In Hamlet, how does Hamlet return to Denmark even though he had been sent to England by Claudius?

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King Claudius sends Hamlet on a ship sailing from Denmark to England escorted by two of his old friends, Rosencrantz and Guildenstern, who have been bribed by King Claudius to spy on Hamlet in return for a "king's favor." Rosencrantz and Guildenstern are in possession of a letter from the king. While onboard the ship, Hamlet steals the letter bearing the king's seal, carefully opens it, and reads the king's message. The letter contains instructions for Hamlet to quickly be beheaded upon his arrival in England.

Hamlet, feeling betrayed by his friends, rewrites the letter so that the instructions are for Rosencrantz and Guildenstern to be beheaded instead. After carefully returning the letter, Hamlet's ship comes into conflict with pirates. Hamlet joins the group of pirates, and they agree to return him to Denmark if he will repay the favor. We learn of Hamlet's escape when he sends a letter to Horatio describing these events and his return to Denmark.

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Although it seems unlikely to us, Hamlet is returned to Denmark by pirates who apparently attack the ship he is on. In a letter to Horatio that is delivered to sailors, Hamlet tells his friend the story of this pirate tale.

When the pirate ship sails alongside Hamlet's ship, he boards the pirate ship to escape. The pirates agree to help Hamlet; in return he is to do them "a good turn," or favor. He doesn't, however, explain what that favor is. Perhaps we can assume that since he is a prince, the pirates ask for safe passage or maybe even money if they deliver him successfully to Denmark.

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