But let me conjure you by the rights of our fellowship, by the consonancy of our youth, by the obligation of our ever-preserved love, and by what more dear proposer can charge you withal, be even and direct with me whether you were sent for or no.

Hamlet’s choosing Rosalind’s way here. She tells us at the end of As You Like It that her way is to conjure us. And she begins with the women. For me, conjuring conjures up images of magicians and smoke and potions and spells and an unreasonable amount of handkerchiefs. It brings to mind pulling things out of thin air.

I guess conjuring isn’t that far from writing. You bring to mind something that wasn’t there, pull the image of a giraffe playing basketball, for example, right into the forefront of your consciousness. Or in this case, Hamlet conjures up the memories he and his friends have in common. He wants their camaraderie, their affection, their shared history all in the room with them. So if Rosencrantz and Guildenstern are going to betray him, they do it with their past and their consciences and their memories at hand.

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