Friendship as demonstrated by R&G in Act 3

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Hamlet is fully aware of Rosencrantz and Guildenstern’s reasons for being in Elsinore and so he treats them with contempt and derision. He knows they are mere pawns of the king and so in his dealings with them he uses his ‘antic disposition’ at will. When, after staging The Murder of Gonzago, Hamlet manages to prove the Ghost’s story true,  he is quick to attack them for trying to ‘play upon me’ and ‘pluck out the heart of my mystery’. The images Hamlet uses to expose the reality of these two men is very fitting. He calls them sponges ‘that soaks up the king’s countenance, his rewards, and his authorities’.

Claudius continues to use Rosencrantz and Guildenstern further in Act 3 Scene 3 when he decides to send them to England with his nephew. Cladius’s concerns over Hamlet’s increased madness is growing and so he wants to put ‘fetters’ on it. Hamlet’s so-called friends are only too eager to comply:

‘We will haste us.’

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