You are here:
Act 1 Scene 2
CLAUDIUS Our sometime sister, now our queen, the imperial jointress of this war-like state.
King Claudius (Clive Wood) addresses the court with Queen Gertrude (Sian Thomas) by his side. Gertrude's son Hamlet (Toby Stephen) listens from his position behind them.
Photo by Manuel Harlan © RSC
Act 1 Scene 3
HAMLET King, father, royal Dane. O, answer me? Let me not burst in ignorance, but tell why thy canoniz'd bones, hearsed in death, have burst their cerements.
The Ghost of the old King Hamlet (Greg Hicks) appears at night to Hamlet, Horatio and Marcellus. Hamlet (Toby Stephens) urges the Ghost to speak to him.
Photo by Manuel Harlan © RSC
Act 2 Scene 2
HAMLET I have of late- but wherefore I know not- lost all my mirth ... This most excellent canopy, the air, look you, this brave o'erhanging firmament, this majestical roof fretted with golden fire- why, it appeareth no other thing to me than a foul and pestilent congregation of vapours.
Hamlet (Toby Stephens) is suspicious when his friends Guildenstern (left, John Killoran) and Rosencrantz (John Mackay) visit him. He correctly guesses that Claudius and Gertrude have sent them to find out what is troubling him.
Act 3 Scene 1
HAMLET To die- to sleep- no more; and by a sleep to say we end the heartache, and the thousand natural shocks that flesh is heir to.
After the performance of The Mousetrap, Hamlet (Toby Stephens) contemplates suicide as an escape from the pain of life's experiences.
HAMLET Who would these fardels bear, To grunt and sweat under a weary life, But that the dread of something after death- The undiscover'd country, from whose bourn No traveller returns- puzzles the will, And makes us rather bear those ills we have Than fly to others that we know not of?
In his famous soliloque, Hamlet (Toby Stephens) speaks his thoughts that people choose to suffer in life rather than kill themselves because they are afraid of the unknown awaiting them in the afterlife, a place from which they can't return.
OPHELIA My lord, I have remembrances of yours that I have longed long to re-deliver. I pray you, now receive them.
HAMLET No, not I! I never gave you aught.
Ophelia (Meg Fraser) tries to return letters and love tokens to Hamlet (Toby Stephens) but he angrily denies giving them to her.
Act 3 Scene 2
The Players enact The Mousetrap, watched by the Court. (Players: Trystan Gravelle and Jessica Tomchak)
In the performance of The Mousetrap, the King (Greg Hicks) is murdered. Hamlet wants this moment to provoke a reaction Claudius and it's particularly chilling in this production because the same actor played both the Ghost of Old Hamlet and the Player King.
Act 3 Scene 3
HAMLET Up, sword, and know thou a more horrid hent. When he is drunk asleep; or in his rage...
Hamlet (Toby Stephens) enters while Claudius (Clive Wood) is praying, with the intention of killing him. He changes his mind though - he reasons that Claudius is more prepared for dying because he's praying and decides to wait until he's less mentally stable.
Act 3 Scene 4
HAMLET You are the Queen, your husband's brother's wife, and (would it were not so!) you are my mother.
Hamlet (Toby Stephens) visits his mother Gertrude (Sian Thomas) in her chamber ('closet').
GHOST O! Step between her and her fighting soul; Conceit in weakest bodies strongest works.
After Hamlet kills Polonius, the Ghost of Hamlet's father (Greg Hicks) appears and speaks to Hamlet (Toby Stephens). His mother Gertrude (Sian Thomas) cannot see the Ghost.
Act 5 Scene 1
HAMLET To what base uses we may return, Horatio! Why may not imagination trace the noble dust of Alexander till he find it stopping a bunghole?
In the graveyard, the grave digger gives Hamlet (Toby Stephens) the skull belonging to the court jester, Yorrick. Hamlet remarks that all people, no matter how great, must die and transform to dust.
HAMLET I lov'd Ophelia. 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.
At the funeral for Ophelia, Laertes (Gideon Turner, in the foreground) has been attacked by Hamlet (Toby Stephens, left). Hamlet claims he loved her so much that he would do anything for her. Claudius exclaims that Hamlet is mad.
Act 5 Scene 2
HAMLET Here, thou incestuous, murd'rous, damned Dane, drink off this potion! Is thy union here? Follow my mother.
Hamlet (Toby Stephens) attacks Claudius (Clive Wood) with the poisoned sword and then forces him to drink the rest of the poisoned wine which has already killed his mother, Gertrude.
0844 800 1110
Sign up to email updates for the latest RSC news:
Already an RSC Member or Supporter? Sign in here.
The RSC is a registered charity ( no 212481 )
© 2015 Royal Shakespeare Company