Prince Hamlet

Faced with the prince who is, so far as you know, your sole reason for being in Denmark, you find yourself at a loss for words. “My honored lord!” one of you stammers; “My most dear lord!” the other follows close behind, little more than an echo.

“My excellent good friends,” says the prince. He is smiling a queer, lightless smile, as though it is something he has practiced doing. You are uncomfortably aware that it’s probably a smile at your expense. “How dost thou, Guildenstern? Ah, Rosencrantz! Good lads, how do ye both?”

“As the indifferent children of the earth,” one of you says, before either of you can ask whether you’re playing a game.

Statement. Triumph lights up Hamlet’s eyes.

He harries you hard, after that—driving you back into the alcove with question after pointed, brutal question; naming Denmark a prison, a nutshell, a nightmare. He crowds you with rhetoric, slides past your evasions, pinions you upon the point to which he keeps inevitably returning: “Were you not sent for?”

“What should we say, my lord?” you entreat him. He is standing so close that you feel the heat rising from him in waves, as though he has a fever.

“Why, anything, but to the purpose,” he counters. His eyes are bright, but you cannot think them mad. “You were sent for, and there is a kind of confession in your looks which your modesties have not craft enough to color.”

“To what end, my lord?”
“My lord, we were sent for.”