?

Hamlet

Free Version

Upgrade subject to access all content

Difficult

That We Would Do

HAMLET-O33YBK

What is the significance of this advice from Claudius to Laertes?

“that we would do
We should do when we would; for this 'would' changes
And hath abatements and delays as many
As there are tongues, are hands, are accidents;
And then this 'should' is like a spendthrift sigh,
That hurts by easing”

A

It displays Claudius’s genuine affection for Laertes, as it is a wise and caring statement from someone who is typically more concerned with his own well-being than with the well-being of others.

B

It indicates that Claudius recognizes the unlikelihood of Hamlet’s successful revenge, since Hamlet has communicated his knowledge of Claudius’s crime but has not yet exacted revenge upon him.

C

It is a shameless attempt to exploit Laertes, as it is surprisingly poor advice from an elder who should encourage him to pause and carefully consider his actions rather than following his impulses.

D

It is an example of the disconnect between generations, because Claudius speaks in terms Laertes cannot understand and so their poignancy is lost on Laertes.

E

It conveys the fundamental emptiness of words, as Laertes is determined to avenge his father’s death regardless of what counsel Claudius may impart to him.