Strengthen your patience in our last night’s speech.

I’m picturing sending patience to the gym, patience doing some strengthening exercises that involve renewing the previous night’s speech, patience doing some crunches, patience doing jumping jacks.
And, in a way, patience really does need practice, it does need strengthening. If one cannot be patient in small instances then big ones will be ever out of reach. Do a little bit of patience practice and the capacity for patience grows. But don’t overdo it. I know people who confuse tolerance for patience and let it consume their will. That will not add up to good. That will tax the will until it breaks. There is a big difference between patience and putting up with something.

I pray you, good Horatio, wait upon him.

It’s funny how Horatio doesn’t say anything in response to this request from the king. He just goes and does it. And the king calls him good Horatio. It’s a little bit fishy. Is Horatio a double agent?
He’s got some weird privileges in this court. He seems to have everyone’s trust and it is never questioned. Where is he from? Why is he hanging around?
Even after Hamlet is deported, he’s still there. Why?
It’s very mysterious when you try to pull it apart

O, he is mad, Laertes.

Now why doesn’t Claudius just let Laertes kill him right then? He clearly wants to. It would be kind of justified, too. Well, not, JUSTIFIED but certainly understandable. It would be so much more easily explained to the world. Hamlet went mad, jumped in Ophelia’s grave, insulted her brother and Laertes, infuriated, killed him. Done and done.

Is he afraid Hamlet will beat Laertes in a fight and then all his hard manipulation work would be lost?

Pluck them asunder.

Laertes must be losing in this fight because why else would the king want it broken up?
Like – I know he has a plan – but what if Laertes could just take care of Hamlet for him right then?
I suppose it’s a political choice.
He can’t appear to be allowing violence before him – in a woman’s grave, no less.

Also. Pluck them asunder is such a delightful turn of phrase. It’s one of those that, even if you don’t immediately know what “asunder” means or what plucking might have to do with anything, you can work out the sense in context. It’s the kind of phrase I can get a middle school boy who hates English class to get into.

Therefore let’s follow.

I realized in my session with my Rubenfeld Synergist yesterday that I was longing to be a part of something wonderful – something that I didn’t have to lead. I want to be invited to the party, not host it. I want to join festivities already in progress.
I have mostly been leading those last years.
I am ready to follow for a change.

Now fear I this will give it start again;

There is no explicit accusation of Gertrude here. He does not say, “You messed up” or “You destroyed my careful plan,” or “You meddling woman.”

But my woman’s brain hears an accusation anyway. We learn very early to read the smallest of signals, to see the first hint of threat.
There isn’t a threat written here and I’ve never seen one played – but I hear one. I hear a “Watch out, Gertrude.” I hear a “You’ll pay for this later.” I hear a “Why do you ruin everything?” and a “Why did you have to come in and tell him that bad news right then?” Probably this means that I’ve known too many assholes in my life. But I would be curious to see this moment played as the threat I hear.

Let’s follow, Gertrude.

I feel like Claudius mostly uses her name when he wants to boss her. When he calls her by her name, he wants her to do something. In this case, it’s following Laertes. And the line he’s about to say might be interpreted as an accusation. It is, after all, Gertrude who has come in and given them enflaming news. She’s messing up his game. I feel like – if they were more in cahoots, she would not have burst in to deliver this news. If Gertrude were closely aligned with Claudius in his political workings and manipulations, she would have waited to tell Laertes about Ophelia. Is she intentionally enflaming Laertes? A Gertrude who has firmly aligned herself with Hamlet might do such a thing. I don’t think she’s aligned herself with anyone, though. She seems to just be operating on nerves by this point in the play. And now she’s the only woman left standing.

How now, sweet queen!

There are things I used to long for a man to say and/or do to me. Principally, I remember really wishing some romantic partner would take my face in his hands, look deep into my eyes and then kiss me.

I no longer find this taking a woman’s face in a man’s hands particularly romantic. Now it strikes me as a bit possessive and patronizing – which is definitely the thing we are taught to find attractive in male partners.

I’m not sure if I’d like to be called a sweet queen anymore. I just don’t know. I suppose it would depend on the context. This context is not it.

I ha’t.

What a shame this contraction never really caught on! We’d have people walking along getting ideas saying I HAT! Which surely would yield to some variations like I COAT! (short for I coa(s)t) or I PANTS! (short for I pant after his pants.) But no, we let “I ha’t” go – to contract with us no longer, leaving jokes un-made, crazy contractions un-contracted.