Books·Shakespeare Selfie

A Poison'd Rub by Arthur Taylor

In the voice of Hamlet from Hamlet, Arthur Taylor writes about the poisoning of a former Russian spy.

2018 finalist: Grades 7 to 9 category

Arthur Taylor is a 12-year-old student from Nanaimo, B.C. (Submitted by Arthur Taylor)

Arthur Taylor is a finalist of the 2018 Shakespeare Selfie Student Writing Challenge. This annual writing competition challenges students to write a soliloquy or monologue in the voice of a Shakespearean character based on a prominent news, pop culture or current affairs event from the last year (April 2017 to April 2018).

Taylor, who attends Rutherford Elementary School in Nanaimo, B.C., wrote about the recent poisoning of a former Russian spy from the perspective of Hamlet's Hamlet.


To see, or not to see, the destruction thus caused, 
By corruption and killings and horrible laws. 
'Tis when a gent, at home, touches his door, 
Or simply drinks tea, and cannot drink anymore. 
Whether or not 'tis better for assassins to succeed, 
Or for all dictatorships to immediately cease. 
To give up power, let it passeth thee by, 
Or to take arms against an army of peering eyes, 
And taketh them away whilst stating lies. 
Doth the good people awaken? 
Perhaps, although our land is shaken. 
Aye, the faire world in which thine lives hath seen, 
Another poison'd rub where a gentleman hath been. 
The spies are what the law must not scorn, 
To understandeth the true Russian bourne. 
We may triumph o'er waves of foes, 
Or else sink under a number of throes. 
Yet to die is the Skripals, 
But the rest of the world waits for the Russian sickle. 
They doth sleep, dreaming, yet to die, 
And death is to catch much sleep way up high. 
They didst recover from their most grievous plight, 
And may or may not survive the dark night. 
For in the shadows, Putin passeth his time away, 
To joust with the Brits as they gently lay. 
And shout, "Off with his head!" on a battlefield of strife, 
And put up the Curtain, to win in this life. 
Though dreams may turn to deaths, diplomats to wars, 
We must taketh charge so that the curtain doth not close forevermore.

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