Points to Ponder
"Drunkenness is, as we know, a national trait; and in bringing this charge Hamlet would also seem to be condemning his father and his grandfather before him. But however this may be the nation is not so drunken as Hamlet supposes — has, indeed, singular fits of sobriety, since throughout five acts of Shakespeare's longest tragedy, we do not see a single drunken man. Claudius, on every occasion, (how unlike Lepidus in Antony and Cleopatra!) is in full possession of his faculties. We know of Claudius's drinking on two occasions only: (1) when he carouses in honor of Hamlet's decision to remain at Elsinore; (2) during the duel between Hamlet and Laertes" [Howard Mumford Jones, The Charges Against King Claudius]. Read on...