How is't, my noble lord?
What news, my lord?
Good my lord, tell it.
No; you'll reveal it.
Not I, my lord, by heaven.
Nor I, my lord.
How say you, then; would heart of man once think it?
But you'll be secret?
Ay, by heaven, my lord.
There's ne'er a villain dwelling in all Denmark
But he's an arrant knave.
There needs no ghost, my lord, come from the grave
To tell us this.
Why, right; you are i' the right;
And so, without more circumstance at all,
I hold it fit that we shake hands and part:
You, as your business and desire shall point you;
For every man has business and desire,
Such as it is; and for mine own poor part,
Look you, I'll go pray.
These are but wild and whirling words, my lord.
I'm sorry they offend you, heartily;
Yes, 'faith heartily.
There's no offence, my lord.
Yes, by Saint Patrick, but there is, Horatio,
And much offence too. Touching this vision here,
It is an honest ghost, that let me tell you:
For your desire to know what is between us,
O'ermaster 't as you may. And now, good friends,
As you are friends, scholars and soldiers,
Give me one poor request.
What is't, my lord? we will.
Never make known what you have seen to-night.
According to the Catholic Church, Purgatory is an intermediate state after death, between Heaven and Hell. Merriam Webster defines it rather neatly as a place "for expiatory purification; specifically : a place or state of punishment wherein according to Roman Catholic doctrine the souls of those who die in God's grace may make satisfaction for past sins and so become fit for heaven". It is very significant to Shakespeare's construction of Hamlet's theology (or, indeed, 'philosophy'.) The greatest poet to deal with Purgatory was Dante, in The Divine Comedy - although it appears very likely that Shakespeare never read Dante. (The Italian poet was not translated into English until the 18th Century). Dante conceptualised Purgatory as existing somewhere in the southern hemisphere. Rather closer to home for Shakespeare, there was reputedly an entrance to Purgatory on Station Island in Lough Derg, in the north west of Ireland. Pilgrims have been visiting this place for almost 1500 years.