The treacherous instrument is in thy hand, Unbated and envenom’d.

Before this scene, “treacherous” only appears once in the play (as one of Hamlet’s descriptors of Claudius in the rogue and peasant slave speech). But in this scene, treachery is introduced and then repeated several times. Laertes introduces it in acknowledging his ill deeds, Hamlet picks it up regarding Gertrude’s poisoning, and Laertes returns to it here with the sword. While all three instances refer to the same moments really – each treacherous mention refers to a different thing or person. Laertes relates to the treachery as his, Hamlet responds to a general treachery and now Laertes places the treachery on the sword.

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