has before expressed his concern for Gertrude, appears before Hamlet and reminds him to take pity on the Queen and to "step between her and her fighting soul." Hamlet, with now a calm and civil tone, urges Gertrude to confess her sins. Horatio pleads with the apparition to reveal its intentions:.stay, illusion; If thou hast any sound or use of voice, Speak to me, If there be any good thing to be done. The Ghost of the late king of Denmark appears and promptly withdraws into the night. Rosencrantz brings the guarded Hamlet before the King: King : Now, Hamlet, where's Polonius? Hamlet is not yet sure how he will carry out his revenge, but he vows to think about nothing else until Claudius has suffered for his betrayal.
Hamlet reminds Horatio of the horrible events that have transpired, and asks him if it is not his right to feel anger and thirst for vengeance. Had Hamlet killed Claudius early in the play, we would have felt some sympathy for the King while Hamlet would have been just another angry son avenging the death of his father. The King has placed his bets on Hamlet, and has wagered a fine collection of goods: Barbary horses, French rapiers and poniards, and gun carriages. Good night, sweet prince, And flights of angels sing thee to thy rest!
The King rises and Hamlet responds "What, frighted with false fire?" (3.2.263 chiding the King for being frightened by a mere play. There was also a tradition, dating back to the Bible, in which a surviving brother would take up the wife of a deceased brother. Laertes, knowing he will be dead in moments, exclaims "I am justly kill'd with mine own treachery" (5.2.297). The King is now forced to rely upon Ophelia for information about his nephew. Moreover, Claudius cannot enrage the people of Denmark, who adore the Prince and would surely rise up in protest. Hamlet makes the two admit that they are spies of the King and then gives them an answer to the burning question: the trouble is, simply put, melancholia. But in the ensuing scuffle, they exchange rapiers, and Hamlet pierces Laertes with the poisoned sword. Hamlet is interrupted gratefully by Horatio, along with Barnardo and Marcellus. These "thieves of mercy" have released the Prince, on the condition that he will repay them when he returns to Denmark. Hamlet, on his way to his mother's chamber, sees the King kneeling in prayer, and his first thought is how simple a task it would be to plunge a sword into his uncle's back. Claudius dispatches two of his courtiers, Cornelius and Voltimand, to Norway as peacekeepers, and he grants Laertes, who has come to Denmark specifically for the coronation of Claudius, permission to return to his studies in France.