How could hamlet's jokes be treasonous if he weren't "supposedly" insane? : LUSENET : Kenneth Branagh's Hamlet : One Thread

I have to answere this question concerning the following question, please help me all that you can. Thanks Examine Hamlet's use of humor in his confrontation with the king (Act 4 Scene iii). How much of Hamlet's jokes and puns could be considered as treason if he were not, supposedly, insane?

-- Stacy Schnepf (, December 13, 2001


Well it depends on your definition of treason: he doesn't actually threaten Claudius' life or anything in this scene, though he seemed to in the course of "The Mousetrap" in III.ii.

But it's all disloyal in the sense that it's bloody impudent and insulting towards the reigning king.

The face he's showing to Claudius shows no remorse or care for the death of Claudius' chief lord / councillor. He's appears quite brazen about it. And killing that lord may well be a treasonous offence, depending on what Polonius' position was exactly.

With his trademark convoluted logic he points out that Claudius as king is no better than a beggar, and no more privileged in the cosmic scheme of things (lines 19-31).

Indirectly he's also pointing out that Claudius is fat.

Because the Diet (Council) at Worms (German city) of 1521 presided over by the Emperor Charles V was where Luther was condemned for failing to recant his 'heresy', Hamlet may be telling Claudius that nothing Claudius can do will make Hamlet admit anything he doesn't want to, or give up his mission of vengeance.

Then he tells Claudius to go to hell (lines 34-35).

He lets Claudius know he knows that Claudius is plotting against him in sending him to England. "I see a cherub that sees tham" basically means he knows Claudius is up to something, though he hasn't yet found out exactly what.

He finishes by calling Claudius his mother. Again the logic is clever. But to call a guy a woman is really insulting in the period, and Hamlet is talking to the king. Many in the Renaissance understood that woman were a lesser/deformed species of mankind.

So in a guise of babbling Hamlet has been devastatingly and aptly almost treasonous.

-- catherine england (, December 14, 2001.

who let the dogs out? Ham let the dogs out!!

-- The big Pun (, December 13, 2002.

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