Asked • 06/05/19

Was the sealed letter ordering Hamlet's death a Biblical reference?

Is the sealed letter that Rosencrantz and Guildenstern carry that orders Hamlet's execution a deliberate reference to the Biblical [King David]( having [Uriah the Hittite]( carry a letter to [Joab]( ordering his death? > In the morning it happened that David wrote a letter to Joab **and sent it by the hand of Uriah**. And he wrote in the letter, saying, “Set Uriah in the forefront of the hottest battle, and retreat from him, that he may be struck down and die.” So it was, while Joab besieged the city, that he assigned Uriah to a place where he knew there were valiant men. Then the men of the city came out and fought with Joab. And some of the people of the servants of David fell; and Uriah the Hittite died also. (2 Samuel 11:14-18, NIV) If so, how likely would it have been that Shakespeare's original audience would've understood the reference?

1 Expert Answer


Scott C. answered • 07/01/19

Current English Teacher with 25 Years of Experience

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