So happy slander, Whose whisper o’er the world’s diameter As level as the cannon to his blank Transports his poisoned shot, may miss our name And hit the woundless air.

And here we see Claudius’ chief concern: his own reputation. He really is a politician.
He is not worried about Hamlet (obvs) or Gertrude or mourning for Polonius. He is simply worried about his political reputation. It is remarkably transparent. Nice line, though. It’s a funny time to get poetic. But hey, probably policy is the one thing Claudius truly loves.

One thought on “So happy slander, Whose whisper o’er the world’s diameter As level as the cannon to his blank Transports his poisoned shot, may miss our name And hit the woundless air.

  1. Lauren Lowe May 15, 2020 / 9:16 am

    I wonder why this quote is edited out of many versions of the play. It seems to be important, as it supports the characterization of Claudius as completely self-interested. At a time like this, he doesn’t express any concern for the loss of life, but only for how the event will reflect upon him.

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