Of course! They did say guilt has a funny way of showing itself. If something is to occur to remind Claudius of his crimes - say, a seeming sign of providence, or a hint that somebody knows - he might become unsettled enough to scramble and make a mistake. To that end, the actors' arrival could be very useful.

And the best part is, if luck is on your side, Claudius won't even have to know that you've had anything to do with it.

"My good lord Polonius," you ask deferentially, "what do you say we have them play? I myself love an act with a bit more substance. Maybe a tragedy, like Julius Caesar."

"Oh yes, that's a truly clever play," Polonius agrees enthusiastically. If there's one thing he can't refuse, it seems to be the opportunity to give advice. "I played Julius Caesar once myself. Brutus murdered me in the Capital. And I must say, it still astounds me that someone so close to the Caesar would betray him like that! And while I was in character, in that moment, I'd almost felt as if it was really my own best friend stabbing me in the chest. It's truly a sad tale, Julius Caesar ."

"I agree with you completely, my lord, and it really speaks volume for the quality of your acting that you were able to sympathize with your character so," you nod. "Such an end for a brilliant, beloved leader! And the shock and pain of betrayal - murder by someone who he'd considered a brother! Ah, one can contemplate those themes for a lifetime. Except such a deep, philosophical play might not suit the taste of the groundlings, who - uneducated as they are - cannot appreciate the finer subtleties of the masterpiece unlike you or I. They watch only the tales of bawdry - the promiscuous woman, the secret nights of passion - the more atrocious the better, or they sleep. We ought not to have the attendants and the serving wenches walking away with bad impressions of this fine theater company simply because they cannot appreciate caviar, my lord."

"That's true, it would be good of us to be considerate of everyone," Polonius declares magnanimously, and you can tell that he's decided on the kind of play you had in mind when his contemplative expression changes to a smug one. "My good lord Hamlet, I believe I know of a play that has elements of both. Have you ever heard of The Murder of Gonzalo? It tells the tale of a promiscuous queen who commits adultery on her king husband with his nephew Lucian. Eventually, Lucian murders the king while he sleeps, and the good king Gonzalo is betrayed by the two people he regarded as the closest of kin. It's a fine depiction of the depth of depravity of sinners, and it appeals to both the intellectuals and the plebeians. A perfect solution, if I may say so myself."

You smile. "Ah, you are very knowledgeable of the fine works of theater, my lord!"
"Oh, I do but trifle," Polonius waves with an air of false modesty, "but it's an excellent play."

"I have indeed watched The Murder of Gonzalo once," you admit, "A fine depiction of the depth of depravity indeed. I think we should do as you say, my lord Polonius. Do you think my uncle the king and my mother the queen would enjoy it?"

"Oh I dare say they would, my dear prince," Polonius bobbed his head up and down in a manner mildly resembling a clucking chicken. 

"My uncle is very well educated in the arts. Might he find the play too familiar for his tastes?" you fret, "and my mother has the purest, gentlest soul. Might she find the scene where Lucian stabs Gonzalo in the chest too violent, too bloody?"

Polonius frowns as well. "That's true... but wait! I think I have a solution, my lord! Why don't we make some changes to the play? Imagine, by Act three, everyone will be waiting with bated breath for Lucian to pull out his blade and sneak up to Gonzalo in the throne room... but he won't! Instead, they will have a pleasant conversation as everyone shift on the edge of their seats, waiting for Lucian to make his move."

"Excellent, my lord Polonius! And Gonzalo will leave the throne room alive and well, then?"

"Indeed my lord. And everyone will breathe a sigh of relief, thinking that Gonzalo will be safe. But then... Oh, but then! In the middle of the night, Lucian will slip into Gonzalo's bedroom like the serpent he is and poison the good king. No blood, no struggles, just a quiet tragedy."

"Lord Polonius, that sounds like a wonderful idea. It really enhances the insidious, serpentine nature of sinner like Lucian too. In fact, I can't think of anything more perfect for our court," You applaud. "Let's go see to the actors, shall we?"


Your status: Prince

Popularity: High

Sanity remaining: 100%

Review this story:

Copyright / Starcatcher Copyright information