For who that’s but a queen, fair, sober, wise, Would from a paddock, from a bat, a gib, Such dear concernings hide?

New tactic! Call your mother/queen fair, sober and wise and call your stepfather/uncle/king an idiot.
I’m intrigued especially by the bat. What about Claudius calls to mind a bat? Or a toad, for that matter. A Tom Cat, I understand.
But it’s interesting.
All three of these descriptors of Claudius appear very rarely in Shakespeare. What do these animals signify for him? These days we think of a toad as a symbol for ugliness and a bat is associated with the occult. A tom cat, again, probably the same. A tom cat tom cats around, getting with all the lady cats and generally being an oversexed nuisance. I can see the association here.
And with contemporary associations – the paddock and bat as well. They’re small dark creatures. And even if this is pre-Vampire associations – a bat has such a creepy nocturnal presence, it might not be necessary to add blood drinking to make it a little scary.
These are none of these cute or nice animals. But – again – I’d love to see some other Renaissance references to these animals – in case there are other associations I’m missing.

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