EPISODE 52 - YOU ARE A FISHMONGER

TEXT:

CLAUDIUS
                How may we try it further?


POLONIUS
You know, sometimes he walks four hours together
Here in the lobby.

GERTRUDE
                
     So he does indeed.

POLONIUS
At such a time I'll loose my daughter to him:
Be you and I behind an arras then;
Mark the encounter: if he love her not
And be not from his reason fall'n thereon,
Let me be no assistant for a state,
But keep a farm and carters.

CLAUDIUS
                                            
We will try it.

GERTRUDE
But, look, where sadly the poor wretch comes reading.

POLONIUS
Away, I do beseech you, both away.
I'll board him presently.

Exeunt CLAUDIUS, GERTRUDE, and Attendants
Enter HAMLET, reading

O, give me leave.
How does my good Lord Hamlet?

HAMLET
Well, God-a-mercy.

POLONIUS
Do you know me, my lord?

HAMLET
Excellent well - you are a fishmonger.

POLONIUS
Not I, my lord.

HAMLET
Then I would you were so honest a man.

POLONIUS
Honest, my lord!

HAMLET
Ay, sir - to be honest, as this world goes, is to be
one man picked out of ten thousand.


NOTES

LOBBY

From the Latin word lobium (plural lobia), meaning a covered walkway or portico. A Roman home was often built around a garden with a pool for rainwater - this kind of entrance to a home or building grew over time (via cloisters in religious convents and monasteries) and the place filled with lobia came to be known as the lobby. Hamlet is the only play that refers to such an architectural feature. The word lobby in its other meaning appears only in Henry VI.2 and in Timon of Athens

ARRAS
Arras is a town in northern France famous for its tapestries. Its reputation for fine such artworks dates back at least to the 14th century, and indeed the reputation grew so great that the name of the town became synonymous with beautiful hanging tapestries. The image below is of Henry VIII in court - the hanging tapestry behind the throne is spectacular, and the curtains around it give a small sense of the distance between the tapestry and the wall behind - just enough room, perhaps, for someone to hide and eavesdrop...

 

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