Tell him his pranks have been too broad to bear with, And that your grace hath screened and stood between Much heat and him.

And where, pray tell, would the source of this heat be?
From the King? From Polonius?
Who would give heat to the Prince of Denmark?
Is there some scolding from some source that might actually concern a royal young man?
It’s a funny thing that Polonius wants Gertrude to say. It is particularly interesting that Polonius references Hamlet’s pranks. We only see Hamlet pranking Polonius – but Polonius assumes these pranks are more general – so much so that he thinks Hamlet’s mother should give him some hell for them. But – really – when you look closely – there really are no pranks, per se. There’s some strange behavior, granted but it’s not as if Hamlet’s pulling practical jokes as if the Royal castle were a frat house. He’s not (as far as we know) short sheeting anyone’s bed or placing buckets of water over doorways or telling anyone their refrigerator ought to be caught due to its running.
And recently, all Hamlet has done is have a play put on. He hasn’t interrupted it or planted someone in the audience to leap out and surprise everyone. Sure, he had them add some lines – but almost no one knows that. Why is everyone so mad at Hamlet after just watching a play?

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