One Night with the King (2006)
Hagai: [leading Esther to Xerxes chambers] You can let go of my arm now. He will be the fortunate one to choose you... He will be the one who congratulations are due...
[she still won't let go]
Hagai: Esther, my arm.
Queen Esther: [in Xerxes's chambers, walking towards the stool]
King Xerxes: [standing in the shadows] The scroll is on the stool. You may begin when ever you are ready.
Queen Esther: [glances at the stool and back towards Xerxes]
King Xerxes: [pacing around] Is there a problem?... Did they not tell you I weary at this procession of candidates? I simply wanted someone to...
[stops and looks at Esther]
King Xerxes: Wait. You were the one who read to me before. You tried to beguile me with love stories. Did you not think I had the sense to see through your little parable? The arrogance, you speak to me as I were this Rachel, in need of help to look after my father's sheep!
Queen Esther: My lord, I meant no disrespect.
King Xerxes: [walking towards her] And this is how you come to see me? Your only adornment before your one night with the king.
Queen Esther: It is, your majesty.
King Xerxes: You consider yourself of so little worth, that I could purchase your love so cheaply.
Queen Esther: I was taught... that when you visit a King, rather than expect a gift, one should bring one to lay at his feet.
[removes her necklace and offers it to him]
Queen Esther: This is my most valuable possession in the world. It is my past, my present, and my future. And all of it is yours.
King Xerxes: [takes her necklace and turns away] Some would call you foolish, indeed. As they would call your Jacob. Of all commodities, love is the easiest... and the most cheaply purchased.
Queen Esther: [considerate] If it is for sale, my lord. It is not love.
King Xerxes: Even you...
King Xerxes: Even you must have a price.
Queen Esther: I am neither a buyer nor a seller of love.
King Xerxes: [earnestly] Suppose, my lady. A man offered you a more treasured gift. Say a kingdom.
Queen Esther: [near tears] The only gift I would accept is your heart.
King Xerxes: [taking her hands] Than it is yours. And you didn't have to serve 7 years to get it. Tell me, Esther of Susa. Who are you really? Tell me of your people. Teach me of your ways.
Queen Esther: My father told me it takes the glory of God to conceal a matter. And it takes the honor of Kings to search it out.
King Xerxes: Than marry me and we shall spend an eternity discovering this 'truth'... together.
King Xerxes: Of all commodities love is the most cheaply purchased
Queen Esther: If it is for sale, my lord, it is not love.
King Xerxes: Suppose, my lady. A man offered you a kingdom.
Queen Esther: [almost in tears] The only gift I would accept... is your heart.
King Xerxes: [impassioned, kissing Esther deeply] Know you how many times I tried to come for you after that first night... How many evenings I spent counting the stars to keep my mind off you... How many excuses I created just to avoid the other candidates
[kissing her wholly]
Queen Esther: Please God. Look upon us with favor and turn this dungeon into someplace wonderful.
Queen Candidate: Is this the dungeon or someplace wonderful...
Queen Esther: [surprised by Hagai] You have a very bad habit.
Hagai: The palace is no place for children.
Queen Esther: You think of me as a child? Well, you are wrong. I am much younger than that!
[lauging and dancing around]
Hagai: How do they call you?
Queen Esther: [stopping] Esther.
Hagai: Curious name. From where you come?
Queen Esther: [dancing around] I'm of the wind, whose sound is heard. Yet none know from whence it comes or where it goes.
Hagai: Well, we gather with in the hour. Try not to blow away before then.
[leaves Esther laughing and dancing]
Hagai: You read not for the candidates this evening?
Queen Esther: [sadly] My throat is soar.
Hagai: Your throat or your heart? It has only been a few days since your read for him.
Queen Esther: [walking] A few days is a thousand years. If Xerxes had found pleasure in me, surely he would have...
Hagai: You think a eunuch can know love? That before I was a cripple of a man, there was one that held my heart.
Queen Esther: What became of her?
Hagai: I know not. I never found the courage to return to face her again.
Prince Memucan: [playing an ancient, lifesize version of chess] Now let me see... you over there.
Queen Esther: Why can not a truce be arranged?
King Xerxes: Truce? That devil, Memucan has beat me twice in a row.
Queen Esther: I fear losing you.
King Xerxes: I gave an oath
[rising to feet, with Esther]
King Xerxes: to my father.
Queen Esther: He's the one I fear losing you to. You must dream You'll be gone much in the coming months.
King Xerxes: Keep this for me.
[giving her the necklace]
Queen Esther: But it is yours.
King Xerxes: Than be at peace. I always return for what is mine.
[before kissing her]
Prince Memucan: Will thoust sit there all day, my lord!
[gesturing for him to play]
Queen Esther: What made you come back?
King Xerxes: I saw them, I saw the stars.
Mordecai: God, every day I pray for you to give me the paitence of Job, the wisdom of Soloman. And what do you give me? You give me the endless equivocations... of a beautiful, young woman!
Mordecai: Why would they buy belladonna from you?
Jewish apothecary merchant: May they seek poison someone. Very deadly. Very quick.
Mordecai: You sold them poison? A Jew sells poison to the king's fruit tasters?
[grabbing the merchants face and shaking him]
Mordecai: Have you any idea for whom it might have been intended?
King Xerxes: Tell me of your people, teach me of your ways
Queen Esther: My father told me, It takes the glory of God to conceal the matter and the honor of kings to search it out.
Hagai: [listening to Esther and others read an Old Babylonian heroic poem from behind a pilar] Gilgamesh. In the original. I read translation, never the original.
Queen Esther: [now beside him, smiling] You read?
Hagai: [to Esther as she is feeding the monkeys] I am curious, to whether you frustrate me of sincerity or to ensure you're never chosen Queen.
Queen Esther: [getting to her feet, turning around] You assume I actually care about being chosen Queen.
Hagai: I am serious!
Queen Esther: Serious of what? Finding a real Queen? Is that why you subject us to these beauty treatments? These... classes?
Hagai: You do not like our fine instructors?
Queen Esther: They simply neglect to teach us some things.
Hagai: Such as?
Queen Esther: Well seemingly anything to do with actually being Queen. The thought well thought; the word well spoken; and the deed well done. As it is said in the great books.
Hagai: [very amused] You read?
Queen Esther: Many times.
Hagai: [turns away and starts laughing]
Queen Esther: [going after him] Before I received your 'invitation', I was reading of Gilgamesh and the Babylonian!
Mordecai: A drunken brawl is no place for a young lady of purity.
Rebekah: Then why's a good Jew like you goin'?
Mordecai: All the scribes have to go. There is war in the air!
Hagai: Where are you from?
Queen Esther: I am... of the wind. Whose sound is heard yet none can tell from whence it comes or where it goes.
Hagai: Well, we gather in an hour. Try not to blow away before then.
King Xerxes: [Xerxes is returning from the training camp, having been gone for quite some time] Have you had a busy morning?
Queen Esther: Not as busy as it could get.
Queen Esther: You see me as a child? Well, you are mistaken, I am much younger!
King Xerxes: Then marry me... And we shall spend an eternity discovering this truth... together.
Queen Esther: Will you not join me in the palace? I could have you be named in any post you desire...
Mordecai: My Lord will take care of me... Do you take care... of your Lord ?
Queen Esther: Let my life be given me, at my petition and my people at my request
King Xerxes: You demand me your life, and that of your people? My dear girl,I know not of your people, you have yet to tell me who they are.
Queen Esther: Have we been nearly sold as slaves? I would have held my tounge, This... This Haman wanted our blood, my blood, the blood of Jacob, your Jacob. Your Jacob was given a new name, Israel. As do was I.
King Xerxes: You... Esther, a Jew?
Queen Esther: Not Esther, my lord, Hadassah Batabihan ,Daughter of the tribe of Benjamen, Child of the most high God.
Haman, the Amelekite: Never have I heard I heard a more pathetic story in my entire life.
Queen Esther: Perhaps, instead of asking questions of our trials, our trials are ment to ask questions of ourselves.
Father of Esther: [in Esther's memories] Happy birthday, Hadassah!
Young Esther: [looking at her gift] A stone ball?
Father of Esther: [laughing] Remember it is the glory of God to conceal a matter, but the honor of kings to seek it out.
Mother Of Esther: [as Hadassah open the stone ball and sees the necklace] It's from the promise land. Your great grandmother brought it with her.
Father of Esther: And like you, it's true treasure is etched with in.
[holding the necklace to the candle as the stars appear]
Hagai: [in Xerxers' chambers] Queen Vashti, your majesty.
[steps aside, revealing the beautiful Queen]
King Xerxes: Enter.
[gathers his shirt and goes to her, kissing her hand]
King Xerxes: The night's festivities hold not your interests?
Queen Vashti: It is long since you summoned me here.
[looking at his work table]
Queen Vashti: Your hands have not been idle.
King Xerxes: Not idle... not gifted either.
Queen Vashti: You do know why the Princes have asked you to extend the feasting another night.
King Xerxes: [turning to leave] Your to late if you seek me to deny them, especially now. With such clamering to march upon Greece and avenge my father's death.
Queen Vashti: [stopping him, pleading] How long have dreamt of molding Persia into a pillar of learning and culture? Afraid to make even the greatness of Greece buy a shadow. You know as well as I that this not something that is won in battle, but in the hearts of men.
King Xerxes: [unbelieving] You would have me do nothing then?
Queen Vashti: You're no warrior, no soldier... I'd have you stay... enhance your kingdom, preserve your thrown.
[hesitates and leaves]
Jesse: [catching Esther as she runs in the street] Looking for someone?
Queen Esther: I'm fine. Thank you. You can run back to Rebecca now.
Jesse: [inquiring] Oh, I'm sure you're fine. Tell me Hadassah or who ever you are, how do you intend to get into the palace?
Queen Esther: [relieved] You didn't come to take me back?
Jesse: [laughing with her] Come or I shall you, Hadassah the mouse!
Queen Esther: [on the balcony, watching the feast] They go to fetch the Queen. She must be lovely, reigning in a place such as this.
Jesse: None is more lovely then you, my queen.
[kissing her hand]
Queen Esther: My thanks, fair prince.
Jesse: Prince?... Why is it for years you threaten to join the caravan for Jerusalem, yet you never do? What holds you back?
Queen Esther: [forlorn] Perhaps the courage to face it alone.
Jesse: [aspirant] What if you had someone to join you?
Queen Esther: [daunted by Xerxes's anouncement, to Jesse] Nor there's not to be a Queen here any longer. Mordecai has given me his blessing. Let us leave tomorrow. Together.
Mordecai: [worried, about the search for a new Queen] There's no need for alarm. Nor likelihood they will not come for you. And not all who taken will be chosen. Not that the Queen has already been selected through bribery or chicanery.
Queen Esther: [distressed] How do I keep our laws? How do I pray? What excuse do I offer God for not keeping his commandments?
Mordecai: Oh, Hadassah. God see's the forward observance according to natures place. I think it would be better... if you forget that you were a Jew. If it is a sin, then, then, then let it be on my head. Promise me you will do that if you are taken. Promise me that!
Queen Esther: If I am taken, I will do as you say.
Mordecai: We should give a different name. Hadassah is too Jewish... Esther! Esther is a good Babylonian name. Yes. That is what we shall call you from now on. Esther of Susa. Promise me. Promise if you are taken.
Queen Esther: I said if I am taken. If, if, if...
[rising to the door]
Queen Esther: But for now, you should look for me on the streets of Jerusalem. Dancing like David before the glory of the Lord.
Mordecai: Uh Hadassah?
Queen Esther: [singing, before she leaves] Who?
Hagai: [to the Queen candidates] Walk on to a brand new life. The method of your rival was not of my choosing. I am Hagai, his majesty's royal eunuch. I have been assigned to over see your preparations.
Queen Esther: [to the frightened group] It's ok.
Prince Memucan: [very anxious] Think not I heard your whispered orchestrations that night and how you drew even me into your schemes!
Prince Admantha: [snapping] In these troubled time, it is easy to name any man traitor! I even recall a certain campaign in Ionia, under King Darius; where someone allowed the defeated Greeks to keep their own form of government. Their democracy, instead of placing the protocal of the empire in control; favoring democracy. They doctrine to which all Persia is opposed.
Prince Memucan: [indignant, turning to leave] I followed orders!
Prince Admantha: [stopping him, chuckling a little] Come.Come.Come.Come. We trouble ourselves with foolish things. The King asked me to speak, I did. I obeyed as you did.
Jesse: [finding Esther by the garden pool] They tell you're called Esther now.
Queen Esther: [turning around and hugging him] Oh Jesse.
Jesse: [correcting] Hatack.
Queen Esther: Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego were pagan names too. We're in good company.
Jesse: [very stricken] The names were Hananiah, Mishael, and Azariah. They were thrown into the furnace.
Queen Esther: [laughing] But than what happened?
Jesse: Come on. I've found a way out and there's a caravan leaving for Jerusalem tonight... So we can get out of here.
Queen Esther: Escape?... Jesse, I... I can't leave... What if... What if I am chosen?
Jesse: What if you're chosen what? What if you are chosen Queen? Look what they's done to us? What good could come of any of this?
Queen Esther: Perhaps, instead of asking questions of our trials, our trials are ment to ask questions of ourselves.
Jesse: They cut me!... I know we can't be what I hope, but...
Queen Esther: [as he leaves] Jesse... I can't leave. I'm sorry. Sorry.
Hagai: [to Esther, as the other chose from the royal jewels] You stand not impressed?
Queen Esther: [shyly] Matters not what impresses me. How is one to choose when they know not what impresses the King. Will you teach me?
Hagai: I will do far more than that. Come.
[open the box on the table and gives her the necklace]
Hagai: A recent acquisition, one I believe the King will find most pleasing.
King Xerxes: [at the training grounds, to Hagai] My captain!
Hagai: Blame me not for this, my lord. But the princes' have ordered us to begin brining you candidates by the end of the week.
King Xerxes: [quite amused] You jest. I am in the middle of...
Prince Memucan: [cuts in with a smile] At least you'll get it over with. Besides these men might enjoy seeing some ladies around. No?
King Xerxes: [quite amused, watching Misgath attempt to mount her horse] By the looks of it, I must be allowing the candidates to keep their jewelry.
Hagai: [cringing] Perhaps a horse ride is not the best idea, my lord.
Haman, the Amelekite: Pieces are falling into place, ones we have spoken of. One by one.
Haman's Wife: [chidding] Soothsaying does not become you, Haman.
Haman, the Amelekite: Oh my darling, I speak of the truth, not of stars. My burden I would not wish on any man! But the blood of my forefather will be avenged! The god will smile down on our sons for our obedience.
Haman's Wife: Are you mad? 'This' is you plan?
Queen Esther: [in her prayers] Obedient I have been. I walk before you with a loyal heart and now I stand in the hour of trouble precisely because of my obedience. I beseech you father. Let there be another way. Rise up a deliverer and let this pass... let this pass.
Queen Esther: [after being told of the King's intentions] And who is this honored man?
Haman, the Amelekite: A scribe. A Jewish scribe, who claims to have saved the King's life.
Queen Esther: I should think you would be honored by such a privilege given by the King.
Haman, the Amelekite: [seething] Honored? Prestige of Persian is at stake. What will it be said of your husband, the king that he commanded his highest prince to lead a Jew through the streets? A Jew, my lady!
Queen Esther: And how is a Jew any different than you or I?
Haman, the Amelekite: They are our enemy! They must be destroyed.
Queen Esther: They may your enemy, but not mine.
Haman, the Amelekite: The way you defend them, one might almost think...
Queen Esther: [challenging] One might think what, my prince?
Haman, the Amelekite: One might think that is all, my lady. One might think.
Father of Esther: [first lines - narration] From whence comes the purpose of a person's life? Coming by chance? A casting of the lot? Or does a call of destiny beckon to each of us? Many have wondered about my little Hadassah, and why a simple Jewish orphan was chosen to stand against the annihilation of her people. And yet the mystery of the girl most know as Esther, begins not where one might think, but 500 years earlier, with a single act of disobedience.
Father of Esther: King Saul of the Israelites had been sent by the prophet Samuel to wipe out an ancient child-sacrificing enemy. So pervasive was their evil that not even their oxen or their sheep were to be spared. And above all, no survivors left breathing.
King Xerxes: [as his subjects become louder requesting the Queen] Am I to be a mockery before my subjects?
Prince Admantha: [interjecting] Or Greece as well.
King Xerxes: [intent] Continue, cousin.
Prince Admantha: Let not this deed of refusal travel abroad to all women, making their husbands contemptible in their eyes. Let it not be said that Xerxes commanded his wife to come before him, but she came not. Vashti is not only guilty of disobedience to the crown, but against the protocols of our fathers.
King Xerxes: Tell me.
[turning to Memucan]
King Xerxes: What dictates the protocol?
Prince Memucan: A royal edict must be issued and written into the laws of the land, that Vashti... that Vashti come no more before the King. That her royal position be given to a new Queen. Someone more 'worthy' then her.
Hagai: [at attention] My lord. What answer do I send the Queen?
King Xerxes: [as his guests become more protesting, standing] The land has no more Queen!