ACT IV, SCENE II
Hamlet has just hidden Polonius' corpse when he hears Rosencrantz and Guildenstern calling him.
They come in, followed by guards, and demand to know where the body is. He answers arrogantly that a
king's son does not need to reply to the demands of "a sponge." When Rosencrantz reacts,
Hamlet describes the way a servile courtier is like a sponge, and is greeted with a hostile, "I
understand you not, my lord." "I am glad of it," says Hamlet, "a knavish speech
sleeps in a foolish ear." After more repartee about the body, during which Hamlet shocks
Guildenstern by asserting that "the King is a thing," Hamlet seems to allow them to take him
prisoner, but then suddenly dashes off in the opposite direction, shouting "Hide fox, and all
after," the beginning of a children's game similar to hide and seek.
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