To Be, or Not to Be...

This recently discovered folio edition of "Hamlet" follows other known versions closely until Act V, Scene II, where it begins to diverge at line 232, as will be seen:
KING            ...`Now the king drinks to Hamlet.' Come, begin,
                And you the judges, bear a wary eye.

Trumpets sound.  HAMLET and LAERTES take their stations

HAMLET:         Come on, sir.
LAERTES:        Come, my lord.


DAPHNE:         Wait!
SHAGGY:         Stop the fight!

HAMLET and LAERTES put up their foils

KING:           I like this not.  Say wherefore you do speak?
FRED:           Good lord, I pray thee, let thy anger wait.
                For we, in seeking clues, have found the truth
                Behind the strange events of latter days.
VELMA:          The first clue came from Elsinore's high walls,
                Where, so said Hamlet, Hamlet's ghost did walk.
                Yet though the elder Hamlet met his death,
                And perforce hath been buried in the ground,
                'Tis yet true one would not expect a ghost
                To carry mud upon his spectral boots.
                Yet mud didst Shaggy and his faithful hound
                Espy, with footprints leading to a drop.
                This might, at first, indeed bespeak a ghost...
                Until, when I did seek for other answers,
                I found a great, wide cloth of deepest black
                Discarded in the moat of Elsinore.
                'Tis clear, the "ghost" used this to slow his fall
                While darkness rendered him invisible.
FRED:           The second clue we found, my lord, was this.
KING:           It seems to me a portrait of my brother
                In staine'd glass, that sunlight may shine through.
FRED:           But see, my lord, when placed before a lantern--
KING:           My brother's ghost!
HAMLET:         My father!
VELMA:          Nay, his image.
FRED:           In sooth, that image caught the Prince's eye
                When he went to confront his lady mother.
                Nor did his sword pierce poor Polonius.
                For Hamlet's blade did mark the castle wall
                Behind the rent made in the tapestry.
                Polonius was murdered by another.
                The knife which killed him entered from behind.
LAERTES:        But who?
FRED:           Indeed my lords, that you shall see.
HAMLET:         And if this ghost was naught but light and air,
                Then what of that which I did touch and speak to?

The GHOST enters.

GHOST:          Indeed, my son.
SHAGGY:         Zoinks!
DAPHNE:         Jenkies!
GHOST:          Mark them not.
                Thou hast neglected duty far too long.
                Shall this, my murderer, live on unharmed?
                Must I remain forever unavenged?

SCOOBY and SHAGGY run away from the GHOST.  SCOOBY, looking backward,
runs into a tapestry, tearing it down.  As a result, tapestries
around the walls collapse, one surrounding the GHOST.

GHOST:          What?
FRED:           Good Osric, pray restrain that "ghost",
                That we may reach the bottom of the matter.
                Now let us see who truly walked tonight.

FRED removes the helm and the disguise from the GHOST'S face.

ALL:            Tis Fortinbras!
FRED:           The valiant prince of Norway!
FORTINBRAS:     Indeed it is, and curses on you all!
                This Hamlet's father brought my own to death,
                And cost me all my rightful heritage.
                And so I killed this king, and hoped his son
                Would prove no obstacle to Norway's crown.
                Then Claudius bethought himself the killer
                (As if one might be poisoned through the ear!)
                The brother, not the son, took Denmark's throne,
                And held to Norway with a tighter grip.
                I swore an end to Denmark's royal house.
                I spoke to Hamlet of his uncle's crimes.
                Then killed Polonius to spark Laertes.
                This day, with poison's aid, all might have died,
                And Denmark might have come to me as well
                As my beloved Norway and revenge.
                My scheme blinded them all, as if by fog
                But for these medd'ling kids and this their dog.

KING:           The villain stands confessed.  Now let us go.
                For much remains to us to be discussed.
                And suitable reward must needs be found
                For these, our young detectives and their hound.


Contributed by: Carson Bloomberg

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