莎士比亚在英王詹姆士一世的王宫里，正与国王和王后共进晚餐。莎士比亚正在给他们讲述戏剧《哈姆雷特》的故事。该剧的主角哈姆雷特为了唤醒他的母亲，对她说，叔父和她的婚姻是个罪孽，但是只要她离开叔父，就可以赎罪。在形容自己残酷的言语时，哈姆雷特用到了一个表达 I must be cruel, only to be kind，也就是说，为了母亲的好，他必须要变得残忍无情。现代英语中的这个表达更简洁，来看动画学习它的新用法。
Mr Shakespeare, have some more wine. What's this? Water? Where's my wine?!
Now dear, you know you mustn't drink too much wine. The doctor says it's bad for your health!
No wine?! Madam, you are very cruel to me. Don't you agree, Mr Shakespeare?
Your Majesty, the Queen is being cruel, only to be kind, like my character Hamlet, the Prince of Denmark.
Does Hamlet take away the King's wine?
No, no, your Majesty: Hamlet says cruel and terrible things to his mother, the Queen. He's angry because she married his uncle Claudius, very soon after his father's death. Hamlet suspects that his mother, or his uncle, or both of them, killed his father, so that they could marry each other.
Well! No wonder he's saying cruel things. But how is he going to be kind, I wonder? Go on, go on…
Your Majesty. Hamlet tells his mother that he said these cruel and terrible things to shock her into realising that this marriage is wrong – it's a sin. But he says she can begin to make up for the sin and be a better person if she leaves her new husband. That's why he says 'I must be cruel, only to be kind'.
Robert Harley as Hamlet
So, again, good night.
I must be cruel, only to be kind:
Thus bad begins and worse remains behind.
One word more, good lady.
We'll leave them there for now. Shakespeare's audiences loved the violence and powerful emotions in his revenge tragedies. But Hamlet is not your typical revenge character. He's a thinker who becomes a man of action. In modern English, Shakespeare's phrase is usually shortened to I must be cruel to be kind. Or just cruel to be kind. People say it when they do something unkind that will actually benefit someone. It's the title of a song in the American movie 10 Things I Hate About You.
Cruel to be kind, it's a very good sign
Cruel to be kind, means that I love you, baby…
I know I upset her when I told her to get a haircut, but it was such a mess: I had to be cruel to be kind.
Tell me Mr Shakespeare, does the Queen follow Hamlet's advice?
I'm afraid not, your Majesty.
She should have listened to him.
Quite right, quite right.
And you should listen to me dear. No more wine!
King James I
Hmmm. To listen or not to listen, that is the question.