Download Twain`s Parody of Hamlet`s Soliloquy in The Adventures of

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Twain’s Parody of Hamlet’s Soliloquy in The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn
To be, or not to be;  that is the bare bodkin
That makes calamity of so long life; 
For who would fardels bear, till Birnam Wood do come to Dunsinane,
But that the fear [dread] of something after death
Murders the innocent sleep,
Great nature's second course,
And makes us rather sling the arrows of outrageous fortune 
Than fly to others that we know not of.
There's the respect [rub]  must give us pause:
Wake Duncan with thy knocking! I would thou couldst;
For who would bear the whips and scorns of time,
The oppressor's wrong, the proud man's contumely,
The law's delay, and the quietus which his pangs might take,
“The pangs of despised love, the law’s
delay | quietus make / with a bare
(In the dead waste and middle of the night, when churchyards yawn)
Hamlet 1.2
(In customary suits of solemn black,)
Hamlet 1.2
(But that the undiscovered country from whose bourne no traveler returns,
(Breathes forth contagion on the world,)
Hamlet 1.2
And thus the native hue of resolution, like the poor cat i' the adage,
Is sicklied o'er with care,
And all the clouds that lowered o'er our housetops,
Richard III
With this regard their currents turn awry,
And lose the name of action.
'Tis a consummation devoutly to be wished. But soft you [now], the fair Ophelia:
Ope not thy ponderous and marble jaws,
Hamlet 1.4
*But get thee to a nunnery—go!*
Hamlet 3.1
Text Text Text Text Text [Text] (Text) *Text* -
Indicates a break for nonconsecutive lines
Lines from Hamlet’s soliloquy
Lines from Macbeth
Richard III
Hamlet 1.4
Individual words changed by Twain
Shakespeare’s actual words
Hamlet 1.2
Hamlet 3.1
Note: In ingeniously constructing this parody, Twain most likely was confused on one line. “But soft, the
fair Ophelia” was originally written “Soft you now, the fair Ophelia.” He probably had Romeo & Juliet in
mind when he was writing this. If that is the case, he has made a portmanteau on the sentence level by
combining both “But soft, what light through yonder window breaks” (R&J) and the line from Hamlet.