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Hamlet Screenplay 5
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FADE IN:

5.1  EXT. DENMARK -- A FOREST -- DAY (MORNING)

A small clearing in a dense forest.  It is a gloomy morning, full of mist and shadow.  There is A GRAVEDIGGER (=Narrator), dressed in clerical habit, at work digging a grave, and in the process is exchanging banter with a PRIEST.  The Narrator is doing an incredibly bad job of imitating a crusty old man.

					NARRATOR
Is she to be buried in Christian burial, when she wilfully seeks her own salvation?

		PRIEST
I tell thee she is, therefore make her grave straight.  The crowner hath sat on her and finds it Christian burial.

		NARRATOR
	(stops digging)
How can that be, unless she drowned herself in her own defence?

		PRIEST
Why, ‘tis found so.

		NARRATOR
It must be se offendendo, it cannot be else.  For here lies the point: if I drown myself wittingly, it argues an act, and an act hath three branches -- it is to act, to do, to perform; argal, she drowned herself wittingly.

		PRIEST
Nay, but hear you, Goodman Delver --

		NARRATOR
Give me leave.  Here lies the water, good.  Here stands the man, good.  If the man go to this water and drown himself, it is, will he nill he, he goes, mark you that. But if the water come to him and drown him, he drowns not himself.  Argal, he that is not guilty of his own death shortens not his own life.

		PRIEST
But is this law?

		NARRATOR
Ay, marry is’t, crowner’s quest law.

		PRIEST
Will you ha’ the truth an’t?  If this had not been a gentlewoman, she would have been buried out o’Christian burial.

		NARRATOR
Why, there thou say’st.  And the more pity that great folk should have countenance in this world to drown or hang themselves more than their even Christen.  Come, my spade.

The Priest gives him his spade, and smirks a little, proud of himself not being the lowly one doing the digging.  The Narrator perceives this.

		NARRATOR
	(continuing)
There is no ancient gentlemen but gardeners, ditchers, and gravemakers.  They hold up Adam’s profession.

		PRIEST
Was he a gentleman?

		NARRATOR
A was the first that ever bore arms.

		PRIEST
Why, he had none.

		NARRATOR
What, art a heathen?  How dost thou understand the Scripture?  The Scripture says Adam digged.  Could he dig without arms?

There is an odd groaning that might be laughter from off-screen.

		NARRATOR
	(continuing)
I’ll put another question to thee.  If thou answerest me not to the purpose, confess thyself --

		PRIEST
Go to.

		NARRATOR
What is he that builds stronger than ether the mason, the shipwright, or the carpenter?

		PRIEST
The gallows-maker, for that frame outlives a thousand tenants.

		NARRATOR
I like thy wit well in good faith, the gallows does well.  But how does it well?  It does well to those that do ill.  Now, thou dost ill to say the gallows is built stronger than the church; argal, the gallows may do well to thee.  To’t again, come.

		PRIEST
Who builds stronger than a mason, a shipwright, or a carpenter?

		NARRATOR
Ay, tell me that and have done.

		PRIEST
Marry, now I can tell.

		NARRATOR
To’t.

		PRIEST
	(tries and fails)
Mass, I cannot tell.

		NARRATOR
Cudgel thy brains no more about it, for your dull ass will not mend his pace with beating.  And when you are asked this question next, say ‘A Gravemaker.’  The houses he makes lasts till doomsday.  Go, get thee to Yaughan; fetch me a stoup of liquor.

Exit Priest.

		NARRATOR
	(continuing; sings)
In youth when I did love, did love,
Methought it was very sweet:
To contract - O - the time for - a - my behove,
O methought there - a - was nothing - a - meet.


LONG SHOT -- WOODS

Enter Hamlet and Horatio to the vicinity of the grave.  They stop and observe.

		HAMLET
Has this fellow no feeling of his business a sings in grave-making?

		HORATIO
Custom hath made it in him a property of easiness.

		HAMLET
‘Tis even so, the hand of little employment hath the daintier sense.

		NARRATOR
	(sings)
But age with his stealing steps
Hath claw’d me in his clutch,
And hath shipp’d me intil the land,
As if I had never been such.

She rummages in the grave and throws up a skull.

		HAMLET
That skull had a tongue in it, and could sing once.  How the knave jowls it to th’ground, as if’twere Cain’s jawbone, that did the first murder.  This might be the pate of a gift-giving king, which this ass now o’er-offices, one that would circumvent God, might it not?

		HORATIO
It might, my lord.

		HAMLET
Or of a courtier, which could say, ‘Good morrow, sweet lord.  How dost thou, sweet lord?’  This might be my Lord Such-a-one, that praised my Lord Such-a-one’s horse when a meant to beg it, might it not?

		HORATIO
Ay, my lord.

		HAMLET
Why, e’en so, and now my Lady Worm’s, chopless, and knocked about the noggin with a sexton’s spade.  Here’s fine revolution, and we had the luck to see it.  Did these bones cost no more the breeding but to play at loggets with’em?  Mine ache to think on’t.

		NARRATOR
	(sings)
A pickaxe and a spade, a spade,
For and a shrouding-sheet,
O a pit of clay for to be made
For such a guest is meet.

The Narrator throws up another skull.

		HAMLET
There’s another.  Why, may not that be the skull of a lawyer?  Where be his quiddities now, his quillities, his cases, his tenures, and his tricks?  Why does he suffer this mad knave now to knock him about the sconce with a dirty shovel, and will not tell him of his action of battery?  Hum, this fellow might be in’s time a great buyer of land, with this statutes, his recognizances, his fines, his double vouchers, his recoveries.  Is this the fine of his fines and the recovery of his recoveries, to have his fine pate full of fine dirt?  Will his vouchers vouch him no more of his purchases, and double ones too, than the length and breadth of a pair or indentures?  The very conveyances of his lands will scarcely lie in this box, and must th’inheritor himself have no more, ha?

		HORATIO
Not a jot more, my lord.

		HAMLET
Is not parchment made of sheepskins?

		HORATIO
Ay, my lord, and of calveskins too.

		HAMLET
They are sheep and calves which seek out assurance in that.  I will speak to this fellow.
	(to Narrator)
Whose grave’s this, sirrah?

		NARRATOR
Mine, sir.
	(sings)
O a pit of clay for to be made --

		HAMLET
I think it be thine indeed, for thou liest in it.

		NARRATOR
You lie out on’t, sir, and therefore ‘tis not yours.  For my part, I do not lie in’t, yet it is mine.

		HAMLET
Thou dost lie in’t, to be in’t and say ‘tis thine.  ‘Tis for the dead, not for the quick: therefore thou liest.

		NARRATOR
	(flips him off)
‘Tis a quick lie, sir, ‘twill away again from me to you.

		HAMLET
What man dost thou dig it for?

		NARRATOR
For no man, sir.

		HAMLET
What woman, then?

		NARRATOR
For none neither.

		HAMLET
Who is to be buried in it?

		NARRATOR
One that was a woman, sir; but rest her soul, she’s dead.

		HAMLET
	(aside)
How absolute the knave is.  
	(to Horatio)
We must speak by the card or equivocation will undo us.  By the Lord, Horatio, this three years I have took note of it, the age is grown so picked that the toe of the peasant comes so near the heel of the courtier he chafes his corns.
	(to NARRATOR)
How long hast thou been grave-maker?

		NARRATOR
Of all the days i’th’year I came to’t that day that our last King Hamlet o’ercame Fortinbras.

		HAMLET
How long is that since?

		NARRATOR
Cannot you tell that?  Every fool can tell that.  It was that very day that young Hamlet was born.
	(pause)
He that is mad and sent into England.

		HAMLET
Ay, marry.  Why was he sent into England?

		NARRATOR
Why, because a was mad.  A shall recover his wits there.  Or if a do not, ‘tis no great matter there.

		HAMLET
Why?

		NARRATOR
‘Twill not be seen in him there.  
	(aside)
There the men are as mad as he.

		HAMLET
How came he mad?

		NARRATOR
Very strangely, they say.

		HAMLET
How ‘strangely?’

		NARRATOR
Faith, e’en with losing his wits.

		HAMLET
Upon what ground?

		NARRATOR
Why, here in Denmark.  I have been sexton here, man and boy, thirty years.

		HAMLET
How long will a man lie i’th’earth ere he rot?

		NARRATOR
Faith, if a be not rotten before a die, as we have many pocky corpses nowadays that will scarce hold the laying in, a will last you some eight year or nine year.  A tanner will last you nine year.

She stops digging and regards Hamlet.

		HAMLET
Why he more than another?

		NARRATOR
Why, sir, his hide is so tanned with his trade that a will keep out water a great while, and your water is a sore decayer of your whoreson dead body.  
	(holds up skull)
Here’s a skull now hath lien you i’th’earth three and twenty years.

		HAMLET
Whose was it?

		NARRATOR
A whoreson mad fellow’s it was.  Whose do you think it was?

		HAMLET
Nay, I know not.

		NARRATOR
A pestilence on him for a mad rogue.  A poured a flagon of Rhenish on my head once.  This same skull, sir, was Yorick’s skull, the King’s jester.

		HAMLET
	(takes skull)
This?

		NARRATOR
E’en that.

		HAMLET
	(to himself)
Alas, poor Yorick.
	(to Horatio)
He that bore me on his back a thousand times, and now, how abhorred in my imagination it is.  My gorge rises at it.  Here hung those lips that I have kissed I know not how oft.
	(to skull)
Where be your gives now, your gambols, your songs, your flashes of merriment, that were wont to set the table on a roar?  Not one now to mock your own grinning?
	(aside)
Quite chop-fallen.
	(to skull)
Now get you to my lady’s chamber and tell her, let her paint an inch thick, to this favour she must come.  Make her laugh at that.
	(to Horatio)
Prithee, Horatio, tell me one thing.

Horatio has a bad feeling about the Narrator/Gravedigger, and doesn’t know quite what to make of it, although he has been regarding her intently.

		HORATIO
What’s that, my lord?

		HAMLET
Dost thou think Alexander looked o’ this fashion i’th’earth?

		HORATIO
E’en so.

		HAMLET
And smelt so?  Pah.

		HORATIO
E’en so, my lord.

		HAMLET
To what base uses we may return, Horatio.  Why, may not imagination trace the noble dust of Alexander till a find it stopping a bung-hole?

		HORATIO
‘Twere to consider too curiously to consider so.

		HAMLET
	(to Horatio)
No faith, not a jot, but to follow him thither with modesty enough, and likelihood to lead it.  Alexander died, Alexander was buried, Alexander returneth to dust, the dust is earth, of earth we make loam, and why of that loam whereto he was converted might they not stop a beer-barrel?

In the background we see, but Hamlet does not, the approach of the burial party.

		HAMLET
	(aside)
Imperious Caesar, dead and turn’d to clay,
Might stop a hole to keep the wind away.
O that that earth which kept the world in awe
Should patch a wall t’expel the winter’s flaw.
	(hearing the approach)
But soft, soft awhile.  Here comes the King,
The Queen, the courtiers.

The burial party consists of Claudius, Gertruda, Laertes, A PRIEST, Ophelia in an open coffin, BEARERS, and several Lords.

		HAMLET
	(continuing; to Horatio)
Who is this they follow?
And with such maimed rites?  This doth betoken
The corpse they follow did with desp’rate hand
Fordo it’s own life.  ‘Twas of some estate.
Couch we awhile and mark.

They hide behind a fallen tree.  Ophelia’s coffin is put down, and the bearers, with no more ado, get ready to lower it.

		LAERTES
What ceremony else?

		HAMLET
That is Laertes, a very noble youth.  Mark.

		LAERTES
What ceremony else?

The Priest disapproves of both Ophelia and Laertes because they are Jewish, and is markedly contemptuous of Laertes’s objections.

		PRIEST
Her obsequies have been as far enlarg’d
As we have warranty.  Her death was doubtful;
And but that great command o’ersways the order,
She should in ground unsanctified been lodg’d
Till the last trumpet: for charitable prayers
Shards, flints, and pebbles should be thrown on her.
Yet here she is allow’d her virgin crants,
Her maiden strewments, and the bringing home
Of bell and burial.

		LAERTES
Must there no more be done?

The bearers hesitate.

		PRIEST
No more be done.
We should profane the service of the dead
To sing sage requiem and such rest to her
As to peace-parted souls.

		LAERTES
	(to bearers)
Lay her i’th’earth,
And from her fair and unpolluted flesh
May violets spring.  
	(to Priest)
I tell thee, churlish priest, 
A ministering angel shall my sister be
When thou liest howling.

Ophelia’s body is lowered into the grave.

		HAMLET
What, the fair Ophelia!

		GERTRUDA
	(scattering flowers)
Sweets to the sweet.  Farewell.
I hop’d thou should have been my Hamlet’s wife:
I thought thy bride-bed to have deck’d, sweet maid,
And not have strew’d thy grave.

The Narrator holds a stake over Ophelia’s heart, and the bearers start shoveling dirt over her.

		LAERTES
	(aside)
O treble woe.
Fall ten times treble on that cursed head
Whose wicked deed thy most ingenious sense
Depriv’d thee of.
	(to bearers)
Hold off the earth awhile,
Till I have caught her once more in mine arms.

He leaps into the grave.

		LAERTES
	(continuing)
Now pile our dust upon the quick and dead,
Till of this flat a mountain you have made
T’o’ertop old Pelion or the skyish head
Of blue Olympus.

		HAMLET
	(emerging)
What is he whose grief
Bears such an emphasis, whose phrase of sorrow
Conjures the wand’ring stars and makes them stand
Like wonder-wounded hearers?

Confusion among the burial party.

		HAMLET
	(continuing)
This is I,
Hamlet the Dane.

		LAERTES
The devil take thy soul!

		HAMLET
Thou prayest not well.

Laertes leaps out of the grave and attacks Hamlet with his bare hands.

		HAMLET
	(continuing)
I prithee take thy fingers from my throat,
For though I am not splenative and rash,
Yet have I in me something dangerous,
Which let thy wiseness fear.  
	(grappling)
Hold off thy hand!

		CLAUDIUS
Pluck them asunder!

Horatio comes out of hiding and rushes to Hamlet’s aid, restraining him.  The Narrator is amused.  Gertruda reacts as if Hamlet were returned from the dead.  There are ad-lib exclamations.

		GERTRUDA
Hamlet!  Hamlet!

		ALL
Gentlemen!

		HORATIO
Good my lord, be quiet.

		HAMLET
Why, I will fight with him upon this theme
Until my eyelids will no longer wag.
	
		GERTRUDA
O my son, what theme?

		HAMLET
	(to Gertruda)
I loved Ophelia.
	(to Laertes)
Forty thousand brothers
Could not with all their quantity of love
Make up my sum.  What wilt thou do for her?

		CLAUDIUS
O, he is mad, Laertes.

		GERTRUDA
For love of God forbear him!

Hamlet breaks free of his restraint and shoves Laertes, who is caught by Lords.  The Narrator loves this.  Hamlet continues toward Laertes and keeps shoving him backwards; the others try to intervene but cannot do so effectively.

		HAMLET
‘Swounds, show me what thou’t do.
Woo’t weep, woo’t fight, woo’t fast, woo’t tear
    thyself,
Woo’t drink up eisel, eat a crocodile?

Finally Hamlet knocks Laertes off his feet, and Horatio comes between them and clutches Hamlet for dear life.

		HAMLET
I’ll do’t.  Dost come here to whine,
To outface me with leaping in her grave?
	(Hamlet cries)
Be buried quick with her, and so will I.
And if thou prate of mountains, let them throw
Millions of acres on us, till our ground,
Singeing his pate against the burning zone,
Make Ossa like a wart.  Nay, and thou’lt mouth,
I’ll rant as well as thou.

		GERTRUDA
	(to Claudius)
This is mere madness,
And thus awhile the fit will work on him.
	(to Hamlet)
Anon, as patient as the female dove
When that her golden couplets are disclos’d,
His silence will sit drooping.

She kisses him on the cheek and seems to whisper in his ear.  There is a silent interval.

		HAMLET
	(to Laertes)
Hear you, sir,
What is the reason that you use me thus?
I lov’d you ever.  But it is no matter.
Let Hercules himself do what he may,
The cat will mew, 
	(to Claudius)
			and dog will have his day.

Hamlet retreats into the woods.  Claudius restrains Gertruda.

		CLAUDIUS
I pray thee, good Horatio, wait upon him.

Horatio follows Hamlet.  Gertruda lunges forward, bringing Claudius by Laertes.

		CLAUDIUS
	(to Laertes)
Strengthen your patience in our last night’s speech,
We’ll put the matter to the present push.
	(to Gertruda)
Good Gertruda, set some watch over your son.
This grave shall have a living monument.

Exit Gertruda, back toward the castle.  The Narrator again holds the stake over Ophelia’s heart.  The bearers resume filling the grave with dirt.

ANOTHER SHOT

The grave has been filled, and the stake now protrudes from it.  Claudius nods to the Priest, who motions to the Narrator.  The Narrator hefts her shovel, and swings it sharply down on the stake, driving it into Ophelia’s heart.  She does it again, for good measure.  Satisfied, the burial party returns the way it came, except for Laertes, who collapses to his knees and weeps uncontrollably.


EXT. ELSINORE -- THE CASTLE -- DAY

AERIAL SHOT

We swoop by the castle, at fairly close range.  It is a bright and sunny day.


5.2  INT. ELSINORE -- HAMLET’S ROOM -- DAY

Shot past a busy table toward a closed door.  There is a breeze that moves the papers.  Sunlight streams in through the windows

		HAMLET (O.S.)
So much for this, sir.  Now shall you see the other.
You remember all the circumstance?

A letter is tossed onto the table.

		HORATIO (O.S.)
Remember it, my lord?

		HAMLET (O.S.)
Sir, in my heart there was a kind of fighting
That would not let me sleep.  Methought I lay
Worse than...


FLASHBACK

INT. THE DANISH SHIP -- NIGHT

SERIES OF SHOTS 

There is another full moon.  The shots are following Hamlet’s narrative of his adventure on the ship.

		HAMLET (V.O)
         ...the mutines in the bilboes.  Rashly,
And prais’d be rashness for it: let us know
our indiscretion sometime serves us well
When our deep plots do pall; and that should learn us
There’s a divinity that shapes our ends,
Rough-hew them how we will --

		HORATIO (V.O.)
That is most certain.

		HAMLET (V.O.)
Up from my cabin,
My sea-gown scarf’d about me, in the dark
Grop’d I to find out them, had my desire,
Finger’d their packet, and at last withdrew
To mine own room again, making so bold,
My fears forgetting manners, to unseal
Their grand comission; where I found, Horatio,
Ah, royal knavery, an exact command,
Larded with many several sorts of reasons
Importing Denmark’s health, and England’s too,
With ho, such bugs and goblins in my life,
That on the supervise, no leisure bated,
No, not to stay the grinding of the axe,
My head should be struck off.

		HORATIO (V.O.)
Is’t possible?

		HAMLET (V.O.)
Here’s the commission, read it at more leisure.
But wilt thou hear now how I did proceed?

		HORATIO (V.O.)
I beseech you.

		HAMLET (V.O.)
Being thus beleaguered round with villainies, 
Ere I could make a prologue to my brains,
They had begun the play, I sat me down,
Devis’d a new commission, wrote it fair,
I once did hold it, as our statists do,
A baseness to write fair, and labour’d much
How to forget that learning, but, sir, now
It did me yeoman’s service.  Wilt thou know
Th’effect of what I wrote?

		HORATIO (V.O.)
Ay, good my lord.

		HAMLET (V.O.)
An earnest conjuration from the King,
As England was his faithful tributary,
As love between them like the palm might flourish,
As peace should still her wheaten garland wear
And stand a comma ‘tween their amities,
And many such-like ‘as’es of great charge,
That on the view and knowing of these contents,
Without debatement further more or less, 
He should those bearers put to sudden death,
Not shriving-time allowed.

		HORATIO (V.O.)
	(gasps)
How was this seal’d?

		HAMLET (V.O.)
Why, even in that was heaven ordinant.
I had my father’s signet in my purse,
Which was the model of that Danish seal,
Folded the writ up in the form of th’other,
Subscrib’d it, gave’t th‘impression, placed it safely,
The changeling never known.  Now the next day 
Was our sea-fight, and what to this was sequent
Thou knowest already.

END FLASHBACK

		HORATIO (O.S.)
So Guildenstern and Rosencrantz go to’t.

		HAMLET (O.S.)
Why, man, they did make love to this employment.
They are not near my conscience, their defeat
Does by their own insinuation grow.
‘Tis dangerous when the baser nature comes
Between the pass and fell incensed points
Of mighty opposites.

		HORATIO (O.S.)
Why, what a king is this.

Another letter is tossed onto the table.

		HAMLET (O.S.)
Does it not, think thee, stand me now upon,
He that hath kill’d my king and whor’d my mother,
Popp’d in between th’election and my hopes,
Thrown out his angle for my proper life
And with such coz’nage, is’t not perfect conscience
To quit him with this arm?  And is’t not to be damn’d
To let this canker of our country come
To further evil?

Horatio likes not the drift of Hamlet’s question, and ponders it a moment.

		HORATIO (O.S.)
It must be shortly known to him from England
What is the issue of the business there.

		HAMLET (O.S.)
It will be short.  The interim is mine.
And a man’s life’s no more than to say ‘one’.
	(pause)
But I am very sorry, good Horatio,
That to Laertes I forgot myself;
For by the image of my cause I see
The portraiture of his.  I’ll court his favours.
But sure the bravery of his grief did put me
Into a tow’ring passion.

Someone is heard approaching from outside the door.

		HORATIO (O.S.)
Peace, who comes here?

There is a sound of sheets rustling.  Osric enters through the door, examines the scene, muffles a feeling of disgust, and bows.

		OSRIC
Your Lordship is right welcome back to Denmark.

		HAMLET (O.S.)
I humbly thank you sir.
	(to Horatio)
Dost know this waterfly?

		HORATIO (O.S.)
No, my good lord.

		HAMLET (O.S.)
Thy state is the more gracious, for ‘tis a vice to know him.  He hath much land and fertile.  Let a beast be lord of beasts and his crib shall stand at the king’s mess.  ‘Tis a chuff, but, as I say, spacious in the possession of dirt.

Osric has suddenly developed a profound hatred of Hamlet, but he remembers his mission.

		OSRIC
	(sweeping his hat)
Sweet lord, if your lordship were at leisure, I should impart a thing to you from his Majesty.

		HAMLET (O.S.)
I will receive it, sir, with all diligence of spirit.
Your bonnet to his right use: ‘tis for the head.

		OSRIC
I thank your lordship, it is very hot.

		HAMLET (O.S.)
No, beleive me, ‘tis very cold, the wind is northerly.

		OSRIC 
It is indifferent cold, my lord, indeed.

		HAMLET (O.S.)
But yet methinks it is very sultry and hot for my complexion.

Osric plows through a feeling of dense consternation.

		OSRIC
Exceedingly, my lord, it is very sultry, as ‘twere, I cannot tell how.  
	(going forward)
My lord, his Majesty bade me signify to you that a has laid a great wager on your head.  Sir, this is the matter --

		HAMLET (O.S.)
I beseech you remember.

Horatio snickers, but Osric declines to put his hat on, although he glances at it.

		OSRIC
Nay, good my lord, for my ease, in good faith.
	(pause)
Sire, here is newly come to court Laertes, believe me, an absolute gentleman, full of most excellent differences of very soft society and great showing.  Indeed, to speak feelingly of him he is the card or calendar of gentry; for you shall find in him the continent of what part a gentleman would see.

Hamlet mocks Osric’s manner and lards his speech with Latinate terms.

		HAMLET (O.S.)
Sir, his definement suffers no perdition in you, though I know to divide him inventorially would dozy th’rithmetic of memory, and yet but yaw neither, in respect of his quicksail.  But, In the verity of extolment, I take him to be a soul of great article and his infusion of such dearth and rareness as, to make true diction of him, his semblable is his mirror and who else would trace him his umbrage, nothing more.

		OSRIC
	(bows)
Your lordship speaks most infallibly of him.

		HAMLET (O.S.)
The concernancy, sir?  Why do we wrap the gentleman in our more rarer breath?

		OSRIC
Sir?

		HORATIO (O.S.)
	(almost laughs)
Is’t not possible to understand in another tongue?
You will to’t, sir, really.

		HAMLET (O.S.)
What imports the nomination of this gentleman?

		OSRIC
Of Laertes?

		HORATIO (O.S.)
	(laughing)
His purse is empty already, all’s golden words are spent.

		HAMLET (O.S.)
Of him, sir.

		OSRIC
I know you are not ignorant --

		HAMLET (O.S.)
	(laughs at him)
I’m glad you do, sir.  Yet in faith if you do, it would not much approve me.  Well, sir?

A fair portion of Osric’s concealed malice begins to be revealed.

		OSRIC
You are not ignorant of what excellence Laertes is --

		HAMLET (O.S.)
I dare not confess that, lest I should compare with him in excellence; but to know a man well were to know himself.

Osric looks Horatio, and then Hamlet, up and down.

		OSRIC
I mean, sir, for his weapon; merely in the imputation laid on him, by those of his crowd, he’s unfellowed.

		HAMLET (O.S.)
What’s his weapon?

		OSRIC
Rapier and dagger.

		HAMLET (O.S.)
That’s two of his weapons.  But go on.

		OSRIC
The King, sir, hath wagered on him six Barbary horses, against the which he has impawned, as I take it, six French rapiers and poniards, with the assigns: as girdle, scabbard, and so on.  Three of the implements, in faith, are very dear to fancy, very responsive to the hilts, most delicate implements, and of very liberal conceit.

		HAMLET (O.S.)
To what do you refer as the implements?

		HORATIO (O.S.)
I knew you must be edified by the margin ere you had done.

		OSRIC
The implements, sir, are the hangers.

		HAMLET (O.S.)
The phrase would be more german to the matter if we could carry an armoury at our sides.  I’ll allow it might be hangers till then.  But on.  Six Barbary horses against six French swords, their assigns, and three liberal-conceited implements; that’s the French bet against the Danish.  Why is this, impawned, as you call it?

Osric is betraying a cunning eagerness.

		OSRIC
The King, sir, hath laid, sir, that in a dozen passes between yourself and him he shall not exceed you three hits; he hath laid on twelve for nine.  And it would come to immediate trial if your lordship would vouchsafe the answer.

		HAMLET (O.S.)
How if I answer no?

Osric is discomfited, and then comes up with a ruse: he pretends to misunderstand.  Horatio gasps softly.

		OSRIC
I mean, my lord, the opposition of your person in trial.

		HAMLET (O.S.)
Sir, I will walk here in the hall.  If it please his Majesty, it is the breathing time of day with me.  Let the foils be brought, the gentleman willing, and the King hold his purpose, I will win for him if I can; if not, I will gain nothing but my shame and the odd hits.

Osric barely conceals his intense pleasure at this response, and double-checks.

		OSRIC
Shall I deliver you so?

		HAMLET (O.S.)
To this effect, sir, after what flourish your nature will.

		OSRIC
	(suppressing a grin)
I commend my duty to your lordship.

He bows ornately, replaces his hat, and exits, after a disapproving look toward Horatio.

		HAMLET (O.S.)
Yours.
	(to Horatio)
A does well to commend it himself, there are not tongues else for’s turn.

		HORATIO (O.S.)
This lapwing runs away with the shell on his head.

		NARRATOR (V.O.)
Yeah, the lapwing.  The lapwing is a bird which, oh the hell with it.  Let’s get on with it.

		HAMLET (O.S.)
A did curtsy to his tit before a sucked it.  Thus has he, and many more of the same bevy that I know the drossy age dotes on, only got the tune of the time and, out of a habit of encounter, a kind of yeasty collection, which carries them through and through the most fanned and winnowed opinions; and if we but blow them to their trial, the bubbles burst.

Enter a LORD.  The Lord stops suddenly, surprised at something he sees.
		LORD
My lord, his Majesty commended him to you by young Osric, who brings back to him that you attend him in the hall.  He sends to know if your pleasure hold to play with Laertes or that you will take longer time.

		HAMLET (O.S.)
I am constant in my purposes, they follow the King’s pleasure.  If his fitness speaks, mine is ready.  Now or whensoever, provided I be so able as now.

Hamlet makes no move to respond, however.

		LORD
The King and Queen and all are coming down.

		HAMLET (O.S.)
In happy time.

		LORD
The Queen desires you to use some gentle entertainment to Laertes before you fall to play.

		HAMLET (O.S.)
She well instructs me.

Exit Lord, with a dirty look at Horatio.  There is a pause.  Horatio reasons it out that this is a trap, and warns Hamlet, warning him of danger on both the material and spiritual plane.

		HORATIO (O.S.)
	(serious)
You will lose, my lord.

Hamlet gets up, and COMES INTO FRAME.  He is wearing tight black leather pants, and nothing else.  He rummages for a sword, and hefts it.  When he answers, he at first avoids Horatio’s reference to spiritual danger.

		HAMLET 
I do not think so.  Since he went into France, I have been in continual practice.  I shall win at the odds.
	(pause)
Thou wouldst not think how ill all’s here about my heart; but it is no matter.

Hamlet takes the sword and slashes at a candle.  Horatio is markedly disturbed by Hamlet’s heart reference, and gets up also, coming INTO FRAME.  Horatio is wearing one of Ophelia’s nightgowns, an atrocious blonde wig, and has smeared lipstick all over his face.

		HORATIO
Nay, good my lord.

Hamlet removes the upper part of the candle, and examines it.

		HAMLET
It is but foolery, just a kind of misgiving as would perhaps trouble a woman.

Horatio removes the wig, which makes him look even more feminine, looks down a moment, and comes to himself.

		HORATIO
If your mind dislike anything, obey it.  I will forestall their repair hither and say you are not fit.

		HAMLET
Not a whit.  We defy augury.  There is special providence in the fall of a sparrow.  If it be now, ‘tis not to come; if it be not to come, it will be now; if it be not now, yet it will come.

He reattaches the candle.

		HAMLET
	(continuing)
The readiness is all.  Since no man, of when he leaves, knows aught, what is’t to leave betimes?

Horatio is about to utter a protest.

		HAMLET
	(continuing)
Let be.

Hamlet regards Horatio a moment, and then kisses him.


A SUBTERRANEAN PASSAGE

The Narrator, still clad as a sort of priest, is marching through the passage, and enters a large cavern.  Just briefly we catch a glimpse of a vast audience of damned souls, and a woman, chained to the floor facing them.

THE CAVERN

Shot of Narrator: audience POV.  She has her hair down.

					NARRATOR
Now we come to it at last: the conclusion of our tale -- the incorporate conclusion, as it were.

There are intermittent groans from the audience as the Narrator makes certain points.

					NARRATOR
				(continuing)
We have now worked long and hard, and the victory will be ours.  That old bastard Claudius, the one who fancies himself a Roman emperor, we’ve got him.  As you remember we lured him into attacking the throne -- and this King, the good Christian king -- is a now murderer, yes, several times over: no standing before God whatsoever.  And we drew Polonius into the plot as well, you saw it all.  Money: money, money, money.  It was too much for him: the thought of all that money, all the money in the world, as he saw it, and he fell for it.  Gertruda we have also.  She worships us in secret already: prays to us for unlimited passion, the which she does receive.

Cheers and groans over this.  The Narrator quiets them and removes her robes, under which she is wearing high boots with stilleto heels, and nothing else, other than a series of cryptic tattoos.

					NARRATOR
				(continuing)
Soon, very soon, this territory, this whole state of Denmark will revert to us: no light, no law, no love.

Cheers and groans.  The Narrator produces a whip, which she coils and uncoils, as if testing its balance.

		NARRATOR
	(continuing)
Did I say no law?  There will be law, only our law, which we will strictly enforce.  Laertes, for instance, wants to revenge his father, well, when he comes here, we will show him something about revenge --

She cracks the whip suddenly, in a very professional movement.

		NARRATOR
	(continuing)
Ophelia, as I said before, was the key, and you all did a good job on her, that Jew-bitch-whore, Ha!

She cracks the whip, which now glows a bright red.

		NARRATOR
	(continuing; with rising energy)
And now we come down to it: one more scene.  That fat-ass Claudius and that little shit Laertes seek to remove Hamlet, of course, but it won’t be as easy as they have designed it: the enemy always has a say, doesn’t he?  Ha!  

She cracks the whip several times most viciously through this passage.

		NARRATOR
	(continuing)
Hamlet, that worthless, good for nothing, back-biting, whining little prince, that mother-fucker!! 

She cracks the whip left, right, and left again, extremely viciously, in slightly FAST MOTION.

		NARRATOR
	(continuing)
-- for his part, is so incensed to our business that when the final move is revealed, it will be too much; he will turn, turn to us wholly: he will be helpless: both Ophelia and his mother dead,...

A low moaning emanates from the female captive at this point, and continues through the end of the scene, heard above the other general groanings.  The audience now begins to stamp out a rhythm, and starts chanting: “Freya, Freya...”

		NARRATOR
	(continuing)
...not to mention his father: we will have him, and that prick Irish priest, this Horatio, we will have him, too.  You will see.  
	(calming down slightly)
We have worked hard on the plan, this construction, this net we have all constructed, ‘the net that shall enmesh them all.’ so to say.  
	(starting to cheer 
	 herself up)
And then my boys will arrive to seal the victory: ah, Fortinbras and his army: too long neglected by Claudius, who preferred his dalliance with Gertruda the sweet fat cunt and his intrigues with the Jew-shit Laertes and his failed ruse with that smarty-pants pretty boy prince, too late, yes.  Oh, yes.

She removes her stilleto heels, cracks the whip, then suddenly sprints forward OUT OF FRAME, and we HEAR THE HEAVY POUNDING OF HER FEET, then she brings the whip around, striking the female captive (Ophelia): there is an explosion of white light, and the captive screams a terrifying shriek of despair which slowly fades away, just as another set of pounding feet announce another crack, another explosion, and another scream.

							FADE OUT.


FADE IN:

5.2  INT. ELSINORE -- GREAT HALL -- DAY

PARTY!!

SERVANTS enter, setting up tables, and then bringing out a feast.  Music.  Enter Claudius, Gertruda (all decked out) Laertes, Osric, and ALL THE STATE, and ATTENDANTS with foils and daggers.  An atmosphere of merriment.

MONTAGE SEQUENCE

Showing the party.  In the midst of this, both Hamlet and Horatio enter, Hamlet with a WOMAN as a decoy.  Horatio has cleaned himself up, and is wearing his normal priestly attire, but he has forgotten his face and still has the smeared lipstick on him.

Claudius motions for the music to stop; then he motions for Laertes to approach him.  Laertes does so, and kneels.  Claudius takes his hand.

					CLAUDIUS
Come, Hamlet, come, and take this hand from me.

Hamlet rises, and approaches the throne, but does not kneel.  He does, however, take the hand of Laertes when Claudius gives it to him.

		HAMLET
	(to Laertes)
Give me your pardon, sir.  I have done you wrong;
But pardon’t as you are a gentleman.
This presence knows, and you must needs have heard,
How I am punish’d with a sore distraction.
	(to all/Laertes)
What I have done
That might your nature, honour, and exception
Roughly awake, I here proclaim was madness.
Was’t Hamlet wrong’d Laertes?  Never Hamlet.

Cheers and applause from the court.

		HAMLET
	(continuing)
If Hamlet from himself be ta’en away,
And when he’s not himself does wrong Laertes,
Then Hamlet does it not, Hamlet denies it.
Who does it then?  His madness.  If’t be so,
Hamlet is of the faction that is wrong’d;
His madness is poor Hamlet’s enemy.
	(to Laertes)
Sir, in this audience,
Let my disclaiming from a purpos’d evil
Free me so far in your most generous thoughts
That I have shot my arrow o’er the house
and hurt my brother.

Taking his hand again.  Laertes is genuinely moved, and is forced to modify his prepared speech somewhat unwillingly.

		LAERTES
I am satisfied in nature,

Claudius grimaces and squirms on the throne.

		LAERTES
	(continuing; dropping hand)
Whose motive in this case should stir me most
To my revenge; but in my terms of honour
I stand aloof, and will no reconcilement
Till by some elder masters of known honour
I have a voice and precedent of peace
To keep my name ungor’d.

He looks to Claudius for a sign to call it off.  None is forthcoming.

		LAERTES
	(continuing)
But till that time
I do receive your offer’d love like love
And will not wrong it.

		HAMLET
I embrace it freely,
And will this brother’s wager frankly play.

Hamlet embraces Laertes.  Applause from the crowd.

		HAMLET
	(continuing; to attendants)
Give us the foils.

Laertes has another look at Claudius, then goes on with his mission.

		LAERTES
Come, one for me.

Hamlet and Laertes move to the center of the floor, which a set of attendants proceed to clear of the tables.

					HAMLET
I’ll be your foil, Laertes.  In mine ignorance
Your skill shall like a star i’th’darkest night
Stick fiery off indeed.

		LAERTES
You mock me, sir.

		HAMLET
No, by this hand.

Hamlet squeezes Laertes’s arm with as much sincere affection as he can muster.  Horatio is heartened by this act.

		CLAUDIUS
	(interrupting)
Give then the foils, young Osric.  Cousin Hamlet,
You know the wager?

Hamlet is looking around the room, suspicious of treachery.  He looks back at Claudius when Claudius addresses him.  Laertes examines the weapons, and tests one.

		HAMLET
Very well, my lord.
Your Grace has laid the odds o’th’weaker side.

		CLAUDIUS
I do not fear it.  I have seen you both.
But since he is better, we have therefore odds.

		LAERTES
	(to himself)
This is too heavy.
	(to Osric)
Let me see another.

Hamlet tests one or two blades himself.

		HAMLET
This like me well.

He’s just a little suspicious of Osric.

		HAMLET
	(continuing;to Osric)
These foils have all a length?

		OSRIC
Ay, my good lord.

He doesn’t like the way Osric said that.  He nevertheless makes some practice thrusts with the sword.  Laertes is putting on protective armor.  Enter SERVANTS with flagons of wine.  As this happens, the crowd cheers.  Some are drunk already.  The women suddenly decide to take sides: some move off to stand behind Laertes’s position, while others crowd in behind Hamlet, next to Horatio.  They start to clap in unison.

		CLAUDIUS
	(to all)
Set me the stoups of wine upon that table.
If Hamlet give the first or second hit,
Or quit in answer of the third exchange,
Let all the instruments their soundings fire;
The King shall drink to Hamlet’s better breath,
And in the cup a jewel shall he throw
Richer than that which four successive kings
In Denmark’s crown have worn.
	(to servants)
Give me the cups.
	(to all)
And let the kettle to the trumpets speak,
The trumpets to the heavens, the heaven to earth,
‘Now the King drinks to Hamlet.’

Drums.  Trumpet fanfare.  Claudius drinks.

		CLAUDIUS
	(continuing)
Come, begin.
	(to judges)
And you, the judges, bear a wary eye.
	
Laertes is hesitating.  He looks again toward Claudius, who makes no sign.

		HAMLET
Come on, sir.

		LAERTES
Come, my lord.

They play the first bout.  They start slowly, and then exchange increasingly energetic passes.  The crowd reacts with enthusiasm.  At length Hamlet makes a thrust and claims a hit.  Cheers.

		HAMLET
One.

		LAERTES
No.

		HAMLET
	(aloud)
Judgment.

		OSRIC
A hit, a very palpable hit.

Gertruda suddenly rises and goes over to join Hamlet’s rooting section.  She leads them in a complicated clapping routine.  She takes a drink of someone’s wine.

		LAERTES
Well, again.

		CLAUDIUS
Stay.  Give me a drink.

A servant brings a tray with a pitcher of wine and flagons.  He drinks, then places the poisoned pearl in the flagon.  Horatio is troubled by this.

		CLAUDIUS
	(continuing)
Hamlet, this pearl is thine.
Here’s to thy health.

He toasts Hamlet, and the Servant brings the tray over to Hamlet’s sideline.

		HAMLET
I’ll play this bout first.  Set it by awhile.
	(to Laertes)
Come.

Laertes is growing increasingly nervous, partly due to the appearance of the poisoned wine.  But he gathers himself and presses his attack with much more energy than previously.  Hamlet, however, parries the attacks successfully, and it is apparent he is the superior swordsman, with an answering maneuver to whatever Laertes attempts.  There is much loud reaction from the cheering sections as the combatants take their fight all across the arena prepared for them.  Finally Hamlet, with what seems to be a trick stroke, touches Laertes so that all can see.

		HAMLET
	(facetious)
Another hit.  What say you?

		LAERTES
I do confess it.

Cheers and roars of approval from the fans.

		CLAUDIUS
Our son shall win.

		CLAUDIUS (V.O.)
Confound that Hamlet.

Gertruda is delighted.

		GERTRUDA
He’s hot and scant of breath.
Here, Hamlet, take my napkin, rub thy brows.

Hamlet wipes his forehead with the handkerchief.  Gertruda takes the opportunity to grasp the poisoned flagon.  Claudius sits up suddenly.

		GERTRUDA
	(continuing)
The Queen carouses to thy fortune, Hamlet.

More cheers from the fans: all of them this time.  Under this, slightly delayed, we hear the GROANINGS OF THE DAMNED SOULS.

		HAMLET
	(saluting her with sword)
Good madam.

		CLAUDIUS
Gertruda, do not drink.

She hesitates.

		GERTRUDA
I will, my lord, I pray you pardon me.

She takes a big drink, then offers the flagon to Hamlet, who refuses it.

		CLAUDIUS (V.O.)
It is the poisoned cup.

		CLAUDIUS
	(aside)
It is too late.

		HAMLET
I dare not drink yet, madam.  By and by.

		GERTRUDA
Come, let me wipe thy face.

Laertes approaches Claudius, aware that Gertruda has been poisoned.

		LAERTES
	(to Claudius)
My lord, I’ll hit him now.

		CLAUDIUS
	(to himself)
I do not think it.

Laertes moves back to the center of the arena, as he does so:

		LAERTES
	(aside)
And yet it is almost against my conscience.

Groanings from the damned souls.  Hamlet, unfortunately, takes the opportunity to goad Laertes, which shifts his mood.

		HAMLET
Come, for the third, Laertes.  You do but dally.
I pray you pass with your best violence.
I am afeard you make wanton of me.

		LAERTES
Say you so?  Come on.

They fight again.  Laertes goes all out, becoming desperate.  They go back and forth, in a long encounter with many close calls, but finally come to a pause.  Osric, losing his nerve, takes the opportunity to pronounce judgment.

		OSRIC
Nothing neither way.

There are loud cheers from everyone.  Groanings from the damned souls.  Gertruda stands and claps.  Hamlet salutes his supporters, and bows.  This enrages Laertes.

		LAERTES
Have at you now.

Laertes rushes over to Hamlet and stabs him in the leg.  There is a sudden hush from everyone but the damned souls: their groanings fade away more slowly.  Hamlet whirls, swats at Laertes’s sword, and slugs him in the solar plexus, and then kicks him in the face.

		CLAUDIUS
Part them, they are incensed.

Hamlet then picks up the nearest sword, with happens to be the one belonging to Laertes.  He menaces those who stepped toward him.  He then pushes the other sword over to Laertes, flipping it up to him.

		HAMLET
	(low and slow)
Nay, come again.

Laertes is frozen with fear.  Hamlet pauses a moment, and then attacks.  Gertruda shows distress: she looks at Claudius who surprisingly is looking at her.  She looks at the cup, to Hamlet, to Claudius.  Although wounded, Hamlet presses his attack and in a short space wounds Laertes with a slashing stroke to the arm, and then hits him in the other arm, just for good measure.  Gertruda collapses.

		OSRIC
Look to the Queen there, ho!

		HORATIO
They bleed on both sides.

Horatio rushes out to Hamlet.

		HORATIO
	(continuing)
How is it, my lord?

		OSRIC
	(to Laertes)
How is it, Laertes?

		LAERTES
	(to Osric)
Why, as a woodcock to mine own springe, Osric.
	(to Hamlet)
I am justly kill’d with mine own treachery.

Hamlet is startled and then looks over to Gertruda.

		HAMLET
How does the Queen?

		CLAUDIUS
	(trying to cover)
She swoons to see them bleed.

Gertruda looks at the flagon one more time.  Music in.  A forbidding piece, such as “Atmospheres.”  The groaning of the damned souls come on.

		GERTRUDA
	(aloud)
No, no.  The drink, the drink.

She summons a last reservoir of energy and lunges for him.

		GERTRUDA
	(to Hamlet)
O my dear Hamlet!
The drink, the drink.  I am poisoned.

She shudders violently once, and dies.

		HAMLET
O villainy!  Ho!  Let the door be lock’d.
Treachery!  Seek it out!

Osric ducks out of the room.

		LAERTES
It is here, Hamlet.  Hamlet, thou art slain.
No medicine in the world can do thee good;
In thee there is not half an hour’s life.
The treacherous instrument is in thy hand,
Unbated and envenom’d.  The foul practice
Hath turn’d itself on me.  Lo, here I lie,
Never to rise again!  Thy mother’s poisoned.
	(he pants hard)
I can no more.  The King.  The King’s to blame.

		HAMLET
The point envenom’d too?  Then, venom, to thy work!

He bounds over to Claudius and thrusts the sword into his chest.

		ALL
Treason!  Treason!

Various ab lib shouts of confusion.  Claudius comes off the throne, appealing to the court, but no one comes to his aid.

		CLAUDIUS
O yet defend me, friends, I am but hurt.

Hamlet shoves him to the ground.  Claudius vainly attempts to crawl away, in terror.  Hamlet retrieves the poisoned flagon, and hurries back to Claudius.

		HAMLET
HERE, THOU INCESTUOUS, MURD’ROUS, DAMNED DANE,
DRINK OFF THIS POTION!  IS THY JEWEL HERE?
FOLLOW MY MOTHER!

Claudius gags on the wine poured down his throat.  Hamlet then draws his dagger, and plunges it into Claudius under the chin.  Shrieks from the crowd.

		LAERTES
He is justly served.
It is a poison tempered by himself.
Exchange forgiveness with me, noble Hamlet.
Mine and my father’s death come not upon thee,
Nor thine on me.

Laertes dies.  Suddenly the Dragon falls to the floor of the room and roars.  The rest of the scene is shown in FREEZE FRAME, although the Dragon moves freely around in it.  When the Dragon speaks, it is with the voice of the Narrator.  It is in this scene about ten or 12 feet long, not counting the tail.  It has pretty good looking quasi-human female breasts.

		NARRATOR
Yes!  Yes!  Yes!

Moving to Gertruda.

		NARRATOR
	(holding out claw)
I claim this soul, home of major sin, unrepentant, unredeemed, to rest with us in everlasting darkness from now until forevermore.

As there is no objection, it lets out a tremendous fiery roar.  Then it moves to Claudius.

		NARRATOR
	(holding out claw)
I claim this soul, home of major sin, unrepentant, unredeemed --

		GOD (V.O.)
Negative.

		NARRATOR
What??!!

		GOD (V.O.)
Negative.  Claudius is with me, now.

		NARRATOR
But, he, he had sin, major sin, he was a murderer, a traitor, a good-for-nothing, a --

		GOD (V.O.)
Irrelevant.  He repented.

		NARRATOR
What?  He never said anything of the sort.  I was watching him the whole time.  
	(counts on fingers)
What did he say?  Rubbish: ‘Stay, give me drink...Our son shall win...She swoons to see them bleed.’  A liar to the very end.  Typical human trick.  What else?  Then ‘O yet defend me, friends.  I am but hurt.’  Then nothing.  He never said anything about Jesus.  He never said the magic words: he never said it: ‘O God pardon me in the blood of Jesus Christ.’  Not even close.

		GOD (V.O.)
He made the equivalent attestation, acceptable under the circumstances.

		NARRATOR
What!
		
		GOD (V.O.)
Let’s run it back.

The scene suddenly REVERSES ITSELF in FAST MOTION.  Then it stops.  Then it goes forward again in ULTRA SLOW-MOTION, starting from the point where Hamlet pours the wine down Claudius’s throat.  We hear slow-motion unintelligible sound.  Then Hamlet runs Claudius through.

		GOD (V.O.)
There.  Right there.

		NARRATOR
There wasn’t anything there.  Just all this ‘Aaaaarghhhhh.’  That doesn’t count.

		GOD (V.O.)
Perhaps you were overly excited and didn’t pick it up.

		NARRATOR
Fooohh!

		GOD (V.O.)
Let’s hear it again.

The scene reverses itself again and goes forward again.  We hear the same unintelligible garbled sounds.

		NARRATOR
You’re telling me that counts?

		GOD (V.O.)
It’s hard to make out as the duress you put him to brought in distracting factors.  But let’s remove the sound of the background -- the shrieks of the women -- the sound of the wine itself, and the breathing, plus anything from Hamlet.

The scene reverses itself and goes forward again; this time at the crucial moment there are two unintelligible syllables.

		NARRATOR
So he said, ‘Blah, blah.’  If you let that pass you’ll let in anything.  What kind of game are we playing here?

		GOD (V.O.)
Not at all.  He said, ‘Save Jesus.’

		NARRATOR
‘Save Jesus?’  Come on!  That is totally peripheral.  Jesus needs no saving, he does.  How can that count?

		GOD (V.O.)
What he meant to say, and would have said, had Hamlet not intervened, was ‘Please save me, Jesus.’  I accept the repentance.

		NARRATOR
Oh!  But he didn’t say it, he --

		GOD (V.O.)
The intention of his heart was there.  You know the rules.

		NARRATOR
Not fair, not fair!  It’s not fair to snatch him out of my hands at the last instant!!

		GOD (V.O.)
On the contrary, my universe is perfectly fair, I created it that way, created it that way I did.

		NARRATOR
Obscuritas et diabolos!

The Dragon prowls around in a circle, then stands up on two legs.

		NARRATOR
	(continuing)
Objection!  You cheated!!  You changed time.  When you reran that you showed a different version from the way it actually happened!

		GOD (V.O.)
Although on occasion I will change time, I did not do so here.  You saw what actually happened.  Overruled.

The Dragon curls up into a ball and rolls over a couple of times in consternation.  The scene is still frozen.  The Dragon goes over to Laertes.

		NARRATOR
	(extending claw)
All right, you little Jew-pig-dog, I claim you, your soul, you Laertes, I claim your soul, home of major sin, unrepentant, unredeemed --

		GOD (V.O.)
Negative.

The Dragon roars and belches fire.

		NARRATOR
That’s impossible!!  He’s a murderer and a blasphemer...and a whining, sniveling little shit-faced -- Ohhh!  And he, being Jewish, rejects Jesus as a matter of principle!!  How does he escape?

		GOD (V.O.)
	(drily)
His repentance was clear even to a casual observer.

		NARRATOR
	(glancing at Gertruda)
A Jew saved and not a Christian?  INTOLERABLE!!

		GOD (V.O.)
You are letting your desires color not only your judgment but your perceptions.

		NARRATOR
But --

		GOD (V.O.)
The rules are different for Jews, you know that.

		NARRATOR
Sulfur et ignis!!

		GOD (V.O)
Besides, from before time was, I have singled out certain souls for redemption, regardless.

		NARRATOR
	(to God)
A trick.  A wild-card trick!
	(aside)
Typical Goddish trick!

		JESUS (V.O.)
Is it not lawful for me to do what I wish with my own?  Or is your eye evil because I am generous?

JESUS speaks with a voice similar to that of God, but somewhat younger sounding.  As Jesus speaks, the Dragon covers its ears with its claws, bellows, and rolls around the floor in agony.  Where the frozen figures on the stage get in the way, the Dragon just rolls right through them without affecting them.  Eventually it gathers itself and catches its breath.  It takes a long look at Laertes.

		GOD (V.O.)
Objection overruled.

The scene starts up again where it originally left off.  The Dragon is there, visible to us, but as it does not have its comedy mask up, it is invisible to everyone else.

		HAMLET
	(to Laertes)
Heaven make thee free of it.  I follow thee.
	(to Horatio)
I am dead, Horatio.
	(to Gertruda)
Wretched Queen, adieu.
	(to all)
You that look pale and tremble at this chance,
That are but mutes or audience to this act,
Had I but time --

He collapses to the floor, then props himself up on one arm.

		HAMLET
	(to Horatio)
As this fell sergeant, Death,
Is strict in his arrest.

The Dragon comes to a position behind Hamlet and follows his every word with grimacing and intense consternation.

		HAMLET
	(continuing; to all)
O, I could tell you --
	(to himself)
But let be.

He manages to sit himself up.

		HAMLET
	(to Horatio)
Horatio, I am dead.

Horatio is desperate, crying.

		HAMLET
	(continuing)
Thou livest.  Report me and my cause aright
To the unsatisfied.

		HORATIO
Never believe it.

Horatio picks up the poisoned flagon, and looks inside.

		HORATIO
	(continuing)
I am more an antique Roman than a Dane.

The Dragon is watching, nodding, as if trying to push Horatio forward to take the drink.  Horatio starts to raise the flagon.  Hamlet struggles to his knees, lunges, grips the flagon.

		HAMLET
As th’art a man
Give me the cup.  Let go, by Heaven I’ll ha’t.

He wrestles with Horatio, and just barely manages to twist the flagon out of Horatio’s grip.  It falls, spilling its contents, and clatters away.  Hamlet collapses to the floor and lies there, his head just above the floor.

		HAMLET
O God, Horatio, what a wounded name,
Things standing thus unknown, shall I leave behind me.
If thou didst ever hold me in thy heart,
Absent thee from felicity awhile,
And in this harsh world draw thy breath in pain
To tell my story.

Horatio cradles Hamlet in his arms.  There is sound of a commotion in the castle.  Blaring horns.  Trudging feet.

		HAMLET
	(continuing)
What warlike noise is this?

Enter Osric.

		OSRIC
Young Fortinbras, with conquest come from Poland,
To the ambassadors for England gives
This warlike flourish.

The Dragon still is following Hamlet’s every word with grimaces.

		HAMLET
	(slurred)
O, I die, Horatio.
The potent poison quite o’ercrows my spirit.
I cannot live to hear the news from England,
But I do prophesy th’election lights
On Fortinbras.  He has my dying voice.
So tell him, with the details, more and less
Which have solicited...the rest is silence.

Hamlet dies.  The Dragon bends over him, listens, seems to hear nothing, and its eyes grow very wide.  It gets up on its hind legs, bellows in triumph, shoots a flame skyward, and fades away.  Horatio is on his knees next to Hamlet, and is beside himself with grief.

		HORATIO
Now cracks a noble heart.  Good night, sweet prince,
And flights of angels sing thee to thy rest.

There is a noise of marching feet, drums, and minor skirmishing.

		HORATIO
	(continuing)
Why does the drum come hither?

Enter Fortinbras, his BODYGUARD, the ENGLISH AMBASSADORS, and SOLDIERS.  Fortinbras, of course, is a pagan Viking, along with his soldiers.  Their shields bear the device of a white dragon.

		FORTINBRAS
Where is this sight?

		HORATIO
What is it you would see?
Of aught of woe or wonder, cease your search.

		FORTINBRAS
This quarry cries on havoc.  O proud Death,
What feast is planned in thine eternal cell,
That thou so many princes at a shot
So bloodily has struck?

		AMBASSADOR 1
The sight is dismal;
And our affairs from England come too late.
The ears are senseless that should give us hearing
To tell him his commendment is fulfill’d,
That Rosencrantz ahd Guildenstern are dead.
Where should we have our thanks?

Horatio overcomes his grief and fear, and begins to relate the tale.

		HORATIO
	(indicating Claudius)
Not from his mouth,
Had it the’ability of life to thank you.
He never gave commandment for their death.
But since, so quick upon this bloody question,
You from the Polack wars and you from England
Are here arriv’d, give order that these bodies
High on a stage be placed to the view,
And let me speak to th’yet unknowing world
How these things came about.  So shall you hear
Of carnal, bloody, and unnatural acts,
Of accidental judgment, casual slaughters,
Of deaths put on by cunning and forc’d cause,
And, in this upshot, purposes mistook
Fall’n on th’inventors’ heads.  All this can I 
Truly deliver.

		FORTINBRAS
Let us haste to hear it,
And call the noblest to the audience.
For me, with sorrow I embrace my fortune.
I have some rights of memory in this kindgom,
Which now to claim my vantage doth invite me.

		HORATIO
Of that I shall have also cause to speak,
And from his mouth whose voice will draw on more.
But let this same be presently perform’d
Even while men’s minds are wild, lest more mischance
On plots and errors happen.

		FORTINBRAS
	(making a pronouncement)
Let four captains
Bear Hamlet like a soldier to the sea,
For he was likely, had he been put on,
To have prov’d most royal; and for his passage,
The soldier’s music and the rite of war
Speak loudly for him.
	(to bodyguard)
Take up the bodies.  Such a sight as this
Becomes the field, but here shows much amiss.


EXT. DENMARK -- THE SEASIDE -- DAY (EVENING)

The Viking war-horns are blaring out an dolorous sound.  A royal host is assembled, dominated by Fortinbras, as king, and his Vikings.  Hamlet is laid in a longboat, with treasure.  The Narrator, as priest, nods to Fortinbras, who nods to Horatio.  Horatio reluctantly adds a large ornate volume similar to the Book of Kells to the ship.  Hamlet’s ship is then towed out to sea.  As the sun sets, Fortinbras gives the order for his ARCHERS to fire.  They send volleys of flaming arrows out to the ship, which ignites.  The burning ship harshly illuminates the faces of the asssembled crowd.  Horatio is devastated, and the Narrator is flushed with victory.

CLOSE SHOT

Flames.  We hear the SOUND OF A WHIP CRACKING.  This continues with a definite rhythm.


INT. HELL -- NIGHT

It is hard to determine if this is an exterior or an interior.  If interior, the dome of Hell is vast and far off.  The whip continues to crack.  PULL BACK TO REVEAL the Narrator: now revealed as a Demon of Fire.  She has utterly black skin and seems to radiate a glow as of an intense inner heat.  She is nude, and her whip is flaming.  She is lashing a victim, not yet visible.  Groanings of damned souls are very loud.  When the whip cracks a bright white light flashes out.  As she speaks the camera continues to PULL BACK, revealing her in her obscene glory, and eventually the victim.

					NARRATOR
All right, boy, you wanted to take revenge, well now you’re going to find out all about revenge, and everything else.  You will get your wish, oh yes.  Revenge will be your life, such as it is, but first you have to learn what it really means, and we’ll teach you, yes, you’ll be useful, someday, but you’ve a long way to go, boy, my pretty one, you thought you were so smart finding out about Claudius, and then Rosencrantz and Guildenstern the way you did, that’s nothing, but you’ll learn, learn how to do things our way, but you’ve a long way to go before then, a long way to go...

As we continue PULLING BACK the victim becomes recognizable as Hamlet, chained to the ground.  Every time the Narrator’s whip touches him, there is an explosion of white light, and the upper part of Hamlet’s “body” is vaporized.  As the Narrator just starts to bring the whip forward again, it immediately materializes, in reverse ultra-fast motion.  Hamlet’s eyes are vacant white orbs.  His mouth is open from which an insane wheezing comes.  As we continue slowly PULLING BACK, other whips reach out to him.  As he successively materializes, he becomes more and more hideous and demon-like himself.  The groanings of the damned souls rise in volume.

PULLING BACK further a blasted landscape is revealed where we see thousands and thousands of damned souls running toward the scene with whips of their own -- all of them nude, some misshapen, and most with a dirty reddish brown complection -- and among them are revealed in a brief CLOSE SHOT Polonius, Gertruda, and Ophelia.  Ophelia bears the scars from a recent whipping all over her body.

A final very long shot is held as the sounds rise to a pitch of demonic frenzy and then we:

						FADE OUT.





			THE END



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