Did he receive you well?

I didn’t grow up with a lot of social rituals. I learned some basic manners but not a whole lot of rules. My friend, though, grew up with a whole host of guidelines. She knows what fork to use at every occasion and is exacting in her speech.

And these things seem to be primarily a matter of class, the more social status you have as you grow up, the more ways to do things incorrectly emerge. In thinking about this Queen’s concern about Hamlet’s reception, it makes me wonder if she’s asking about his manners as much as anything.

A Royal family would, I imagine, have the most etiquette of all. There would likely be very precise ways of receiving guests, of greeting them, of parting company, of interacting while with company. The queen could be asking if her son had a good rapport with Rosencrantz and Guildenstern, but she could also be asking if he’s retained his social control, if he still has his manners, if he at least continues to follow the code.

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