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168
The Tragedy of Hamlet,
 

III. iii. 37. primal. The curse of Cain. Cf. Genesis 4. 2.

III. iii. 61. lies. Is sustainable, as an action at law.

III. iii. 80. full of bread. Cf. Ezekiel 16. 49.

III. iv. 67. moor. With a quibble upon the meaning 'swarthy complexioned.'

III. iv. 98. vice. The Vice was a stock character in the Moralities. Although personifying the weaker side of human nature, he was represented as a buffoon and supplied much of the comic element in these plays.

III. iv. 102. shreds and patches. The usual interpretation is to assume that this refers to the motley dress of the Vice (cf. 'patch' = a 'pied fool'), but it may conceivably refer to the subjects the King rules, although no commentator gives authority for this assumption.

III. iv. 169. master. A word has dropped out of the earlier texts, and the present emendation 'master' is derived from the fourth Folio.

III. iv. 207. go hard But. Introduces a statement of what will happen unless overwhelming difficulties prevent it.

IV. i. 40. so, haply, slander. Added by Capell.

IV. ii. 29. The . . . body. A passage about which there have been many conjectures. If Hamlet is not designedly talking mere nonsense, a possible interpretation is: "The King is still alive (i.e., with his body), but he is not with the dead body (i.e., of Polonius)."

IV. iii. 21. convocation. The commentators maintain that this is an allusion to the famous Diet or convocation of the dignitaries of the German Empire held at Worms in 1521. It was before this Diet that Martin Luther was summoned to appear. There is no necessity of putting this far-fetched interpretation upon this passage. In John Wyclif's The Ave Maria,