I am afeard you make a wanton of me.

If Laertes has gotten in trouble for messing around with loose ladies in France and both his father and sister have suggested this might be the case, then this line might be getting a little personal and pointed.

Are Laertes’ missteps in this department known to the entire Danish court or just his family? Does Hamlet know?

Is he saying – “Don’t use me like you use one of your French girls.” – Is he TRYING to get Laertes’ goat or he is just being coy – like – flirting a little bit.

It would seem a little flirting in the middle of a fight might be par for the course. Flirting and fighting create a similar kind of tension, certainly.


The question in performance would become whether Hamlet is goading Laertes on purpose or by accident.

And also – is Laertes actually goaded or does he just use this moment as an excuse to get in there and start poisoning?

The questions become who is making a wanton of who here. Is there any wantonness happening?

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