Who are involved and how is the theme of friendship presented in Hamlet?

Expert Answers

An illustration of the letter 'A' in a speech bubbles

in "Hamlet," the betrayal/revenge theme is furthered with the characters of Rosencrantz and Guildenstern, who are former friends from Hamlet's youth sent for by Claudius and Hamlet's mother to learn the cause of his change in personality.  They are treacherous friends, however, as they quickly agree to supply the king covert knowledge about Hamlet. 

When they do ask Hamlet questions, the prince is far too clever to provide them any information.  And, although he does confess to having "lost all mirth," Hamlet tells his former friends that they

were sent for, and there is a kind of confession in your looks, which your modesties have not craft enough to color. (II,ii,266-269)

Rosencrantz and Guildenstern are unknowingly sent to their death after Hamlet learns about the plot of Claudius to send Hamlet to England.  He, then, constructs a counterplot and returns to Denmark.

See eNotes Ad-Free

Start your 48-hour free trial to get access to more than 30,000 additional guides and more than 350,000 Homework Help questions answered by our experts.

Get 48 Hours Free Access
Approved by eNotes Editorial