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Here's from Hamlet, Act 1, Scene 2

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,

Than is the throne of Denmark to thy father.

What wouldst thou have, Laertes?

I wonder what "what wouldst thou beg, Laertes, That shall not be my offer, not thy asking" means.

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    This question appears to be off-topic because it is about interpreting a stylised and antiquated literary usage. – FumbleFingers Sep 28 '14 at 21:52
  • @FumbleFingers If this is off-top, why does the site have the "Shakespeare" tag? – ivanhoescott Sep 28 '14 at 23:16
  • I have my view (this is OT Lit Crit), but that needn't imply I think all the other 35 questions with that tag are OT. For example, I see nothing at all wrong with the one about Enter Hamlet. But I can't avoid noticing that many of them have negative net vote scores, and/or are closed. – FumbleFingers Sep 28 '14 at 23:28
  • @FumbleFingers Why do you think this is OT? – ivanhoescott Sep 28 '14 at 23:38
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    I didn't say it's "too easy". I said it's Lit Crit. – FumbleFingers Sep 29 '14 at 2:17
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I umderstand it in that way: "What would You ask me for that I myself will not offer to You?"

  • Is he just asking "What would you ask me for?" in a roundabout way? – ivanhoescott Sep 28 '14 at 20:12
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    @ivanhoescott Exactly, but he's making a point of his largesse: "What can you possibly ask for that I wouldn't give you of my own desire (because I think so highly of your father) rather than as a favour you ask for and for which you would owe me gratitude?" – StoneyB on hiatus Sep 28 '14 at 21:33
  • @ivanhoescott: Yes, but a bit more than that. As the rest of this speech illustrates, Hamlet is saying "What could possibly be so difficult that you think you have to beg me for it? I'd gladly give you anything I could." – keshlam Sep 28 '14 at 21:41
  • @StoneyB Then, "what wouldst thou beg" is rather a rhetorical question meaning "you wouldn't have to ask me for anything"? – ivanhoescott Sep 28 '14 at 23:04
  • @ivanhoescott Yah. Literally it's "What do you want to ask for that I will not offer ... ? – StoneyB on hiatus Sep 28 '14 at 23:42

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