Hamlet Questions Act 4 Scene 6-7: How does Hamlet get back to Denmark
- Hamlet has been sent away to England by his uncle/stepfather, Claudius, the king. However, he writes to Horatio to tell him that, having been only two days at sea, “a pirate of very warlike appointment” began to chase his ship (4.6.15-16). In the following battle, the pirates took Hamlet captive; they treated him well and brought him back to Denmark. He has, in return, promised to do them a favor.
3. King and Laertes have three plans actually. They plan to challenge Hamlet to a duel with Laertes, in which Laertes will have a sharp, lethal and unbaited sword so he can actually stab Hamlet and kill him. Normally swords in fencing matches have and had blunt ends so nobody would get hurt. Laertes had a reputation as a good swordsman and so both he and Claudius thought that he was likely to be able to hit Hamlet (Unfortunately Hamlet has been practicing in secret and is much much better than anyone thinks). Laertes then suggests that he should have a sword with poison on it, which is the second plan. Claudius then suggests a further “back or stay” by having a cup of poisoned wine on hand to refresh Hamlet when he gets hot.