Laertes asks Claudius why, as King, he did not act against Hamlet, whom Claudius accuses of “[pursuing] my life.” Claudius cites two reasons. First, his own love for Gertrude, whose love for Hamlet is so great that he cannot counteract it. Second, the love the general public has for Hamlet makes it impossible for them to see Hamlet’s faults; they would tend to turn Claudius’ accusations back upon himself. Claudius tries to assure Laertes that they are united in their love of Polonius and in their desire for revenge against Hamlet for his plottings.
A Messenger enters with letters from Hamlet, for Claudius and for Gertrude. Hamlet tells the King that he has landed “naked [without...
(The entire section is 440 words.)