Hamlet by William Shakespeare

Analysis of Act IV, Scene 6

Having been exiled from Denmark just two short scenes earlier, Hamlet is now back through an improbable plot twist: pirates. Although this scene does little other than advance the plot, the introduction of the pirates does raise one interesting twist on the theme of moral retribution. Instead of punishing the pirates for being habitual lawbreakers, Hamlet announces his intention to reward them for returning him to Denmark.

Hamlet’s letter also returns to the motif of ears and hearing. He tells Horatio, “I have words to speak in thine ear will make thee dumb,” a clear reference to the poisoning of his father by Claudius.

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