O my dear Hamlet –

I think there’s a great deal more Gertrude wants to say before she dies. Is this line a simple expression of love for her son – a last cry out for the son she loved? Or is it a realization that he was the target for the death she’s in the middle of? Or the beginning of some death bed speech that she realizes she doesn’t have time to give as soon as she begins.

No, no, the drink, the drink.

I think she’s working this out in the moment. She repeats “the drink” four times and I suspect each “drink” reveals a different layer of realization. The drink is doing this to her. She’s feeling it burn. She’s realizing what it is doing to her. She, at some point, works out who gave her the drink – though she doesn’t name him and ultimately declares that she is poisoned without saying who.

I wonder, if Claudius hadn’t attempted to cover his tracks by declaring her swooning to see them bleed if she might have just quietly expired without creating too much fuss.

But she has to respond to his assertion. She has to include one last act of defiance before she departs – due to the drink? The drink. The drink!

She swounds to see them bleed.

Nice try, Kingy. Good attempt to create a counter narrative to the actual truth here. However, I suspect that the Queen has seen quite a bit of blood in her time. She was married to the man who sledded the pollacks (pole-axe) on the ice. She saw her son stab a man to death, the wound of which probably led to him bleeding out. While certainly she wasn’t happy about witnessing that slaying, she also didn’t seem particularly swoony around the blood. So – even before the Queen herself denies it, this explanation does not seem a likely one. I wonder if it feels insulting to the queen as well – like, not JUST – no, I was poisoned but also – I would NEVER faint at the sight of blood, how dare you!

How does the queen?

Has Hamlet not heard what Laertes just said? Is he not processing the news that Laertes has just revealed or did he just not hear it or is he choosing to ignore it?

Laertes has just confessed to treacherousness and Hamlet asks about the queen.

Now – sure – the queen is visually taking attention at the moment, I suspect. She has fallen or fainted or swooned or stumbled and anyone shifting out of the vertical plane will draw someone’s eye.

I think, too, Hamlet probably hasn’t put together that this treachery Laertes is talking about is going to kill him. It takes Laertes really spelling it out in a few lines.

I am justly kill’d with mine own treachery.

I wish this satisfying karma happened more often. Like, if murderers, planning their next kill got killed with their plans somehow.

Or, if like, rapists, got their dicks cut off while trying to rape someone.

Like – and then they realized – they got it while it was happening, the way Laertes does – where they look down at their severed member and go, “Yep. I guess I deserved that. Seems about right.”

Like, what if Brett Kavanagh got his dick caught in his zipper while he was trying to rape Christine Blasey Ford and what if, instead of being how we saw him being (defensive, furious, whiny, petty, pathetic) he just suddenly GOT it. He’d scream in pain and then go, “I am justly mutilated by my own treachery!” That would be a heroic Brett.

In real life, though, I’m 99% – sure that if he’d actually gotten his peen caught in his zipper he’d have blamed his victim and it would probably not have gone well for anyone.
But – that is why if more villains more like Laertes, we’d have a higher quality of villain. The noble villain who owns up to his treachery.

Why, as a woodcock to mine own springe, Osric.

The previous person to use this metaphor in this play was Laertes’s father. It is clearly a family metaphor. Both woodcock and springe appear in other plays from other characters – but only this father and son team use them together in this manner.

I imagine Polonius often cautioned Laertes not to be a woodcock and taught him how to set a springe. And here is Laertes, at the very end of his life, drawing on his father’s language and caught in his own trap.

How is’t, Laertes?

The note on Genius suggests that this line is evidence of Osric’s allegiance with Laertes and the king and/or his complicity in the plot against Hamlet.

I’m not sure it is. It could be, sure. But it could be that Osric is showing concern for Laertes because no one else is. Hamlet has Horatio so perhaps Osric sees Laertes as without a friend.

In the end, it is important that he asks Laertes how he’s doing because Laertes starts to give up the goods in response to this question.

I see how this line might support a case against Osric in a conspiracy case but there are other possibilities. Different productions will have different Osrics with different motivations. These kind of possibilities contribute to the reasons these plays can be produced over and over with seemingly endless variations.

How is it, my lord?

It’s funny that this inquiry into Hamlet’s wound or his health or wellbeing or whatever “it” is here – is the same words as an inquiry into what someone might be eating.

Like, it would be funny if somehow Hamlet just started chomping down on an apple or whatever and Horatio asked him how it is.

“Well, Horatio – it’s a little bit tart and a little bit sweet. It’s kind of a perfect apple, don’t you know. You want a bite?”

But no. Instead – it’s an inquiry that’s will eventually lead to a death. Not quite like a tasty apple.

They bleed on both sides.

I wonder what this is meant to accomplish. I suppose they’re neither of them supposed to be bleeding so it is a problem.

Is it a point of order in the dueling regulations?

Is Horatio trying to intervene to help Hamlet?

Do either of the fighters look like they  want to keep fighting? I mean – moments ago, Hamlet seemed to want to keep going. Is Horatio trying to stop Hamlet from proceeding? Is he somehow the medic of the duel?

Look to the queen there, ho!

What IS Claudius doing in this moment?

Presumably, he’s near the queen and could call out for assistance before Osric. He has good reason not to draw anyone’s attention to the queen’s collapse but what is he doing? Caring for her? Standing frozen with terror that his whole scheme is crashing down around him?

Has he caught her? Is he trying to keep her quiet?

I mean – given what she ultimately says, he may be afraid she will out him. Would he try to cover her mouth, try to shhhhh hush her?

He could presumably try and keep her quiet for his own purposes and look as though he’s trying to quiet her for her health.

There’s a whole lot of talk about Osric being in on the king’s schemes but if he were fully in on it, would he be drawing everyone’s attention to the villainy in progress with the Queen? He might know some but he probably doesn’t know all.