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Friday, April 1st, 2005

Time:9:01 am.
Mood: giggly.
This morning, upon waking, I was greeted by the almost surreal vision of the faces of Rosencrantz and Guildenstern, looming just above my head. I had been woken by them discussing whether or not they should wake me, a discussion which was beginning to include factors such as the weather and the slope of the bed.

The morning was spent playing games of probability and idle, friendly tangents of speech that were a great distraction and relief to me, especially when absorbing myself into their style of conversation. I found myself quite adept at heatedly arguing semantics with Guildenstern, and progressing into the realm of absurdity with Rosencrantz over the topic of death. It is quite easy to keep up a facade of madness in a discussion with them; why, they lend themselves to an atmosphere of oddity as it stands. After a few hours, the poor men had me in tears of helpless laughter, which they seemed quite puzzled by.

They also taught me an interesting game of questions which I must play with Horatio, and betimes use to puzzle Polonius and mine Uncle. How amusing it will be to lapse into the game during a conversation, and refuse to speak sense unless it is done in questions. Polonius will be particularly susceptible; he has fallen for such tricks before.
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Thursday, March 31st, 2005

Time:11:38 pm.
Mood: awake.
Horatio and I were sitting up last night, in the castle battlements; the air had the same frozen bite of the night we saw my father.

I am rarely cold - well, 'tis foregone, as I am a prince. As a child, they feared sickness in me when the years stretched thin after my solitary birth. I remember being bundled up with such severe affection in winter that my breath against the cloth rebounded. 'Twas as if I had broken every bone in my soft body, though mother says I was all hard elbows and stiffness from four onwards. Perhaps this bundling and protection worked on my bones too well. I am often called wiry now.

Only in the happy instance of my father's grasp (here my father again, I cannot cease the thought of him)was I supple. He rarely reached for me, though I did constantly for him - I used to think romantically that I could not be seen from the adult's heaven above their waists. I pretended, sometime against the castle stone, and peering through bar-like legs milling, that I was captured in a dungeon. And my father, though his legs made up my prison, was above, negotiating my release. Wherefore? There was rarely reason for my acts and one-boy scenes, though I do think the most sombre of my games derived from loneliness.

I remember the games were better when I was slow to understand the conversations as they progressed. A steady rumble from above was all I needed to create in my mind more fanciful dialogue. When I tired of this, and came to the point of my rescue, I whined for him to pick me up and perfect the ending. But though father perhaps indulged me when I was young, as I grew older - perhaps around ten - he became distontented and insisted I spent my time less wastefully. But, as I was a child, I stubbornly tried to resist more serious pursuits. I remember father often becoming annoyed when uncle or mother tried to play with me, especially uncle, who, he said, should be setting a more fitting example. But uncle loved games, and often could even be seen rolling about on the floor with me in some flap, unmindful of all eyes. Even now, he speaks to me like a child, yet more disrespect to my father and his intents.

But not, of course, when the court is watching. He has a precarious position to maintain, and may only mildly condescend to me, as I am near twenty now, an adult. "Unmanly grief", of course, was tailored to mirror father, which he would at all other times balk at. He found father to be a stuffed dullard, and in particular abhorred what he saw as neglect of mother. Which is ridiculous; father loved mother, but simply did not see fit to fawn about her in the midst of the court. 'Tis when this is not done that my uncle feels she is neglected; he must think her a lustful creature! Though, since they have married, so have I come to think the same.

"Unmanly grief"...as though the right is his to call me childish; he should observe himself amongst his family and close friends! Such frolic, and frivolity, and rambling discourse with himself in moments of quiet I have never seen, though these are named traits of mine. By others. I do not think it so; I follow my father's example, not mine uncle's.

I lose all record of events in such tangents and memories. Here it is in short, lest I break halfway again: Horatio and I sat yesternight on the battlements, and watched for father, but he did not come. I should hardly fain hope of it, and yet I did - and clutched all of me in fervour until dawn. Ay, til the very moment of it, as even as I felt light coming I hoped for him. Father knew, perhaps, of my procrastination, and that he would worsen it. But father - as I feel you might see these pages also - your face is a vast realm of comfort to me; I will be up tonight, please come.

Little Hamlet crying out again for his father. I am nineteen now; if he would not come when I was a hapless child of ten, wherefore now would he appear? Yet I feel now more alone, more in need of him, than ever I did as a boy. Even within the rank despair of my dungeon, where father would now be below rather than above.

I have Horatio yet, and some small corner of Mother, I hope, retains sense and memory. Perhaps I should ask her accompany me tonight, if only for a time. What changes could be wrought from her conscience, if only Father was here to kindle them.
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Monday, March 28th, 2005

Time:11:24 am.
Mood: curious.
Rosencrantz and Guildenstern are here. They have been about the castle for a day and a night wondering what on earth they're supposed to be doing, which is so suited to them that I find myself affectionate and protective. Even though I fear they have been sent for for some purpose, which I have yet to divulge. I have had some small contact with Guildenstern, and hope to meet them soon.

Ophelia is quiet after my last letter. I wonder about her. Have I scared her well into retreat? I hope not - and yet - I feel she will distract me from more pressing tasks.
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Saturday, March 26th, 2005

Time:10:52 am.
Mood: frustrated.
Ophelia's letters import only an ill change in her, most likely wrought from well-intentioned advice from her brother and Polonius. Polonius I might understand in this matter; his tongue finds a path and prattles cheerily down it til the world's end. In this case, he believes himself self-righteous in the case of his daughter by making her wary of my future as a prince and the typically lusty ways of a young man. Both are the aspects of my person that I instinctively shy from, and she, having been in the past close to me, knows this!

But of course Polonius is, most likely, hoping that Ophelia does not fully heed him. He wishes to be both the good father and the sire of a queen. Well, well - he has likely banked both chances of these through his tongue alone.

I do not understand Laertes' part in this. We have ever been rivals, but in a near-brotherly way. He insisted on a long letter of permission to me when he first became aware of my closeness to Ophelia. It was stiff and uncomfortable, but favoured me as a suitor to her (I think only a prince would ever please the adoring brother Laertes), even as it warned me that should I ever harm her, I would smart for it. And now, does he ply her from me? I would call him turncoat, but that respect of him doth stop my mouth.
Though Laertes has some measure of sense, he is influenced ever by his father, for reasons traditional. For if Polonius was not Laertes' father, Laertes' good, blunt honesty would knock the prattler about his blustering muzzle.

Ophelia lightly veils her father's plain influence on her with seeming innocency and light-hearted love. But her reasons, in the main to do with propriety and fear of my state, I know well would not bother one of her like. One who yet cannot, and I admire her for't, see reason in the useless fashions and rules of proper society, and is curious enough to set them aside in favour of acting through uncontrived emotion and tender, unschooled thought and notion. These things I love in her she is attempting to remedy, having orders to check them.

How her father galls me, and how his apparently noble attentions run so ill in her. He is stopping up with loamy words his daughter's love and prospects, and sapping the very appealing qualities I so loved in her. And all in foolish ignorance of simplicity. Simplicity makes Polonius nervous; he is always sure there is some ridiculous new dimension to every situation, some needless detour or complication. There is none in this; I love his daughter, and I fain to think she feels the same for me. 'Tis merely unfortunate I must lose my wit for a time, and incidental that he feels it is over her. And yet I cannot suddenly lapse back into seeming sanity for the convenience of berating him. I can only do it through wordplay, through roundabout hints, that he will mistake and understand only crudely. Perhaps he will even take it as signs that his ideas about me are correct.

Now that it is set in his mind, I doubt he will ever believe my madness is for any reason otherwise.

I must go to Horatio; how thankful I am that there is someone I can speak plainly to. And I must arrange for quarters for him that are closer to mine. The bane and boon of Elsinore is that it is so large.
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Wednesday, March 23rd, 2005

Time:9:53 am.
Mood: confused.
Mine uncle becomes ever more unbearably smug with each day passing. His constant pawing of mother, in public, even in court, is sickening. And what is worse is that she enjoys it, and they both expect me to support this daily display of lust. 'Tis odd that I never noticed it before my father died; of course they would have been more discreet then, but the fervour of their desires now suggests otherwise. I know not the degree of the court's disapproval. Polonius, of course, will be using his usual politic shrewdness in ensuring that it is accepted. By this, I mean that he will gossip favourably about it to the courtiers.

Even if the court did disapprove, it would affect me little. The image of a king-crowned self does not entice me; only thoughts of vengeance. If there is an uprising against my uncle, it will only stand to rob me of my right as a son to carry out the wishes of his father. So, ironically, I do not wish for it.
But what of my purpose now? It falls to me to set down the time, place, and means of death. I paced about my room and thought of it tonight; I even wrote down possibilites, but thinking of Claudius choking on the dregs of his own life held only bitter pleasure. No, no pleasure. He is my beloved uncle, that for years, I loved as a dear elder friend.

Perhaps I will make his death swift, perhaps I will make it painless - as long as it is planned and made. I must do it. His offence outweighs my waning love for him. And mother - I must eventually let mother know of his murderous nature. But what of that? If she is not cowed by traits of incest and adulterousness, surely she will not balk at murder. Time well tell if she is corrupted beyond repair.

But enough of this; I have thought of it too much already, spoke it to my walls, even. Heard it from my father's mouth. I must not think on't again until I am ready to act. My father's ghost -

I cannot be hasty in this. As the days go by, steady rumours of my distemper find way into the more free of the mouths in the court. This will serve me for some purpose; though I do find that now I begin to alienate those that were once my close friends. All but Horatio, whom I speak to freely; I am glad of his company, though I hope dearly that his studies are not neglected in Wittenburg while he attends to me here. He insists that he has time for the visit, but a natural blush, the habitual sign of a white lie in him, tells me the opposite. Horatio rarely lies, and is clearly uncomfortable doing so, even when his intentions are fair. Honest men are often crushed between two good purposes, and it is the bane of their lives that they must discard one and choose the other due only to their own guilty desires. I am flattered that Horatio saw me the more important; I always felt his studies made up a goodly part of him. Though I will insist on him returning when he begins to become upset (I'm sure I'll be able to tell when his duties in Wittenburg are pressing), as I do not want him to be reprimanded there. He does not have the money to return if he loses his scholarship, and will not use a letter from my mother or I as a pass inside. Nor money from the royal coffers.

But thinking of Horatio has distracted me, as it always does. The court is beginning to become wary of my odd bearing; the word 'mad' has not reached my ears, but I am sure it will eventually. Especially after I went to Ophelia yesterday in her chamber; I think I frightened her with my appearance. She has been avoiding me, ignoring my letters and passing me quietly in the corridors. I had carefully prepared myself, scrambling my garments and staging my actions, and was genuinely curious about her reaction - she was afeared of me. I do not know what I had expected from her, but something about it is troubling. Perhaps I wanted sympathy of some kind, for her to comfort and love me as in the hours we spent. My appearance was, however, not entirely honest in bearing, so how could I expect her to know what I wanted? But even so, I have been confused of late, and she might have seen the troubled underlay to my madness before taking heed of propriety...but I meant to frighten her! 'Twas planned; what do I speak of? I expect too much of her. Her love appears to turn from me, and of course...it is free to do so. I must put sweet Ophelia from my mind for a time; my mother and uncle are more at hand. And Father.

...

I must write to Ophelia, and yet, I cannot be entirely earnest now that I have begun to appear mad. Though I might conceal some word of comfort in the paper beneath my fevered rambles; she is surely perceptive enough to see it. I have seen such a quality in her before. 'Tis in my mother too. Or was; her mind is clouded now with my uncle's wasting.

And still I write idly of Ophelia; she distracts me from father's words. I'll to bed; perhaps tomorrow I will wake with more purpose.
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