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Key Questions and Answers

Summary Key Questions and Answers
How does Hamlet’s view of Rosencrantz and Guildenstern change?

In the beginning of the play, Hamlet greets Rosencrantz and Guildenstern as old friends. But on the ship journey to England, he discovers that they are working with Claudius and that they carry a request from Claudius for the king of England to behead Hamlet. Hamlet replaces the request with his own order, asking that Rosencrantz and Guildenstern be executed. He has his “old friends” murdered because he believes they deserve to die for betraying him: “Their defeat / Does by their own insinuation grow.” (5.2.62–63)