You must not think That we are made of stuff so flat and dull That we can let our beard be shook with danger And think it pastime.

I can see why that play Claudius watched could seem like a beard shaking to him. It was absolutely designed to have that effect. It is a taunt. It is a tugging on his self respect. It is a challenge, no doubt.
This is probably not what he’s trying to tell Laertes, though – because if he explained why the play was a taunt, he’d also have to explain that he has, I don’t know, MURDERED HIS BROTHER, THE PREVIOUS KING!
But what’s weird, though – is that if he’s NOT talking about the play, then he’s talking about the murder he’s committed – the victim of which is the man he’s talking to’s father.

Which doesn’t seem like a beard shaking so much. That feels a bit insulting to the man’s father. But Claudius is somehow adept at making his way through this dangerous territory.

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