on Lethe wharf,
			Wouldst thou not stir at this.  Now, Hamlet, hear.
			‘Tis giv’n out that, sleeping in my orchard,
			A serpent stung me,
				(aside)
						so the whole ear of Denmark
			Is by a forged process of my death
			Rankly abus’d,
				(to Hamlet)
 						BUT KNOW, THOU NOBLE YOUTH,
			THE SERPENT THAT DID STING THY FATHER’S LIFE
			NOW WEARS HIS CROWN!

The Dragon blasts Hamlet with another fiery breath.
	
					HAMLET
			O my prophetic soul!  My uncle!

					DRAGON
			Ay, that incestuous, that adulterous beast,
			With witchcraft of his wit, with traitorous gifts --
			O wicked wit, and gifts that have the power
			So to seduce! -- won to his shameful lust
			The will of my most seeming-virtuous queen!

The Dragon bounds down onto the Platform, towering over Hamlet, and now blasts Hamlet continuously with its fiery breath.  Hamlet is beaten back and down, and ends lying on his back.  The Dragon breath seems to enter into Hamlet, igniting him from within.

					DRAGON
				(continuing)
			O Hamlet, what a falling off was there,
			From me, whose love was of that dignity
			That it went hand in hand even with the vow
			I made her in marriage, and to decline
			Upon a wretch whose natural gifts were poor
			To those of mine!
			BUT VIRTUE, AS IT NEVER WILL BE MOV’D,
			THOUGH LEWDNESS COURT IT IN A SHAPE OF HEAVEN,
			SO LUST, THOUGH TO A RADIANT ANGEL LINK’D,
			WILL SATE ITSELF IN A CELESTIAL BED
			AND PREY ON GARBAGE!!

It moves back from its prey, and circles around.

					DRAGON
				(continuing)
			But soft, methinks I scent the morning air:
			Brief let me be.  Sleeping within my orchard,
			My custom always of the afternoon,

A BACKGROUND SCENE appears: essentially a flashback of the murder scene.

THE ORCHARD

Claudius attacks Old Hamlet, who is dressed in robes, following the Dragon’s narrative.

					DRAGON
				(continuing)
			Upon my secure hour thy uncle stole
			With juice of cursed hebenon in a vial,
			And in the porches of my ears did pour
			The leperous distilment, whose effect
			Holds such an enmity with the blood of man
			That swift as quicksilver it courses through
			The natural gates and alleys of the body,
			And with a sudden vigor it stops and curds
			The thin and wholesome blood.  So did it mine.

Old Hamlet has a convulsion, and dies.

BACKGROUND SCENE OUT.

The Dragon attacks with its breath again.

					DRAGON
				(continuing)
			THUS WAS I SLEEPING, BY A BROTHER’S HAND
			OF LIFE, OF CROWN, OF QUEEN AT ONCE DISPATCH’D,
			CUT OFF EVEN IN THE BLOSSOMS OF MY SIN,
			UNUNHOUSEL’D, DISAPPOINTED, UNANEL’D,
			NO RECK’NING MADE, BUT SENT TO MY ACCOUNT
			WITH ALL MY IMPERFECTIONS ON MY HEAD.
			O HORRIBLE!  O HORRIBLE!  MOST HORRIBLE!!

Hamlet seems on fire, and glows just like the Dragon.  The Dragon backs away.

					DRAGON
				(continuing)
			If thou has nature in thee, bear it not,
			Let not the royal bed of Denmark be
			A couch for luxury and damned incest.
				(pause)
			But howsomever thou pursuest this act,
			Taint not thy mind nor let thy soul contrive
			Against thy mother aught.  Leave her to heaven,
			And to those thorns that in her bosom lodge
			To prick and sting her.

The Dragon hops up onto the wall.

					DRAGON
				(contininuing)
			Fare thee well at once;
			The dwindling stars show the morning to be near
			And dawn begins to pale this eastern sky
			Adieu, adieu, adieu.  Remember me.

The Dragon takes off and flies away into the night.  Hamlet is amazed, and not yet quite convinced.

					HAMLET
			O all you host of heaven!  O earth!  What else?
			And shall I couple hell?  O No!  Hold, hold, my heart!
				(he kneels)
			And you, my sinews, grow not instant old,
			But bear me stiffly up.
				(he thinks)
			Remember thee?
			Ay, thou poor ghost, whiles memory holds a seat
			In this distracted globe.  Remember thee?
				(rising)
			Yea, from the table of my memory
			I’ll wipe away all trivial fond records,
			All saws of books, all forms, all pressures past
			That youth and observation copied there,
			And my commandment all alone shall live
			Within the book and volume of my brain,
			Unmixed with baser matter.  YES, BY HEAVEN!
			O MOST PERNICIOUS WOMAN!
			O VILLAIN, VILLAIN, SMILING DAMNED VILLAIN! 
			My notebook.  Meet it is I set it down
			That one may smile, and smile, and be a villain.

He makes a rapid sketch.

					HAMLET
				(aside)
			At least I am sure it may be so in Denmark.

INSERT -- SHOT OF SKETCH

Hamlet running Claudius through with his sword.

					HAMLET
				(continuing; to sketch)
			So, uncle, there you are.  Now to my word.
				(aside/to himself)
			It is ‘Adieu, adieu, remember me.’

Drawing sword.

					HAMLET
				(aside)
			I have sworn it.

					HORATIO (O.S.)
			My lord, my lord!

					MARCELLUS (O.S.)
			Lord Hamlet!

					HORATIO (O.S.)
			Heavens secure him!
				
					HAMLET
				(to himself)
			So be it.

					MARCELLUS (O.S.)
			Hello! Ho! Ho!  My lord!

					HAMLET
			Hello!  Ho!  Ho, boy!  Come bird, come.

Enter Marcellus.

					MARCELLUS
			How is it, my noble lord?

Enter Horatio.

					HORATIO
			What news, my lord?

					HAMLET
			O, wonderful!

					HORATIO
			Good my lord, tell it!

					HAMLET
			No, you will reveal it.

					HORATIO
			Not I, my lord, by heaven.

					NARRATOR (V.O.)
			Nor I, my lord.

					MARCELLUS
			Nor I, my lord.

					HAMLET
				(to Horatio)
			How say you then, 
				(aside)
					would heart of man once think it,
				(to boys)
			But you’ll be secret?

					HORATIO + MARCELLUS
			Ay, by heaven.

					HAMLET
			There’s never a villain dwelling in all Denmark --
			But he’s an arrant knave.

					HORATIO
			There needs no ghost, my lord, come from the grave
			To tell us this.

					HAMLET
				(thinking better of it)
			Why, right.  You are in the right.
			And so without more circumstance at all
			I hold it fit that we shake hands and part,
			You as your business and desire shall point you --
			For every man hath business and desire,
			Such as it is -- and for my own poor part,
			I will go to pray.

LONG SHOT OF CASTLE

The boys are visible arguing on the Platform.  PANNING SHOT.  The Dragon comes into view, clinging to the outer wall of the castle, and then goes out of frame.

					HORATIO
				(grabbing him)
			These are but wild and whirling words, my lord.

					HAMLET
			I am sure they offend you heartily,
			Yes, faith, heartily.

					HORATIO
				(letting him go)
			There’s no offense, my lord.

					HAMLET
			Yes by Saint Patrick but there is, Horatio,
			And much offense too.

THE PLATFORM

					HAMLET
				(continuing)
			Touching this vision here,
			It is an honest ghost, that let me tell you.
			For you desire to know what is between us,
			O’ermaster’t as you may.  And now, good friends,
			As you are friends, scholars, and soldiers,
			Give me one poor request.

					HORATIO
			What is’t, my lord?  We will.

					HAMLET
			Never make known what you have seen tonight.

					HORATIO + MARCELLUS
			My lord, we will not.
			
					HAMLET
				(drawing sword)
			Nay, but swear it.

					HORATIO
			In faith, my lord, not I.
	
					MARCELLUS
			Nor I, my lord, in faith.

					HAMLET
			Upon my sword.

					MARCELLUS
			We have sworn, my lord, already.

					HAMLET
			Indeed, upon my sword, indeed.

They hesitate.

THE DRAGON

THE PLATFORM

					DRAGON (O.S.)
			Swear!

The voice seems to thunder from the skies.

					HAMLET
			Ah ha, boy, say’st thou so?  Art thou there, truepenny?
			Come on, you hear this fellow in the starry sky.
			Consent to swear.

Marcellus first, and then Horatio, reach out to the sword, and then draws their hands back.

					HORATIO
			Propose the oath, my lord.

					HAMLET
			Never to speak of this that you have seen.
			Swear by my sword.

					DRAGON (O.S.)
			Swear!

Horatio and Marcellus are startled, and look around for the source of the voice.

					HAMLET
			Come hither, gentlemen,
			And lay your hands again upon my sword.
	
Horatio and Marcellus come back.

					HAMLET
				(continuing)
			Swear by my sword
			Never to speak of this that you have heard.

					DRAGON (O.S.)
			Swear by his sword.

Hamlet breaks off, and addresses the sky.

					HAMLET
			Well said, old boy!  A worthy soldier!

					HORATIO
				(clutching at his crucifix)
			A day and a night but this is wondrous strange.

					HAMLET
			And therefore as a stranger give it welcome.

Finally, they swear silently.

					HAMLET
				(continuing)
			There are more things in heaven and earth, Horatio,
			Than are dreamt of in your philosophy.

Hamlet changes his mind again, thinking better of his course, and walks away.  Then he thinks of something, and comes back with a new oath.

					HAMLET
				(continuing)
			But come,
			Here, as before, never, so help you...mercy,
			How strange or odd some’er I bear myself,
			As I perchance hereafter shall think meet
			To put an antic disposition on;

He does a little dance.

					HAMLET
				(continuing)
			That you, at such time seeing me, never shall,
			With arms encumber’d thus, or this head-shake,
			Or by pronouncing some doubtful phrase,
			As ‘Well, we know,’ or ‘We could, and if we would,’
			Or ‘If we were to speak,’ or ‘There’s a reason, and
				if we might...’
			Or some such ambiguous giving out, to note
			That you know aught of me.  This do swear,
			So grace and mercy at your most need help you.

They put their hands upon the sword, and are ready to swear.

					DRAGON (O.S.)
			Swear!

They do not pause this time, and complete the oath in silence.  Then:

					HAMLET
			Rest, perturbed spirit!  So, gentlemen,
			With all my love I do commend me to you;
			And what so poor a man as Hamlet is
			May do t’express his love and friendliness to you,
			God willing, shall not lack.  Let us go in together.
			And still your fingers on your lips, I pray.
				(aside)
			The time is out of joint.  O cursed spite,
			That ever I was born to set it right.
				(to Horatio and Marcellus)
			Nay, come, let’s go together.

They exit the Platform.  It remains empty a moment.  A breath of wind.

LONGER SHOT

The Dragon is perched on a tower, overlooking the Platform, like a gigantic gargoyle.

										FADE OUT.



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