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asked 12 May '11, 22:07

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Hamlet had gone to see the Queen in her bedchamber, even though the ghost has explicitly told him not to. When he got a little rough with her, Polonius - who was hidden behind the curtains (called an "arras" in the text), started calling for help. For some reason Hamlet freaked, and thought that it was Claudius. Seizing the opportunity, Hamlet ran his sword through the curtains, killing Polonius.

Many, many questions about this scene. Hamlet had just passed Claudius in prayer on his way to Gertrude's bedroom. Did he stop to wonder how Claudius had passed him in the hallway?

And then, after Polonius' death, Hamlet does not show a hint of regret. "I took thee for thy better," is all he says before dragging off the dead body (which he hides under the stairs).

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answered 22 May '11, 10:08

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Given the state of Elsinore, isn't it more than a little likely Claudius would have a secret way into the bedroom, such as a hidden passage? Whether or not it was the case, it's not something Hamlet would put past his villainous uncle.

(22 May '11, 23:17) almsforoblivion almsforoblivion's gravatar image

"And then, after Polonius' death, Hamlet does not show a hint of regret."

"I took thee for thy better" is at line 35, immediately after Hamlet discovers what he's done. Much later in the same scene, beginning at line 166, he says this:

Ham. For this same lord I do repent./ But Heaven hath pleased it so/ To punish me with this and this with me,/ That I must be their scourge and minister./ I will bestow him, and will answer well/ The death I gave him. 3.4.166-71

Though Hamlet is at the same time distracted by many things and also berates Polonius for his meddling,to say he doesn't show a hint of regret is not quite accurate.

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answered 15 Sep '11, 14:05

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A good point indeed! I think you're right. I think what I was trying to say was something more along the lines of "He doesn't waste any tears over Polonius' death" (much like his reaction sending Rosencrantz and Guildenstern to their deaths), but it's clear that I said it wrong. As you cite, his reaction seems more in the realm of "That was a mistake, I shouldn't have done that, and I'm sure I'll pay for it." Sorry it happened, not sorry he died, you know?

(15 Sep '11, 14:58) duane ♦♦ duane's gravatar image
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Asked: 12 May '11, 22:07

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Last updated: 15 Sep '11, 14:58

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