ACT IV, SCENE III
Claudius discusses the problem of Hamlet with his advisers. Hamlet must be restrained, but he is so
popular with "the distracted multitude" that the matter must be handled delicately. His trip to
England must appear like a project that has been planned for a long time.
Rosencrantz and Guildenstern arrive with the news that they have caught Hamlet but that he will not
tell them where the corpse is. Hamlet is led in under guard and interrogated by the king. His usual jesting
replies have, since he killed Polonius, been more and more focused on death. After discreetly suggesting
that the king can go to hell, Hamlet gives a clue to where the corpse is and the king sends his attendants
to search for the body. Hamlet tells them cheerfully, "He will stay till you come."
The king now informs Hamlet that he is being sent to England. Hamlet, with a show of mock
innocence, agrees to go. He salutes the king as "dear mother," a title he proves by absurd logic
to be correct. After Hamlet leaves, the king orders his men to make preparations at top speed. When they
depart, Claudius rhetorically begs England to carry out his orders and kill Hamlet, as otherwise Claudius
will know no peace. He compares Hamlet to a disease in his blood, of which he must be purged.
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