And that’s the point of it all.

Shakespeare was constrained by the original Hamlet storyto have Hamlet pretend to be comically insane, and for the king to tryto find whether he was really crazy or just faking.

On one hand, we suspect that lots of homework might just be a bit of a waste of time.

(Uh huh.)When he "learned the truth", the King of Norway arrestedFortinbras, made him promise not to invade Denmark, andpaid him to invade Poland instead.


But not necessarily in that order.

And we know a sea-invasion was expected from the amount of shipbuilding mentioned in I.i.)This all seems fake and for show, andprobably Claudius (who doesn't seem at all surprised)and the King of Norway had an understandingbeforehand.As before, Polonius can be a foolish busybody or a sinisterold man.


You'll need to decide that onefor yourself.

You might decide that Hamlet, knowing that his behavior is going to beabnormal because he is under stress, wants to mislead the court into thinkinghe is simply nuts rather than bent on revenge.

(I think"thirty" might be a mistake for "twenty".

(Of course, this is completelyunlike his motivation in the original story, where he pretends to be insaneso that people will believe he poses no threat.) I've never been able todecide for myself.

The monarchy went to his father's brother, Claudius.

Hamlet says everything and says nothing,just as the skull will do later.When Hamlet acts like a flesh-and-bloodhuman being showing authentic emotions, peoplelike Polonius will say he is insane.

The public was told that Old Hamlet died of snakebite.

They share a dirty joke about "Lady Luck's private parts" that wouldhave been very funny to Shakespeare's contemporaries, and Hamlet callsDenmark a prison.

Old Hamlet died fast but gruesomely.

(Note that Hamlet is obviously notreferring to the idea that there are no moral standards commonto the whole human race --as do certain contemporary "multiculturalists".

And everybody at the Danish court must have thought the same thing.

She describes Hamlet'sbarging into her bedroom, with "his doublet all unbraced"(we'd say, his shirt open in front), his dirty socks cruncheddown, and pale and knock-kneed, "as if he had been loosèdout of hell / to speak of horrors." Or, as might say, "as if he'd seen a ghost." Hamlet grabbed her wrist, stared at herface, sighed, let her go, and walked out the door backwards.

If you don't know this, you're naive.

Again we have the theme of the play -- Hamlet chooses NOT toignore the evil around him, though everybody else has, or pretends to have,a "good attitude" toward a terrible situationThe spies suggest Hamlet is simply too ambitious.