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October 22, 2005

Sponges?

Shakespeare, Hamlet (Acts 3-5) -- Drama as Literature (EL 250)

ROSENCRANTZ:
Take you me for a sponge, my lord?

HAMLET:
Ay, sir, that soaks up the king's countenance, his rewards, his authorities. But such officers do the king best service in the end: he keeps them, like an ape, in the corner of his jaw; first mouthed, to be last swallowed: when he needs what you have gleaned, it is but squeezing you, and, sponge, you shall be dry again.

I thought this was a great line. It showed that Hamlet knew that Rosencrantz and Guildenstern are 'working' for Claudius. The sponge idea was excellent. Rosencrantz is soaking up what the King is telling him to do and not spilling. Also when the king needs him or Guildenstern, he squeezes them out to fulfill his orders, then they are dry again and will soak them with new orders.

Posted by Denamarie at October 22, 2005 01:11 PM

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Comments

I just thought that was Hamlet's way of insulting them - making fun of how trivial their job is. But yeah, that line also shows what Rosencrantz and Guildenstern's duties are.

Posted by: Kayla Sawyer at October 22, 2005 08:43 PM

I've already read a few blogged complaints about the way Hamlet treats poor Ophelia, but we see here that Hamlet also uses his own friends. Remember what happens to them! (That's another power coup that Hamlet attains by his literary skill -- in this case, a forged letter.)

Posted by: Dennis G. Jerz at October 22, 2005 09:19 PM

I agree, Hamlet treats everyone poorly. Everyone except Horatio. I think he treats everyone this way because of the events with his father's death, uncle and mother's marriage, and the sighting of the ghost, he doesn't trust anybody anymore. He really doesn't even trust himself.

see my blog: http://blogs.setonhill.edu/LorinSchumacher/2005/10/horatio_the_con.html#comments

Posted by: Lorin Schumacher at October 23, 2005 10:05 AM

Yeah that's true, Lorin. Something snaps within Hamlet in the beginning and he acts like everyone is the bad guy, which I guess is true most of the time.

Has anyone ever read Rosecrantz and Guildenstern Are Dead?

Posted by: AmandaNichols at October 23, 2005 02:09 PM

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