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Five Fast-Penta Interrogations from the Works of William Shakespeare

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From King Lear, Act I:

LEAR:  Insult me as thou mayst with hedging words,
Thou canst not now refuse me answer true—
Nor answer me a simple question thus
With, ‘I would rather not.’ The physic works;
I dare thee to defy me now.

CORDELIA:  I cannot.

LEAR:  Then tell me as your sisters did undrugg’d:
How dost thou love me?

CORDELIA:  As one loves an ass:
With rue and great affection for the same.

LEAR:  Let her be exiled!  Hence, and avoid my sight!


From Much Ado About Nothing, Act IV:

Enter DOGBERRY, VERGES, and SEACOAL, with BORACHIO and CONRADE under guard, and SEXTON.

SEXTON:  Master Dogberry, I have sent for the deputy apothecary.  Who is to be questioned?

DOGBERRY:  Why, these varlets here.

CONRADE:  Nay, we are—

DOGBERRY:  Hold your peace!  We shall sort you presently.  Where is the deputy?

Enter DEPUTY APOTHECARY with interrogation kit.

DOGBERRY:  Deputy!  Distrain these miscreants.

SEXTON:  Why, what do they owe?

DOGBERRY:  Owe?  Treachery and knavery, sir, is what they owe.  Give me the hypospray, I shall demarcate it.

DEPUTY:  Away!  I do not trust thee to administer the physic.  By heaven, thou’rt as like to shoot thyself with it as not.

SEXTON [Aside]:  And could any man tell the difference? —Come, deputy, prepare these men for questioning.

DOGBERRY:  Yea, let them be opinioned.

The DEPUTY administers the drug to CONRADE.  CONRADE slumps and grins.

SEXTON:  What is your name?

CONRADE:  I am a gentleman, and my name is Conrade.

DOGBERRY:  The physic is not yet of full effect.  He is no gentleman, he is a gentle varlet.

SEXTON:  Soft, Dogberry!  You hinder my questions.  Conrade: you are accused of traducing the Lady Hero.  Who asked you to carry this tale to young Claudio?

DOGBERRY:  Ask him if he is a varlet, and see if he lieth.  Miscreant, are you a varlet?

CONRADE:  Away!  You are an ass, you are an ass.

DOGBERRY:  O, that it be writ down that I am an ass!


From Measure for Measure, Act IV:

Country house.  ANGELO is waiting on a bed, in a state of half-undress.  Enter MARIANA, veiled, with a light.

ANGELO:  Ah, fair Isabel.  Come, let me see thee uncovered.

MARIANA:  By and by.  First, you must be shriven.

ANGELO:  A curious order, to shrive first and swive later.  But I am in your hands.

MARIANA:  I am delighted to hear it.

She binds him to the bed.

ANGELO:  O, you show me an unknown face ere you ever unveil yourself.  I fear you, yet the fires in my veins leap higher still.

Enter the DUKE, cowled, with a hypospray.

MARIANA:  Here is he who will shrive you.

DUKE:  Do me the honor of administering the physic.

He gives the hypospray to her.

ANGELO:  What trickery is this?  I am betrayed!

As MARIANA presses the hypospray to his arm, the DUKE throws back his cowl.  ANGELO stares at him, then at MARIANA, who has put aside her veil.

DUKE:  Let fires of lust soever smutch and burn,
Betrayed is the betrayer in his turn.


From Othello, Act II:

OTHELLO:  And did you make a cuckold of me?


OTHELLO:  You have not lain with any other man?

DESDEMONA:  Ha ha ha, no, you jealous oaf!



From Hamlet, Epilogue:

FORTINBRAS:  But why did it happen thus, noble Horatio, that Prince Hamlet did not challenge the king to answer under physic?

HORATIO:  My dear prince, he could not get near the king with a hypospray, so he appeared himself thus dosed to the court.  He could answer no questions but those of a fool –

FORTINBRAS:  Asked by a fool, or answered so?


FORTINBRAS:  I see.  But he unfolded himself to you?

HORATIO:  He could not, watched every moment as he was, and he feared that I should be interrogated myself.  But before the end he told me…he told me all.  Oh, all.  A heavy brief.

FORTINBRAS:  I am well-answered, I think.  Soldier, give him the antagonist.

HORATIO:  No, no.  Let me be absent from my pain a little longer.