Rating: Suitable for all ages
Copyright Status: Public domain
This monologue is taken from the play within the play, Hamlet. This is a play that Hamlet brings to the court in order to determine whether or not Claudius murdered Hamlet's father. The storyline of this play is similar to that of King Hamlet's murder.
Just prior to this monologue, the Player King has told the Player Queen that he will soon die and she will marry quickly thereafter. The Player Queen protests that she would never do such a thing. In the monologue, the Player King tells her that he is sure that she believes that now, but that her feelings will change once her situation is different and fortune is found elsewhere.
CharacterName: Player King
Age Range: 40s - Early, 40s - Late, 50s, 60s, 70+
Dialects: Standard American, Standard English
AuthorName: William Shakespeare
Eras: 1601-1700, 1501-1600
I do believe you think what now you speak; But what we do determine oft we...View Full Monologue Text
I do believe you think what now you speak;
But what we do determine oft we break.
Purpose is but the slave to memory,
Of violent birth, but poor validity;
Which now, like fruit unripe, sticks on the tree,
But fall unshaken when they mellow be.
Most necessary 'tis that we forget
To pay ourselves what to ourselves is debt.
What to ourselves in passion we propose,
The passion ending, doth the purpose lose.
The violence of either grief or joy
Their own enactures with themselves destroy.
Where joy most revels, grief doth most lament;
Grief joys, joy grieves, on slender accident.
This world is not for aye, nor 'tis not strange
That even our loves should with our fortunes change;
For 'tis a question left us yet to prove,
Whether love lead fortune, or else fortune love.
The great man down, you mark his favourite flies,
The poor advanc'd makes friends of enemies;
And hitherto doth love on fortune tend,
For who not needs shall never lack a friend,
And who in want a hollow friend doth try,
Directly seasons him his enemy.
But, orderly to end where I begun,
Our wills and fates do so contrary run
That our devices still are overthrown;
Our thoughts are ours, their ends none of our own.
So think thou wilt no second husband wed;
But die thy thoughts when thy first lord is dead.