Where is the modern translation of act 1, scene 2 of Hamlet?

Expert Answers

An illustration of the letter 'A' in a speech bubbles

I feel for you.

When teaching Shakespeare to American, English-speaking, high school students, I never send them home to read on their own. They think reading Shakespeare is like trying to understand a foreign language, and, in many ways, it is. Not only is the language difficult, there is the poetry and the puns and the allusions and the deep ideas and the witticisms. etc., etc. There's just too much for the average young person, in high school or even college, to fully grasp. So we all read Shakespeare aloud in class, cover to cover, and we stop wherever necessary to clarify and/or illuminate.

If you are not in a situation where reading aloud in class is posssible, at least you've come to the right place. eNotes not only has full versions of Shakespeare, it also has modern English "teanslations" right along side. The link below is the part you are looking for... good luck:

Approved by eNotes Editorial Team
An illustration of the letter 'A' in a speech bubbles

On enotes there are several study aids for you. There is a summary/analysis of Act II of Hamlet that is available, as well as other summaries.  See the site below to access this.  But, as you say, there is no modern translation of p. 2 of the text on enotes.

In Act I, Scene 2, Hamlet is in a state of agitation; for, he is upset with his mother's hasty marriage to his uncle, Claudius.  After all, Hamlet still mourns his father, but his mother is already in love with another man?  He promises his mother that he will abandon his plans of returning to Wittenberg to resume his studies, but after everyone leaves, Hamlet laments his mother's actions.  In his first soliloquy, Hamlet expresses his despair,

How weary, stale, flat, and unprofitable

Seem to me all the uses of this world!

Fie on't, ah, fie, 'tis an unweeded garden

That grows to seed.  Things rank and gross in nature

Possess it merely. (I,ii, 133-137)

Hamlet here suggests the corruption that is in the court of Denmark.  But, his main target of contempt is his mother as he recalls that the queen acted as if she loved King Hamlet, but "within a month" is wedded to his brother:  "Fraility, thy name is woman," Hamlet declares.  Angered at the queen for her haste in remarrying, Hamlet also calls it incest since his mother has married the brother of her husband.

Then, Hamlet's friend Horatio enters, along with the guards Marellus and Bernardo.  Horatio has come from Wittenberg himself to attend the funeral of King Hamlet; however, he and the others tell Hamlet that they have seen the ghost of his father.  He tells Hamlet that he waited on the next night after Marcellus and Bernardo say that they have seen the king.  Horatio declares that King Hamlet's ghost did, indeed, appear on the third night; the ghost has the hands of the king:  "These hands are not more like" (I,ii,212).  Horatio tells Hamlet also that he spoke to the ghost, but there was no reply.  Hamlet, then, asks if the men are going to "hold the watch" again this night.  They reply that they will.  He asks Horatio how his father looked; Horatio replies that King Hamlet had a face that conveyed more "sorrow than in anger" (I,ii,230) and his eyes were fixed upon them.

To this, Hamlet comments that he wishes he had been there.  Horatio tells his friend that his father looked much as he did in life.  So, Hamlet decides that he will go to the watch tonight so he can possibly talk to the ghost; however, he cautions the men to be silent about his actions.  He promises to meet them at the watch between eleven and midnight.  And, after they leave, Hamlet comments to himself,

My father's spirit in arms? [upset]  All is not well.

I doubt some foul play... [he suspects that someone has done something to cause his father's death.]  Would the night would come! [he is anxious for night to fall as he is curious to learn something from his father]

...Foul deeds will rise,

Though all the earth o'erwhelm them, to men's eyes. [Hamlet is sure that the truth will come out about any foul acts against his father.] (I,ii,251-254)

Hopes this helps you!

Approved by eNotes Editorial Team