The Shakespeare Conference: SHK 9.1172 Wednesday, 18 November 1998.
Date: Tuesday, 17 Nov 1998 17:20:44 -0800
Subject: Laertes as King
Each time I read Hamlet I am struck by the outburst in IV.v, shortly
after Ophelia's mad scene, where a messenger rushes in to announce that
the people are rioting (maybe a little strong) and have elected Laertes
to be king. It is clear in the text that Laertes is acting under the
motivation that Claudius has murdered Polonious; however, it is a
stretch to suggest that the death of one statesman could incite such
violence as the coup of the ruling king. What is the current scholarly
justification for this action, its strange insertion, and fast departure
from the text?