But not by him.

This may be Queen Gertrude’s most baffling line in the whole play. Why does she say this? Because by saying this, by defending Claudius, she’s shifting the blame from Claudius to her son. Why would she implicate her own son that way? Is it because he’s safely far away and any fury that Laertes has couldn’t touch him there? Whereas, this moment is full of threat – a current palpable threat.

I guess I’ve answered my own question – and when I played this part, I didn’t find this line hard to say. It just felt instinctive – like – protect the man in front of you. That’s it. And then maybe later, realize what you’ve said and how it may be a threat to your son.

It’s funny that what is hard to understand intellectually isn’t really that hard to understand with the body. The body responds quickly without thinking about long term effects of what one might say.

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