The king, the king’s to blame.

There’s a book that hinges on this line. I think it’s William Ball’s Backwards and Forwards but it could also be referenced in The Actor and the Target. The sense of it is that this line is the one that finally allows Hamlet to pull the trigger on killing Claudius. He’s been carefully trying to test the ghost’s theories, looking for the right moment but it is this evidence from Laertes that opens the door to direct action – to running a sword through him, not to mention forcing the king to drink poison.

It is the trigger line the whole play hinges on.

And yet I’d put money on the probability of some productions cutting it. Because everyone’s likely to cut everything at some point or another. I’m sure there have even been productions that cut the hot speeches. The one I saw most recently just did without the “how all occasions” speech, not to mention the entire Fortinbras plot. And most of the opening scene. Which was the gravest error, I thought. Graver even than cutting the Second Gravedigger.

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