Long live the king!
The play begins shortly after a new King has just been crowned. Hamlet’s father, King Hamlet, has died and his brother Claudius has taken the throne.
This line also sets an expectation, reinforced lightly throughout this scene, that an audience should be rooting for the defense of the King, one of the few unambiguous cues set in 1.1.
Of course, from Act I, Scene II onward, the play encourages the opposite expectation, as it finds itself rooting against Claudius.
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