The First Player's speech is often cut in performances of the play.  Explain why it is important and why it should not be cut. Act 2

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After the First Player's speech, Polonius declares that it (the speech) is "too long," to which Hamlet replies that "it shall to the barber's, with your beard." The joke here is that Polonius does not see the value in the speech. Ironically, nor do those who cut this speech from their performances of the play. Shakespeare's breaking of the fourth wall here in his commentary on the speech should suffice to tell the audience that, long or not, it is of some importance to the events of the play.

Hamlet, of course, is happy to let the First Player continue: the speech has caught his attention, and he prays the player "say on." We can see, then, that the plight of Pyrrhus, driven to kill Priam, has captured Hamlet's imagination. Given the obvious mirroring between this classical story and Hamlet's own future situation with Claudius , it is fair to suggest that Hamlet may have been, however unconsciously, inspired by this speech of which he asks to hear more. Therefore, to cut the speech is to...

(The entire section contains 3 answers and 666 words.)

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