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Hamlet Scripts The small collection of Shakespeare pieces on the Drama Notebook website have been

Hamlet Scripts

The small collection of Shakespeare pieces on the Drama Notebook website have been created and edited by professional Shakespearean actors. There are many books about teaching Shakespeare to kids, but many of them advocate modernizing the text, which, in my opinion, defeats the purpose of reading/performing Shakespeare.

To create an easy Shakespeare performance, use the short scripts on this website so that every student has a meaningful role. To expand any piece, ask students to read the play in its entirety and choose a soliloquy to add into the play. This can be completely elective, allowing interested students to take the work further.

Additionally, students can be invited to choose a sonnet to perform either alone or with a partner between the plays presented on performance day!

Get Started with Hamlet! Give the first version to all the kids and assign them to read Storyteller, Hamlet, Queen, etc. It would take about five minutes. Then ask a different group of kids to read it. Then reassign the parts again. Pretty soon a lot of different kids would have had a chance to read the part of Hamlet and the part of the storyteller. They would all know the story after you went through it four times. By the end of the first class they could do it off book, and anyone could play any part, or be the storyteller (the storyteller doesn't have to get the lines exactly right, just connect the scenes).

There are three versions of the plays below, each a little longer than the last. As the group progresses, you can give them more and more of the piece.

progresses, you can give them more and more of the piece. © Drama Notebook www.dramanotebook.com All
progresses, you can give them more and more of the piece. © Drama Notebook www.dramanotebook.com All
progresses, you can give them more and more of the piece. © Drama Notebook www.dramanotebook.com All

Hamlet in One Page!

By William Shakespeare Adaptation by Johnny Stallings

CHARACTERS:

Storyteller Marcellus Hamlet Ghost Ophelia Horatio Gravedigger Band of Players Polonius Laertes

STORYTELLER: When Prince Hamlet returns to Denmark for his father's funeral, his mother is already getting married to Claudius---his uncle!

MARCELLUS: Something is rotten in the state of Denmark.

STORYTELLER: One night, after the stroke of midnight, Hamlet saw the ghost of his father.

HAMLET: What should I do?

GHOST. Revenge my foul and most unnatural murder.

STORYTELLER: Hamlet contemplates killing himself.

HAMLET. To be or not to be, that is the question.

STORYTELLER: His girlfriend, Ophelia, returns the love letters he sent her. He hears her father, Polonius, make a noise nearby and gets angry at Ophelia for taking part in her fathers plots against him.

HAMLET: Get thee to a nunnery! (He exits.)

OPHELIA: O, what a noble mind is here o'erthrown!

STORYTELLER: Hamlet asks some traveling players to put on a play about a murder in front of the king.

(This could be done as a dumb show-meaning no words. Silently acted out.)

STORYTELLER: The king runs from the room and Hamlet is now sure that he is guilty. Hamlet goes to see his mother, the queen, in her private chamber. While they are talking he hears a sound behind the curtain.

While they are talking he hears a sound behind the curtain. © Drama Notebook www.dramanotebook.com All
While they are talking he hears a sound behind the curtain. © Drama Notebook www.dramanotebook.com All

HAMLET: (Draws his sword.) How now? A rat? Dead for a ducat. Dead! (Stabs Polonius.)

STORYTELLER: He draws the curtain, and discovers, not the king, but his counselor, Polonius, who had been spying on them.

QUEEN: O Hamlet, thou hast cleft my heart in twain.

HAMLET: I'll lug the guts into the neighbor room. (Drags Polonius' body away.)

STORYTELLER: Overwhelmed by the news that Hamlet has killed her father, Ophelia goes mad.

OPHELIA: There's rosemary, that's for remembrance withered all when my father died.

I

would give you some violets, but they

STORYTELLER: Ophelia's brother, Laertes, returns home for his father's funeral. A short time later, the Queen is the bearer of sad news.

QUEEN: One woe doth tread upon another's heel, So fast they follow. Your sister's drowned, Laertes.

STORYTELLER: Wandering in a graveyard with his friend Horatio, Hamlet comes upon a jolly gravedigger.

GRAVEDIGGER. This same skull, sir, was, sir, Yorick's skull, the King's jester.

HAMLET. Alas, poor Yorick! I knew him, Horatio.

STORYTELLER: The King has arranged for a fencing match between Hamlet and Laertes. Hamlet is scratched by Laertes rapier, which has a poisoned tip. Hamlet wounds Laertes with the same sword. The Queen drinks a cup of poison meant for Hamlet. Hamlet kills the King.

(This can all be acted out.)

STORYTELLER: As Hamlet lies dying he says:

HAMLET: I am dead, Horatio. The rest is silence. (He dies.)

HORATIO. Good night, sweet prince, And flights of angels sing thee to thy rest!

sweet prince, And flights of angels sing thee to thy rest! © Drama Notebook www.dramanotebook.com All
sweet prince, And flights of angels sing thee to thy rest! © Drama Notebook www.dramanotebook.com All

Hamlet in Four Pages!

By William Shakespeare Adaptation by Johnny Stallings

CHARACTERS:

Storyteller Marcellus Hamlet Ghost Ophelia King Claudius Horatio Gravedigger Band of Players Polonius Laertes

STORYTELLER: When Prince Hamlet returns to Denmark for his father's funeral, his mother is already getting married to Claudius---his uncle!

MARCELLUS: Something is rotten in the state of Denmark.

STORYTELLER: One night, after the stroke of midnight, Hamlet saw the ghost of his father.

HAMLET: What should I do?

GHOST: Revenge my foul and most unnatural murder.

HAMLET: Murder?

GHOST: Murder most foul, strange and unnatural.

STORYTELLER: Hamlet contemplates killing himself.

HAMLET: To be or not to be, that is the question. To die, to sleep--- To sleep, perchance to dream. Ay, there's the rub:

For in that sleep of death what dreams may come, When we have shuffled off this mortal coil, Must give us pause.

STORYTELLER: His girlfriend, Ophelia, returns the love letters he sent her.

(OPHELIA hands HAMLET some letters.)

HAMLET: I did love you once.

OPHELIA: Indeed, my lord, you made me believe so.

you once. OPHELIA: Indeed, my lord, you made me believe so. © Drama Notebook www.dramanotebook.com All
you once. OPHELIA: Indeed, my lord, you made me believe so. © Drama Notebook www.dramanotebook.com All

(POLONIUS and KING CLAUDIUS are spying on them. POLONIUS makes a noise. HAMLET hears.)

HAMLET: Where's your father?

OPHELIA: At home, my lord

HAMLET: Get thee to a nunnery! (He exits.)

OPHELIA: O, what a noble mind is here o'erthrown!

STORYTELLER: Hamlet asks some traveling players to put on a play about a murder in front of the king.

(This could be done as a dumbshow. The PLAYER KING formally embraces the PLAYER QUEEN. He lies down and falls asleep. She leaves. The MURDERER comes in. He pours poison in the PLAYER KING's ear. PLAYER KING dies. QUEEN comes back in. She formally embraces the MURDERER. )

KING: (Who has been watching the play, along with the QUEEN.) Give me some light! (He leaves in haste.)

STORYTELLER: Hamlet is now sure that King Claudius is guilty. Hamlet goes to see his mother, the queen, in her private chamber. While they are talking he hears a sound behind the curtain.

HAMLET: (Draws his sword.) How now? A rat? Dead for a ducat. Dead! (Stabs Polonius.)

STORYTELLER: He draws the curtain, and discovers, not the king, but his counselor, Polonius, who had been spying on them.

QUEEN: What have I done, that thou dar'st wag thy tongue In noise so rude against me?

HAMLET: Such an act That blurs the grace and blush of modesty.

(The GHOST appears. HAMLET sees it, but the QUEEN cannot.)

HAMLET: What would your gracious figure?

QUEEN: Alas, he's mad!

GHOST: Do not forget. (GHOST leaves.)

QUEEN: O Hamlet, thou hast cleft my heart in twain.

HAMLET: I'll lug the guts into the neighbor room. (Drags Polonius' body away.) Good night, mother.

room. ( Drags Polonius' body away. ) Good night, mother. © Drama Notebook www.dramanotebook.com All rights
room. ( Drags Polonius' body away. ) Good night, mother. © Drama Notebook www.dramanotebook.com All rights

STORYTELLER: Overwhelmed by the news that Hamlet has killed her father, Ophelia goes mad.

OPHELIA: There's rosemary, that's for remembrance. (Gives rosemary to the KING.) Pray you, love, remember. And there is pansies. (Gives pansies to the QUEEN.) That's for thoughts. (To LAERTES.) I would give you some violets, but they withered all when my father died.

STORYTELLER: Ophelia's brother, Laertes, has returned home for his father's funeral. A short time later, the Queen is the bearer of sad news.

QUEEN: One woe doth tread upon another's heel, So fast they follow. Your sister's drowned, Laertes.

STORYTELLER: Wandering in a graveyard with his friend Horatio, Hamlet comes upon a jolly gravedigger.

HAMLET: Whose grave's this, sirrah?

GRAVEDIGGER: Mine, sir.

HAMLET: What man dost thou dig it for?

GRAVEDIGGER: For no man, sir.

HAMLET: What woman, then?

GRAVEDIGGER: For none, neither.

HAMLET: Who is to be buried in't?

GRAVEDIGGER: One that was a woman, sir, but, rest her soul, she's dead. (Picks up a skull.)

This same skull, sir, was, sir, Yorick's skull, the King's jester. (He hands the skull to HAMLET.)

HAMLET: Alas, poor Yorick! I knew him, Horatio---a fellow of infinite jest, of most excellent fancy. He hath bore me on his back a thousand times.

STORYTELLER: The King has arranged for a fencing match between Hamlet and Laertes.

HAMLET: Give me your pardon, sir. I have done you wrong.

LAERTES: I do receive your offered love like love, And will not wrong it.

(The match begins. HAMLET scores the first hit.)

KING: (Lifts a cup.) Here's to thy health.

HAMLET: I'll play this bout first.

to thy health. HAMLET: I'll play this bout first. © Drama Notebook www.dramanotebook.com All rights
to thy health. HAMLET: I'll play this bout first. © Drama Notebook www.dramanotebook.com All rights

(HAMLET scores another hit.)

QUEEN: (Takes the cup.) The Queen carouses to thy fortune, Hamlet.

KING: Gertrude, do not drink.

QUEEN: I will, my lord, I pray you pardon me. (She drinks.)

LAERTES: (To HAMLET.) Have at you now!

(LAERTES wounds HAMLET. The point of his rapier is sharp. HAMLET gets the sword from him and wounds LAERTES. The QUEEN falls.)

KING: She swoons to see them bleed.

QUEEN: No, no, the drink, the drink! O, my dear Hamlet! The drink, the drink! I am poisoned. (She dies.)

HAMLET: Treachery! Seek it out.

LAERTES: (Falls.) It is here, Hamlet. Hamlet, thou art slain. In thee there is not half an hour's life. The treacherous instrument is in thy hand, Unbated and envenomed. The King, the King's to blame. (He dies.)

HAMLET: The point envenomed too? Then, venom to thy work. (Stabs KING.) Here, thou incestuous, murderous, damned Dane, Drink off this potion. (Makes KING drink.) Follow my mother. (KING dies.) I am dead, Horatio. Had I but time---O, I could tell you---but let it be. (He falls. HORATIO goes to him.) The rest is silence. (He dies.)

HORATIO: Good night, sweet prince, And flights of angels sing thee to thy rest.

sweet prince, And flights of angels sing thee to thy rest. © Drama Notebook www.dramanotebook.com All
sweet prince, And flights of angels sing thee to thy rest. © Drama Notebook www.dramanotebook.com All

Hamlet in Six Pages!

By William Shakespeare Adaptation by Johnny Stallings

CHARACTERS:

Storyteller Marcellus Hamlet Ghost Ophelia King Claudius Horatio Gravedigger Band of Players Polonius Laertes

STORYTELLER: When Prince Hamlet returns to Denmark for his father's funeral, his mother is already getting married to Claudius---his uncle! It makes Hamlet sick at heart.

HAMLET: O that this too, too solid 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!

STORYTELLER: Hamlet loves Ophelia and Ophelia loves him. Before leaving for France, her brother, Laertes, warns Ophelia not to lose her heart to Hamlet. Her father Polonius forbids her to talk to Hamlet. He gives some parting advice to Laertes.

POLONIUS: To thine own self be true, And it must follow, as the night the day, Thou canst not then be false to any man.

STORYTELLER: Soldiers have seen the ghost of Hamlet's father on the night watch.

MARCELLUS: Something is rotten in the state of Denmark.

STORYTELLER: They tell Prince Hamlet. The next night, after the stroke of midnight, Hamlet confronts his father's spirit.

HAMLET: What should I do?

GHOST: Revenge my foul and most unnatural murder.

HAMLET: Murder?

Revenge my foul and most unnatural murder. HAMLET: Murder? © Drama Notebook www.dramanotebook.com All rights
Revenge my foul and most unnatural murder. HAMLET: Murder? © Drama Notebook www.dramanotebook.com All rights

GHOST: Murder most foul, strange and unnatural. The serpent that did sting thy father's life Now wears his crown.

STORYTELLER: Hamlet's father's spirit tells him that he was murdered by his brother Claudius, who is now married to the Queen. Hamlet wants to get revenge, but he pretends to be mad to avoid suspicion that he is plotting against the King.

POLONIUS:

Do you know me, my lord?

HAMLET: (Looks up from a book he is reading.) Excellent well. You are a fishmonger.

STORYTELLER: The King sends two childhood friends of Hamlet, Rosencrantz and Guildenstern, to spy on Hamlet, to see why he is acting strangely. This is what Hamlet tells them.

HAMLET: I have of late, but wherefore I know not, lost all my mirth, foregone all custom of exercise, and indeed it goes so heavily with my disposition that this goodly frame the earth seems to me a sterile promontory, this most excellent canopy, the air---look you!---this brave o'erhanging firmament, this majestical roof fretted with golden fire---why it appears nothing to me but a foul and pestilent congregation of vapors. What a piece of work is a man, how noble in reason, how infinite in faculties, in form and moving how express and admirable, in action how like an angel, in apprehension how like a god, the beauty of the world, the paragon of animals---and yet, to me, what is this quintessence of dust? Man delights not me. No, nor woman, neither.

STORYTELLER: Hamlet contemplates killing himself.

HAMLET: To be or not to be, that is the question. To die, to sleep--- To sleep, perchance to dream. Ay, there's the rub:

For in that sleep of death what dreams may come, When we have shuffled off this mortal coil, Must give us pause.

STORYTELLER: His girlfriend, Ophelia, returns the love letters he sent her.

(OPHELIA hands HAMLET some letters.)

HAMLET: I did love you once.

OPHELIA: Indeed, my lord, you made me believe so.

(POLONIUS and KING CLAUDIUS are spying on them. POLONIUS makes a noise. HAMLET hears.)

HAMLET: Where's your father?

OPHELIA: At home, my lord

HAMLET: Where's your father? OPHELIA: At home, my lord © Drama Notebook www.dramanotebook.com All rights
HAMLET: Where's your father? OPHELIA: At home, my lord © Drama Notebook www.dramanotebook.com All rights

HAMLET: Get thee to a nunnery! Farewell! (He slaps her [optional], then exits.)

OPHELIA:

The coutier's, soldier's, scholar's, eye, tongue, sword, Th'expectancy and rose of the fair state, The glass of fashion and the mold of form, Th'observed of all observers, quite, quite, down! And I, of ladies most deject and wretched, That sucked the honey of his music vows, Now see that noble and most sovereign reason Like sweet bells jangled out of tune and harsh--- That unmatched form and feature of blown youth Blasted with ecstasy. O, woe is me T'have seen what I have seen, see what I see!

O, what a noble mind is here o'erthrown!

Storyteller: Hamlet asks some travelling players to put on a play about a murder in front of the King.

(This could be done as a dumbshow. The PLAYER KING formally embraces the PLAYER QUEEN. He lies down and falls asleep. She leaves. The MURDERER comes in. He pours poison in the PLAYER KING's ear. PLAYER KING dies. QUEEN comes back in. She formally embraces the MURDERER. )

KING: (Who has been watching the play, along with the QUEEN.) Give me some light! (He leaves in haste.)

STORYTELLER: Hamlet is now sure that King Claudius is guilty.

HAMLET: 'Tis now the very witching time of night, When churchyards yawn and hell itself breathes out Contagion to this world. Now could I drink hot blood And do such bitter business as the day Would quake to look on.

STORYTELLER: The King tries to pray.

KING: O, my offense is rank! It smells to heaven.

It hath the primal eldest curse upon't,

A brother's murder. Pray can I not,

My stronger guilt defeats my strong intent, And like a man to double business bound I stand in pause where I shall first begin, And both neglect.

(HAMLET enters.)

HAMLET: (Draws his sword.) Now might I do it pat, no he is a-praying And now I'll do't! And so he goes to heaven, And so am I revenged. That would be scanned:

A

villain kills my father, and for that,

I,

his sole son, do this same villain send

for that, I, his sole son, do this same villain send © Drama Notebook www.dramanotebook.com All
for that, I, his sole son, do this same villain send © Drama Notebook www.dramanotebook.com All

To heaven. Why, this is hire and salary, not revenge. (Puts up his sword and leaves.)

KING: My words fly up, my thoughts remain below. Words without thoughts never to heaven go.

STORYTELLER: Hamlet goes to see his mother, the queen, in her private chamber. HAMLET: Now, mother, what's the matter?

QUEEN: Hamlet, thou hast thy father much offended.

HAMLET: Mother, you have my father much offended.

(There is a noise behind the curtain, [maybe a sneeze].)

(HAMLET draws his sword.) How now? A rat? Dead for a ducat. Dead! (Stabs Polonius.)

(He draws the curtain and discovers Polonius)

HAMLET: Thou wretched, rash, intruding fool, farewell!

QUEEN: O, what a rash and bloody deed is this!

HAMLET: A bloody deed---almost as bad, good mother As kill a king, and marry with his brother.

(The GHOST appears. HAMLET sees it, but the QUEEN cannot.)

HAMLET: What would your gracious figure?

QUEEN: Alas, he's mad!

GHOST: Do not forget. (GHOST leaves.)

QUEEN: O Hamlet, thou hast cleft my heart in twain.

HAMLET: I'll lug the guts into the neighbor room. (Drags Polonius' body away.) Good night, mother.

STORYTELLER: The King is informed that Hamlet has killed his counselor.

KING: Now, Hamlet, where's Polonius?

HAMLET: At supper.

KING: At supper? Where?

HAMLET: Not where eats, but where he is eaten. A certain convocation of politic worms are e'en at him.

STORYTELLER: Overwhelmed by the news that Hamlet has killed her father, Ophelia goes mad.

OPHELIA. There's rosemary, that's for remembrance. (Gives rosemary to the KING.) Pray you, love, remember. And there is pansies. (Gives pansies to the QUEEN.) That's for

is pansies. ( Gives pansies to the QUEEN. ) That's for © Drama Notebook www.dramanotebook.com All
is pansies. ( Gives pansies to the QUEEN. ) That's for © Drama Notebook www.dramanotebook.com All

thoughts. (To LAERTES.) I would give you some violets, but they withered all when my father died.

STORYTELLER: Ophelia's brother, Laertes, has returned home for his father's funeral. A short time later, the Queen is the bearer of sad news.

QUEEN: One woe doth tread upon another's heel, So fast they follow. Your sister's drowned, Laertes. There is a willow grows askant the brook That shows his hoar leaves in the glassy stream. Therewith fantastic garlands did she make Of crowflowers, nettles, daisies, and long purples. There, on the pendant boughs, her coronet weeds Clamb'ring to hang, an envious sliver broke, When down her weedy trophies and herself Fell in the weeping brook. Her clothes spread wide, And mermaid-like a while they bore her up, Which time she chanted snatches of old lauds, As one incapable of her own distress, Or like a creature native and endued Unto that element. But long it could not be Till that her garments, heavy with their drink, Pulled the poor wretch from her melodious lay To muddy death.

STORYTELLER: Wandering in a graveyard with his friend Horatio, Hamlet comes upon a jolly gravedigger.

HAMLET: Whose grave's this, sirrah?

GRAVEDIGGER: Mine, sir.

HAMLET: What man dost thou dig it for?

GRAVEDIGGER: For no man, sir.

HAMLET: What woman, then?

GRAVEDIGGER: For none, neither.

HAMLET: Who is to be buried in't?

GRAVEDIGGER: One that was a woman, sir, but, rest her soul, she's dead. (Picks up a skull.) This same skull, sir, was, sir, Yorick's skull, the King's jester. (He hands the skull to HAMLET.)

HAMLET: Alas, poor Yorick! I knew him, Horatio---a fellow of infinite jest, of most excellent fancy. He hath 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. Where be your gibes 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? Quite chopfallen?

Not one now to mock your own grinning? Quite chopfallen? © Drama Notebook www.dramanotebook.com All rights
Not one now to mock your own grinning? Quite chopfallen? © Drama Notebook www.dramanotebook.com All rights

Now get you to my lady's chamber and tell her, let her paint an inch thick, to this favor she must come. Make her laugh at that.

STORYTELLER: The King has arranged for a fencing match between Hamlet and Laertes.

HAMLET: Give me your pardon, sir. I have done you wrong.

LAERTES: I do receive your offered love like love, And will not wrong it.

(The match begins. HAMLET scores the first hit.)

KING: (Lifts a cup.) Here's to thy health.

HAMLET: I'll play this bout first.

(HAMLET scores another hit.)

QUEEN: (Takes the cup.) The Queen carouses to thy fortune, Hamlet.

KING: Gertrude, do not drink.

QUEEN: I will, my lord, I pray you pardon me. (She drinks.)

LAERTES: (To HAMLET.) Have at you now!

(LAERTES wounds HAMLET. The point of his rapier is sharp. HAMLET gets the sword from him and wounds LAERTES. The QUEEN falls.)

KING: She swoons to see them bleed.

QUEEN: No, no, the drink, the drink! O, my dear Hamlet! The drink, the drink! I am poisoned. (She dies.)

HAMLET: Treachery! Seek it out.

LAERTES: (Falls.) It is here, Hamlet. Hamlet, thou art slain. In thee there is not half an hour's life. The treacherous instrument is in thy hand, Unbated and envenomed. The King, the King's to blame. (He dies.)

HAMLET: The point envenomed too? Then, venom to thy work. (Stabs KING.) Here, thou incestuous, murderous, damned Dane, Drink off this potion. (Makes KING drink.) Follow my mother. (KING dies.) I am dead, Horatio. Had I but time---O, I could tell you---but let it be. (He falls. HORATIO goes to him.) The rest is silence. (He dies.)

HORATIO: Good night, sweet prince, And flights of angels sing thee to thy rest.

sweet prince, And flights of angels sing thee to thy rest. © Drama Notebook www.dramanotebook.com All
sweet prince, And flights of angels sing thee to thy rest. © Drama Notebook www.dramanotebook.com All