HAMLET: Greetings, Horatio. Something is rotten in the state of Denmark, or my name isn’t Macbeth!

HORATIO: Hamlet.


HORATIO: You’re Hamlet.

HAMLET: Rats! I always mess that up. Hamlet. Hamlet. What did I say?

HORATIO: You said Macbeth. “Or my name isn’t Macbeth.”

HAMLET: Well, it isn’t, is it?

HORATIO: Exactly. So you should be saying “or my name isn't Hamlet,” since your name isn’t Macbeth, it’s Hamlet.

HAMLET: Let me get this straight: Since my name is Hamlet, I’m supposed to say “my name isn’t Hamlet.”

HORATIO: Precisely.

HAMLET: And I don’t want to say “my name isn't Macbeth,” since in point of fact my name isn’t Macbeth.


HAMLET: Are you sure about that?

HORATIO: Positive.

HAMLET: I always get confused by this “or my name isn’t” stuff. Do I really have to say that?

SHAKESPEARE: All right, all right, I’ll take it out.

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Copyright © Jonathan Caws-Elwitt. This page revised February 13, 2009.