And do still, by these pickers and stealers.

How we joke with one another can determine so much. Again and again, Hamlet proposes some opportunities for banter with his old friends Rosencrantz and Guildenstern and again and again, they let the offers lie. In the improvisation of their rapport, they’re almost always blocking him. He makes an offer. They insist he be serious. He makes another offer – they respond with frustration.
Yet if they found a way to support Hamlet’s play, if they joined in the jokes, in the games he proposes, they might find a more companionable Hamlet and might have a better shot at getting what they want. But they keep banging on the serious gong and lose all their credibility with him.

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