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What a Difference a Word Makes

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If Hamlet’s first words in the play, “A little more than kin and less than kind,” are an aside, as most editors indicate by prefacing the line with the stage direction, “aside,” then this line would be Hamlet’s first and shortest soliloquy. At the very least, it would be the first time any character in the play spoke directly to the audience,
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And now, Laertes, what’s the news with you?

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King Claudius
And now, Laertes, what’s the news with you?
You told us of some suit. What is ’t, Laertes?
You cannot speak of reason to the Dane
And lose your voice. What wouldst thou beg, Laertes,
That shall not be my offer, not thy asking?

The head is not more native to the heart,
The hand more instrumental to the mouth,
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Act 1
Scene 2
Line 42

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