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Habeus CorpusFor what purposes does Hamlet refuse to reveal the location of Polonious'...

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jamie-wheeler | College Teacher | eNotes Employee

Posted March 24, 2008 at 8:42 AM via web

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Habeus Corpus

For what purposes does Hamlet refuse to reveal the location of Polonious' body?

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clane | High School Teacher | (Level 3) Educator

Posted March 24, 2008 at 9:23 AM (Answer #2)

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Hamlet has yet to fulfill his mission and he knows that people already believe he has lost his mind so he has to keep the location of the body somewhat secret to buy himself some time. If he does not own up to the location of the body then there is no proof that Polonius has really been murdered. While the punishment for murder might be less for the Prince of Denmark, he runs the risk of possibly being sent away for good if he reveals the location of the body. Without concrete proof he has time to exact his revenge without Claudius using that to his advantage to totally do away with Hamlet.

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jamie-wheeler | College Teacher | eNotes Employee

Posted March 24, 2008 at 10:58 AM (Answer #3)

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Hamlet has yet to fulfill his mission and he knows that people already believe he has lost his mind so he has to keep the location of the body somewhat secret to buy himself some time. If he does not own up to the location of the body then there is no proof that Polonius has really been murdered. While the punishment for murder might be less for the Prince of Denmark, he runs the risk of possibly being sent away for good if he reveals the location of the body. Without concrete proof he has time to exact his revenge without Claudius using that to his advantage to totally do away with Hamlet.

  I like the "buying time" premise, but not sure about the rest of the argument, because Gertrude has witnessed the murder.   Surely her word, especially by Claudius, would be believed, would it not? 

Might there be other purposes in hiding the body?   

 

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