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Show how spying is important in the play Hamlet.

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sarii | Student, Grade 11 | eNotes Newbie

Posted January 25, 2011 at 8:15 PM via web

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Show how spying is important in the play Hamlet.

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luannw | High School Teacher | (Level 2) Senior Educator

Posted January 25, 2011 at 8:31 PM (Answer #1)

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Spying is a recurring event in the play that brings about the death of Polonius as well as the deaths of Rosencrantz and Guildenstern. In Act 2, sc. 1, Polonius even has his son spied upon when he tells Reynaldo spy on his son, Laertes.  Later, in Act 3, sc. 1, both Polonius and Claudius spy on Hamlet during his "To be or not to be..." speech.   Act 3, sc. 4, Polonius again decides to spy on Hamlet in Gertrude's room.  He wants to find out why Hamlet has been acting they he's been acting and he hides behind the arras.  Hamlet, in his anger with his mother over Claudius' actions and her possible involvement, realizes someone is behind the tapestry and stabs it, killing Polonius.  When Hamlet is sent to England, he manages to get the letter that Claudius has sent with Rosencrantz and Guildenstern and by employing his spy techniques (opening the letter, rewriting it, resealing it), he changes the order in it to save himself and have Rosencrantz and Guildenstern put to death.

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