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Bradley, A. C. Shakespearean Tragedy: Lectures on Hamlet, Othello, King Lear, Macbeth.
2nd ed. London: Macmillan, 1905.
PAGE 134

an elation at first almost hysterical -- Hamlet treats Rosencrantz and Guildenstern, who are sent to him, with undisguised contempt. Left to himself, he declares that now he could

                 drink hot blood,
And do such bitter business as the day
Would quake to look on.

He has been sent for by his mother, and is going to her chamber; and so vehement and revengeful is his mood that he actually fancies himself in danger of using daggers to her as well as speaking them.1

     In this mood, on his way to his mother's chamber, he comes upon the King, alone, kneeling, conscience-stricken and attempting to pray. His enemy is delivered into his hands.

Now might I do it pat, now he is praying:
And now I'll do it: and so he goes to heaven
And so am I revenged.2 That would be scanned.

He scans it; and the sword that he drew at the words, 'And now I'll do it,' is thrust back into its sheath. If he killed the villain now he would send his soul to heaven; and he would fain kill soul as well as body.

     That this again is an unconscious excuse for delay is now pretty generally agreed, and it is needless to describe again the state of mind which, on the view explained in our last lecture, is the real cause of Hamlet's failure here. The first five words he

1O heart, lose not thy nature, let not ever
The soul of Nero enter this firm bosom:
Nero, who put to death his mother who had poisoned her husband. This passage is surely remarkable. And so are the later words (III. iv. 28):
A bloody deed! almost as bad, good mother,
As kill a king, and marry with his brother.
   Are we to understand that at this time he really suspected her of complicity in the murder? We must remember that the Ghost had not told him she was innocent of that.
   2I am inclined to think that the note of interrogation put after 'revenged' in a late Quarto is right.

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