From the Play
CLAUDIUS: My dear, at any time your Hamlet will be here with us.
GERTRUDE (Worried): I am surprised it took him so long to return to us.
CLAUDIUS: Well, Gertrude, Wittenberg is far away, and he was so close to finishing his studies he must have decided to stay and complete them. After all, what good for him if he came home prematurely?
GERTRUDE: He might have wanted to comfort his mother in her grief!
CLAUDIUS: Perhaps he felt I could do that.
GERTRUDE: Oh, I’m sorry, my dear. Of course you can. I fear you think I baby Hamlet. Admit it.
CLAUDIUS: All right, I admit it.
GERTRUDE (Shocked): You really do!
CLAUDIUS: Gertrude, you must face the fact. Hamlet is a child no longer. And now that his father is dead, he must become a man—
GERTRUDE (Cutting him off, strained): Yes, and when he comes home that will happen… My Love…
CLAUDIUS (Mildly disturbed): I only hope all goes well.
GERTRUDE: But why should it not?
CLAUDIUS: My dear, you must admit that Hamlet was very close to his father.
GERTRUDE: Oh, I certainly do admit it. After all, his father spoiled him almost to rottenness! He indulged his each and every whim. He gave him all he asked for and prepared Hamlet for kingship in his own image. That is, teaching him to drink like a fish, to chase loose women and to treat all others as if they were his footstools.
CLAUDIUS (Uneasily): And I fear Hamlet adored him for it.
GERTRUDE: But he will soon be home, and his brute of a father is dead. So finally I can tell him the truth about… that man.
CLAUDIUS: Are you certain that be wise? The truth is often hard to hear. That is why ‘tis ‘bitter.
GERTRUDE: I am certain!
CLAUDIUS (Slightly pontifical): But remember this, my dear, as grows the tree, so grows the limb, and as Aristotle tells us ‘The apple falleth not far from the tree.’
GERTRUDE: Oh, piffle! Hamlet must hear the truth!
CLAUDIUS: But will he believe you?
GERTRUDE: I’m his mother!
CLAUDIUS: ’Tis true, a man’s mother is his mother, while his father is a matter of opinion—
GERTRUDE: What! Claudius!
CLAUDIUS: I only hope Hamlet doesn’t resent me.
GERRRUDE: Resent you! But he has always liked you.
CLAUDIUS: Yes, but as an uncle, not as a stepfather.
GERTRUDE: But Hamlet is kind and he is gentle. He will certainly recognize the truth when he hears it.
CLAUDIUS: Perhaps… But be gentle with him, my dear. Remember that Hamlet has suffered a great blow. The sudden death of a father is like a sudden storm upon on a calm sea—
GERTRUDE: Yes, yes… of course I’ll be gentle. Oh, Claudius, darling, you are so kind, so good… (She suddenly embraces him, as…)
(HAMLET then enters. He smirks knowingly, seeing them embrace)