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04 January 2011 @ 01:46 am
Rationalist Hamlet  
Inspired by Harry Potter and the Methods of Rationality.  Written in one sitting; I may or may not revise and continue it.

Interloper, abandon this strange prank,
which makes cruel use of the blindness of my grief,
and the good heart of my good friend Horatio.
Or else, if thou hast true title to this belov'd form,
tell me:
What drawing did I present to Hamlet King,
when six years old and scarce out of my sling?

'twas a unicorn clad all in mail.


Mark me.

Father, I will.

My hour is almost come,
When I to sulphurous and tormenting flames
Must render up myself.

Thou art in torment?!

Ay, as are all who die unshriven.

Like every Dane this is what I've been taught.
Yet I did figure such caprice ill-suited to almighty God.
For all who suffer unlook'd for deaths, unattended by God's chosen priests,
to be then punish'd for the ill-ordering of the world...

'twas not the world that killed me, nor accident of any kind.


If thou didst ever thy dear father love,
Revenge his foul and most unnatural murder.

Oh God.

My time grows ever shorter. Wilt thou hear the tale?



My love for you does call me to avenge your death,
but greater crimes have I heard told this night.
If all those murdered go to Hell, and others as well,
who would have confess'd had they the time,
If people who are, in balance, good, suffer grisly
at the hands of God, then I defy God's plan.

Good Ghost, as one who dwells beyond the veil,
you know things that we mortals scarce conceive.
Tell me: is there some philter or device,
outside nature's ken but not outside her means,
by which death itself may be escap'd?

You seek to evade Hell?

I seek to deny Hell to everyone!
and Heaven too, for I suspect the Heaven of our mad God
might be a paltry thing, next to the Heaven I will make of Earth,
when I am its immortal king.

I care not for these things.
Death and hell have stripp'd away all of my desires,
save for revenge upon my murderer.

Thou shalt not be avenged, save that thou swear:
an I slay thine killer, so wilt thou vouchsafe to me the means
by which I might slay death.

He who killed you will join you in the Pit,
and then that's it. No further swelling of Hell's ranks will I permit.

Done. When my brother is slain, he who poured the poison in my ear,
then will I pour in yours the precious truth:
the making of the Philosopher's Stone. With this Stone, thou may'st procure
a philter to render any man immune to death, and more transmute
base metal to gold, to fund the provision of this philter to all mankind.

Truly there is nothing beyond the dreaming of philosophy.
The man whom I must kill--my uncle the king?!

Ay, that incestuous, that adulterate beast,
With witchcraft of his wit, with traitorous gifts--

Indeed, he has such gifts I near despair,
of killing him and yet succeeding to his throne.
'twill be an awesome fight for awesome stakes.
Hast thou advice?

A cock crows. Exit Ghost.
(Anonymous) on January 5th, 2011 01:36 am (UTC)
"evade" hell is un-Shakespearean. "outskirt", perhaps? Not perfect, but it scans a bit better. Also, allows Hamlet to reply "I seek to outwit Hades, an empty fire leave/ as in our very sun gives warmth to all and scalds no man/ or woman. And Heaven too..." or something along those lines.

And "Truly there is nothing beyond the dreaming of philosophy" is big win - worth making it scan better.

"In all truth, there is nothing beyond what is dreamt by philosophy."... nah. Yours is better.
(Anonymous) on January 5th, 2011 11:44 am (UTC)
I beg you for the right to post this in Omake Files #3. -- Eliezer Yudkowsky
histocrathistocrat on January 5th, 2011 11:56 am (UTC)
I'd be honored!