Act IV, Scene i

Synopsis of Hamlet Act IV, scene i

Gertrude tells Claudius that Hamlet has killed Polonius. He sends Rosencrantz and Guildenstern to find Hamlet and the body.

Commentary on Hamlet Act IV scene i

It had been so with us had we been there — Claudius (using the royal plural ) indicates his worry about his own safety, which seems to concern him more than Polonius' death.

So haply slander … transports his poisoned shot … may miss our name — Claudius sees rumour as a poisoned weapon which he hopes to avoid — ironically, given that he poisoned the ear of the Old King and of the country with false reports (see Act I scene iv).

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