He that plays the king shall be welcome – his majesty shall have tribute of me;

Is Hamlet already getting his idea to stage The Mousetrap right here? It seems unlikely – though it is often played that way. I wonder though if this line is more about welcoming another king since the king he’s got now is so problematic. It might be such a relief to greet a pretend king in a moment when the local king is trouble.

Hamlet wouldn’t be the first person to have greeted an actor as if he were the person he represents. This paying of tribute to the Player King is partly a joke, I imagine and partly a show itself. That is, Hamlet might happily pay tribute to a player when he might avoid any tributes to the actual king. The very act might be a relief to finally get to welcome a king without complication.


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