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William Shakespeare



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.  


[Hamlet Table of Contents] []

© Copyright 1984 by Barron's Educational Series, Inc.
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