“High and mighty,
You shall know I am set naked on your kingdom. Tomorrow shall I beg leave to see your kingly eyes, when I shall, first asking your pardon thereunto, recount the occasion of my sudden and more strange return.
Hamlet.” Hamlet Act 4 Scene 7.
For Hamlet’s plot till now, see Hamlet So Far.
Act 4 Scene 7. Claudius and Laertes in a huddle. Claudius was always a very persuasive dude. He’d lie, he’d cheat and he’d steal to get his way. And he’d even walk all over a dead body. He convinced Laertes’ friends he had nothing to do with the death of Polonius.
“See I told you I was innocent,” Claudius said. “You do believe I am innocent and your friend?” Claudius had pleading in his voice. He may have been a villain but he wanted to be liked too. Don’t we all?
“Why did you not prosecute the crime?”
“It was Hamlet,” Claudius said. “It was Hamlet. How could I? It would have killed his mother. I gotta tell you. I love that woman. And she would never have forgiven me. Plus the dude is more popular than Julius Caesar. You saw the play. You know how hard it was for Cassius to talk even Brutus into taking out the man. Hamlet is like that. If I didn’t use my wits and come up with a better, sneakier way, I would be dead meat. You’ve seen how the Danes get when they are angry. It takes them a while to get angry, but once they do. Man.”
“I’ve lost my dad and my sister has lost her dad. And now you see that once beautiful human being, you see how she is. I want my revenge.”
“Oh, you shall get it. You shall get it.”
Now we get our Kramer. (Link to writing rules.) Entered a messenger.
“There are letters from Prince Hamlet. One for you and one for the queen.” The messenger retires.
Claudius read his letter to himself. “Oh, you have to hear this,” He reads the letter to Laertes. Then said, “He’s coming back to Elsinore and going to tell his story. And in the nude too. Can you believe the gall of that guy? In the nude. And he called me ‘High and Mighty’. Does he know that I am his Magnanimousness. The nerve of that boy.”
“Naked or not,” Laertes said, I will stare at him teeth to teeth. And get my revenge.”
“You sure you’re up to it? You wouldn’t chicken out, would you?”
“How dare you even think a thing. He killed my dad.”
“Then I have a plan.” Claudius always had a plan. Even when he didn’t have a plan, he had a plan. “I have heard that you are an excellent fencer. Even the French say so. Why I ran into this guy from Normandy. He could do nothing but brag about your fencing skill.”
“Was it Lamond?”
“Yes, it was Lamond.”
“I knew it. What a fine fellow he is.”
“When Hamlet heard Lamond’s brag about your fencing skill, you can’t believe how angry he got. ‘I’m a prince. Why don’t people brag about my fencing skills?’ He was so jealous.”
“Jealous, eh?” Laertes said. I know. Laertes was not Canadian. But he could end his sentences with “eh” if he wanted to. “So, what’s your point?”
“You’re going to have a fencing match. And your sword will be untipped. Hamlet won’t notice. He’ll just be glad he’s back in the game and accepted at court and still has you for a friend.”
“I’ll friend that fiend. I’ll tip my sword with some very potent poison. A scratch will do the trick.”
As I said earlier, Claudius always have a backup. “Just in case your poison doesn’t work, or he doesn’t get scratched by your sword. I will give him a cup of wine with poison too. When he takes a break, he will drink it.”
Claudius said, “Just remember that no one else is to know.
Laertes agreed some more.
Then Claudius said, “What’s that sound?”
“Sounds like wailing and gnashing of teeth.”