HAMLET (To Polonius)
My lord, you played once i' the university, you say?
That did I, my lord; and was accounted a good actor.
What did you enact?
I did enact Julius Caesar: I was killed i' the
Capitol; Brutus killed me.
It was a brute part of him to kill so capital a calf
there. Be the players ready?
Ay, my lord; they stay upon your patience.
Come hither, my dear Hamlet, sit by me.
No, good mother, here's metal more attractive.
O, ho! do you mark that?
Lady, shall I lie in your lap?
Lies down at OPHELIA's feet
No, my lord.
I mean, my head upon your lap?
Ay, my lord.
Do you think I meant country matters?
I think nothing, my lord.
That's a fair thought to lie between maids' legs.
What is, my lord?
Intertextuality is an academic discourse that explores the conversations between texts - it is relevant here because Shakespeare’s audience would have recognised Shakespeare’s joke about Polonius having played Julius Caesar. The hint is that the same actor could very likely have played Polonius and Caesar - and indeed there are further correlations because both characters are stabbed.
The C Word
If Hamlet is being as unpleasant as we think he is, he’s hinting at one of the rudest words in the English language. The word was certainly in existence in Shakespeare’s time (as even the most rudimentary dictionary search will explain) but perhaps wasn’t quite as problematic a word as it (rightly) is today.