Arm you, I pray you, to this speedy voyage.

Claudius listens to a whole lot of nonsense from these guys before he finally says this. Why does he not cut them off before now?
And when he DOES cut them off, why does he suggest that they arm themselves?
It feels like not QUITE a literal arming, that is, not arms, like weapons. . .just like preparations. But it also could be arms, like weapons.
In a way, I wonder if Claudius is blurting out things which he then softens to more sensible stuff. “Arm you” feels like it’s in the territory of “I like him not.” In other words, things that are much more succinct and blunt than Claudius usually is.
Also, “Arm you, I pray you,” is a somewhat clunky redundant expression. It feels to me like Claudius is in such a state, his speech is a little disrupted – and maybe he listens to Rosencrantz nattering on about deaths of kings and so on because he’s not really listening. He may be simply managing his stirred up emotions.
I mean, look, he’s just stormed out of a play asking for light and in a moment he’s going to fall to his knees from guilt. So there’s something going on from point A to point B – and I don’t think it’s handling the politics of his situation.
I think his mind must be in two places and Rosencrantz and Guildenstern are just mosquito noise.
“Arm you,” for example, might be to himself before he realizes he’s still with them and he could switch gears, mid-sentence. I’d love to see this scene with an unraveling Claudius – where rather than sending Rosencrantz and Guildenstern out in a business-like fashion, he spirals out while they talk.


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