How fares our cousin Hamlet?

I love the way this line has a quality of being a public pronouncement sort of question. It’s not like, “Hey, Hamlet, you doing okay? I know you’ve been under the weather. How’s it going?”

It’s very formal and public – giving Hamlet a title and using the good old royal collective we/our/us.

If this question were asked without Hamlet in the room, it might be spoken with some concern, like, “How’s Uncle Charlie doing? Any news?”
But as it stands, it seems to be a question TO Hamlet, who is in the room – and also the first line after a Danish march and Flourish, featuring Trumpets and Kettle Drums.

After that arrival, one might expect a king to make a pronouncement. Something like: “I hereby declare that every Tuesday shall be Bring Thy Nephew to Work Day!” or something.

But no, rather than declaring war on Norway or announcing diplomatic progress he asks his nephew how he’s doing as if it were a pronouncement.


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