Hamlet tells Horatio how he plotted to overcome Claudius’s scheme to have him murdered in England. He replaced the sealed letter carried by the unsuspecting Rosencrantz and Guildenstern, which called for Hamlet’s execution, with one calling for the execution of the bearers of the letter—Rosencrantz and Guildenstern themselves. He tells Horatio that he has no sympathy for Rosencrantz and Guildenstern, who betrayed him and catered to Claudius, but that he feels sorry for having behaved with such hostility toward Laertes. In Laertes’ desire to avenge his father’s death, he says, he sees the mirror image of his own desire, and he promises to seek Laertes’ good favor
As characters, Rosencrantz and Guildenstern become more sympathetic as the play goes on. In Act I, their sheer inability to focus on a topic or come to a conclusion distances the men from the reader. Rosencrantz and Guildenstern appear as fodder for jokes, not as sympathetic individuals. In Act II, they really want to help their old friend Hamlet, but they also mindlessly obey Claudius, who asks them to capture Hamlet after he kills Polonius. Unlike that of Rosencrantz and Guildenstern, Hamlet’s fate is portrayed on stage. Those familiar with the playHamletknow that he disappears from the ship and goes back to Elsinore. Although readers do not witness his travels or death, they do see his corpse in the final scene of Stoppard’s play. He dies, as do Claudius, Gertrude, and Laertes
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