Instant Monologues
Gilbert Rosencrantz Guildenstern Ophelia Instant Monologue

by W.S. Gilbert

Ophelia is discussing Hamlet's physical and mental attributes with Rosencrantz and Guildenstern.


Sometimes he's tall sometimes he's very short-

Now with black hair now with a flaxen wig-

Sometimes an English accent then a French-

Then English with a strong provincial "burr."

Once an American, and once a Jew-

But Danish never, take him how you will!

And strange to say, whate'er his tongue may be,

Whether he's dark or flaxen-English-French-

Though we're in Denmark, A.D., ten-six-two-

He always dresses as King James the First! …


Opinion is divided. Some men hold

That he's the sanest, far, of all sane men-

Some that he's really sane, but shamming mad-

Some that he's really mad, but shamming sane-

Some that he will be mad, some that he was-

Some that he couldn't be. But on the whole

(As far as I can make out what they mean)

The favourite theory's somewhat like this:

Hamlet is idiotically sane

With lucid intervals of lunacy.

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