Summary Of Hamlet Essay, Research PaperSummary of Hamlet SUMMARY OF THE PLAYAct I, Scene I: The drama begins on the outer bulwarks of Elsinore palace. It is late andBernardo, a guard, is on responsibility waiting for Francisco to alleviate him from hiswatch. Bernardo is nervous because the old two darks he and Franciscohave seen a figure who appears to be the shade of the late deceasedking rolling about.
Francisco attacks, accompanied by Horatio ( Hamlet & # 8217 ; s merely friend andconfident ) . Even though Horatio dismisses the thought of a shade, the guardsstart to recite the old darks & # 8217 ; brushs. As the guards begin, theghost appears before them- much to Horatio & # 8217 ; s surprise. The guards urge Horatio to talk with the shade. Because Horatio is astudent, they feel he should be able to pass on with the shade, andtheir old efforts to speak with it have failed. Horatio & # 8217 ; s attemptsalso fail.
The scene ends with Horatio saying that he will travel and informhis friend Hamlet of these unbelievable events. Act I, Scene two: This scene opens in contrast to the first scene. The first scene takesplace on the dark, cold stray bulwarks ; this scene begins in a brightlylit tribunal, with the new male monarch, Claudius, observing his recent marrying tohis new married woman, Gertrude.
Everyone in the tribunal appears happy and joyful, except one character who issitting off to the side. He is dressed in black, the coloring material of bereavement, and does non wish what he sees. The solitary figure is Hamlet, the maincharacter of the drama. He is have oning black because it has been merely twomonths since his male parent, Hamlet senior the shade on the crenelations, diedand he still is mourning his male parent & # 8217 ; s decease.
To farther disquieted Hamlet, Claudius & # 8217 ; new bride is Hamlet & # 8217 ; s female parent, Gertrude. Hamlet is upset because his female parent married Claudius so shortly after becominga widow. To add to all the unfairnesss Hamlet is experiencing at this clip, Claudius is besides related to Hamlet. Hamlet & # 8217 ; s uncle is now his father-in-lawand Gertrude & # 8217 ; s brother-in-law is now her hubby. Claudius conducts several pieces of concern during the beginning of thisscene.
He foremost tries to take steps to forestall a war with Norway, thendiscusses Laertes & # 8217 ; petition to go forth tribunal and travel back to school. Claudiusagrees with Polonius, Laertes & # 8217 ; father, that Laertes & # 8217 ; program of traveling back toschool is a good 1. He gives Laertes permission to travel. This familial scene brings Claudius & # 8217 ; head to Hamlet. He recognizes Hamletis disturbance and he tries to do damagess and impulses Hamlet to remain in Denmark, alternatively of returning to school. After his female parent reverberations Claudius & # 8217 ; petition, Hamlet agrees to remain. Hamlet is left on phase after everyone else leaves. He speaks a soliloquyexpressing his choler at the present fortunes in his life and discusseshis depression as a consequence of these events.
The scene ends with Horatio, Marcellus and Bernardo entrance and speaking with Hamlet about the ghostthey have seen. Hamlet agrees to fall in them this coming dark to see theghost himself. Note: a monologue is the ideas of a character being expressed out loud.
These ideas trade with the true feelings of a character and give penetration into what a character is believing approximately and how his head works. This first monologue is one several spoken by Hamlet throughout the drama. Each one gives us farther penetration into what Hamlet is experiencing at the clip. Text: Act I, Scene ii & # 8212 ; & # 8212 ; & # 8212 ; & # 8212 ; & # 8212 ; & # 8212 ; & # 8212 ; & # 8212 ; & # 8212 ; & # 8212 ; & # 8212 ; & # 8212 ; & # 8212 ; & # 8212 ; & # 8212 ; & # 8212 ; & # 8212 ; & # 8212 ; & # 8212 ; & # 8212 ; & # 8212 ; & # 8212 ; & # 8212 ; & # 8212 ; & # 8212 ; Act I, Scene three: This scene opens with Laertes stating his adieu to his sister Ophelia, before he leaves for school. We find out from their treatment that Hamlethas been seeing Ophelia and is really serious about their relationship. Hehas been entirely with Ophelia on many occasions and has professed his lovefor her during these times.
He has besides given her gifts during thesevisits. Leartes, who knows about his sister & # 8217 ; s suer, attempts to warn Ophelia thatbecause Hamlet is destined to go King, he can ne’er be serious in hisrelationship with her. Hamlet may look virtuous and baronial at this clip, hewarns, but he will go forth her to carry through his responsibilities to the land when thetime comes. She promises to be careful in this relationship and re-asserts that Hamlethas ne’er taken advantage of her, nor has he of all time been anything but agentleman in their relationship. The conversation ends with Ophelialecturing her brother that he should pattern what he preaches and non fallinto any insouciant relationships unwisely, and non to worry about her. At this point, Polonius enters and gives his boy one more talk before heleaves on how to carry on himself when he goes back to school. The fatherlyadvice includes ideas on non borrowing or imparting money, because it cancause more jobs than it is deserving.
He besides tells his boy non to saythings that might do others believe he is foolish, to keep his lingua andto be careful of acquiring into wrangles, but one time in one spring a good showfor yourself. Finally, before Leartes foliages, Polonius tells him to be & # 8217 ; true to himself. & # 8217 ; In other words, if you do the right things for the rightreasons you can ne’er make any wrong to others. The scene ends with Polonius discoursing with Ophelia her relationship withHamlet.
He, like Laertes, does non swear Hamlet & # 8217 ; s purposes, becauseHamlet is immature and immature work forces have no honor ; they have merely one thing ontheir minds- sex. Although Ophelia has no ground to mistrust Hamlet & # 8217 ; sintentions, she obeys her male parent & # 8217 ; s wants and agrees she will non seeHamlet any more. Text: Act I, Scene iii & # 8212 ; & # 8212 ; & # 8212 ; & # 8212 ; & # 8212 ; & # 8212 ; & # 8212 ; & # 8212 ; & # 8212 ; & # 8212 ; & # 8212 ; & # 8212 ; & # 8212 ; & # 8212 ; & # 8212 ; & # 8212 ; & # 8212 ; & # 8212 ; & # 8212 ; & # 8212 ; & # 8212 ; & # 8212 ; & # 8212 ; & # 8212 ; & # 8212 ; Act I, Scene four: It is the dark following Horatio & # 8217 ; s first brush with the shade and itfinds him, the guards and Hamlet on the platform waiting for the shade. There is a jubilation traveling on in the palace and Hamlet explains toHoratio that it is customary for the male monarch to keep a jubilation wherecannons are shot off in honor of the King & # 8217 ; s wellness. This jubilation issomething Hamlet does non hold with ; it is excessively inordinate and othercountries look upon the Danes as foolish because of it. The shade appears and Hamlet, recognizing that it does look like his father-the old king- , approaches it and asks that it speak to him.
At this point, Hamlet doesn & # 8217 ; t cognize whether or non the shade is at that place for good or evilpurposes. The shade beckons Hamlet. When Hamlet considers traveling with theghost, Horatio and Marcellus seek to deter him.
They are concerned forhis safety. If the shade is at that place for evil intents, it might take Hamletto his decease. Hamlet forces his manner past them and follows the shade. Thescene ends with Horatio and Marcellus following Hamlet to seek and protecthim. Text: Act I, Scene iv & # 8212 ; & # 8212 ; & # 8212 ; & # 8212 ; & # 8212 ; & # 8212 ; & # 8212 ; & # 8212 ; & # 8212 ; & # 8212 ; & # 8212 ; & # 8212 ; & # 8212 ; & # 8212 ; & # 8212 ; & # 8212 ; & # 8212 ; & # 8212 ; & # 8212 ; & # 8212 ; & # 8212 ; & # 8212 ; & # 8212 ; & # 8212 ; & # 8212 ; Act I, Scene V: On another portion of the platform, the shade tells Hamlet that he is indeedHamlet & # 8217 ; s male parent and that he was murdered.
The shade asks Hamlet to revengehis & # 8216 ; most foul, strange, and unnatural slaying & # 8217 ; and Hamlet heartily agrees. Hamlet is shocked when the shade goes on to state him that he was murderedby his ain brother, Claudius. Unlike the narrative Claudius told the tribunal, that a snake stung and killed the old male monarch, the shade tells Hamlet thatduring his afternoon sleep in the grove Claudius crept in and poured poisonin the male monarch & # 8217 ; s ear. The shade goes on to state Hamlet about how Hamlet & # 8217 ; s ain female parent wasadulterous with Claudius, before the shade & # 8217 ; s decease.
He alos has Hamletpromise him that he will go forth her workss to be judged and punished by God, and that Hamlet should non take retaliation on her himself. The morning comes, coercing the shade to return to the beastly underworld he must populate, because of the unlawful workss he did prior to his ain decease. Hamlet is really angry about the events the shade told him of, and swearsthat he will retrieve the shade and what the shade asked of him. He alsoswears that he will bury all fiddling affairs and that his life will befocused on one event, revenging his male parent & # 8217 ; s slaying. Horatio and Marcellus find him and Hamlet has them swear that they willreveal to no one the events environing the shade.
The shade calls up frombelow for them to curse when they seem hesistant to make so. Before the sceneends, Hamlet warns his friends that he will set on an & # 8216 ; fantastic temperament & # 8217 ; for everyone to see. In other words, he will feign to be brainsick until hecan avenge his male parent & # 8217 ; s decease. Text: Act I, Scene v & # 8212 ; & # 8212 ; & # 8212 ; & # 8212 ; & # 8212 ; & # 8212 ; & # 8212 ; & # 8212 ; & # 8212 ; & # 8212 ; & # 8212 ; & # 8212 ; & # 8212 ; & # 8212 ; & # 8212 ; & # 8212 ; & # 8212 ; & # 8212 ; & # 8212 ; & # 8212 ; & # 8212 ; & # 8212 ; & # 8212 ; & # 8212 ; & # 8212 ; Act II, Scene I: As we find out subsequently in the scene, seemingly Hamlet has been following theplan he told Horatio about, seting on an & # 8216 ; fantastic disposition. & # 8217 ; The scene opens with Polonius directing Reynaldo to Wittenberg to giveLaertes money.
Although Reynaldo & # 8217 ; s quest at first appears straight-forward, Polonius besides gives Reynaldo the added responsibility of descrying on Laertes. BecausePolonius is concerned for his household name, he wants to happen out all aboutLaertes & # 8217 ; actions and goings-on. Even though Reynaldo provinces that he was traveling to do some discreetinquires into Laertes & # 8217 ; actions, he is shocked when Polonius tells him to dowhatever he can, short of dishonoring Laertes, to happen out what Laertes isup to ; including doing up narratives about incidents that didn & # 8217 ; t go on inhopes of liberating work forces & # 8217 ; s linguas to state narratives refering Leartes thatReynaldo may non hold heard about. Even though Reynaldo doesn & # 8217 ; t agree withPolonius & # 8217 ; manner of garnering information, he gives in to Polonius & # 8217 ; petition. Ophelia enters as Reynaldo leaves and her male parent, seeing that she isdistressed, asks her what is disturbing her. Ophelia relates a strangeencounter she has merely had with Hamlet. He came to see her in completedissarray.
His apparels were a muss and his visual aspect was pale and sallow. She goes on to state that Hamlet grabbed her manus and studied her at armslength. He didn & # 8217 ; Ts say anything, but after a perusing of her face he shookhis caput threee times and gave out a lament that was hapless and profound. Hethen dropped her arm and, without taking his eyes off Ophelia, walked outof the room. Polonius, believing that Hamlet is still frantically in love with Ophelia, believes his petition for Ophelia to halt seeing Hamlet is the cause of hisrecent evident lunacy.
He tells Ophelia that they must describe thisincident to the King. They leave, after Polonius chastises himself formaking what appears to be a incorrect opinion sing Hamlet & # 8217 ; s truefeelings for Ophelia. Text: Act II, Scene i & # 8212 ; & # 8212 ; & # 8212 ; & # 8212 ; & # 8212 ; & # 8212 ; & # 8212 ; & # 8212 ; & # 8212 ; & # 8212 ; & # 8212 ; & # 8212 ; & # 8212 ; & # 8212 ; & # 8212 ; & # 8212 ; & # 8212 ; & # 8212 ; & # 8212 ; & # 8212 ; & # 8212 ; & # 8212 ; & # 8212 ; & # 8212 ; & # 8212 ; Act II, Scene two: The action takes topographic point two months after Hamlet has met with the shade. Thescene opens with Claudius and Gertrude speaking to two of Hamlet & # 8217 ; s friends, Rosencrantz and Guildenstern. It seems that Hamlet has been actingstrangely for the past twosome of months, and no 1 is able to happen outwhy. Although Gertrude conjectures it is because of the decease of his male parent andher precipitate matrimony, Claudius is non so certain this is the ground.
BecauseClaudius and Gertrude are unable to happen out the ground for Hamlet & # 8217 ; smadness they send for Rosencrantz and Guildenstern with the hopes that theywill be able to happen out the truth. Both gentlemen agree to descry on Hamletto find out the cause of his lunacy after Gertrude tells them they willgain the male monarch & # 8217 ; s money, thanks and acknowledgment. Rosencrantz and Guildenstern leave to happen Hamlet. Polonius enters at thesame clip as the couriers sent to Norway return with intelligence regardingFortinbras. Polonius tells the King and Queen that he has found out thecause of Hamlet & # 8217 ; s lunacy, and will state them after they hear the intelligence fromthe couriers. Voltimand and Cornelius enter and study to the male monarch that they met withFortinbras & # 8217 ; uncle and have found a manner to halt Fortinbras & # 8217 ; program to attackDenmark. The uncle, after happening out the true end of Fortinbras & # 8217 ; ground forces, rebukes Fortinbras for his workss and tells him to bury this program. Fortinbras obeys his uncle & # 8217 ; s wants and with his uncle & # 8217 ; s assist decides touse his ground forces to assail the & # 8220 ; Polacks.
& # 8221 ; The male monarch looks over a paper that hasFortinbras & # 8217 ; programs for traversing safely through Denmark on his manner to fightthe Polacks, and turns his attending to Polonius. Polonius tells the King and Queen about his intuition that Hamlet & # 8217 ; s madnessis caused by Ophelia & # 8217 ; s rejecting Hamlet & # 8217 ; s fondnesss. Although the queenbelieves Polonius & # 8217 ; address is excessively tedious, and chastises him for hisround-about ways, he brushes her off and continues with his theories.
Asproof of his intuitions, he reads a missive Hamlet wrote to Ophelia thatexpresses his love and feelings for her. Sing that the male monarch and queendon & # 8217 ; t agree with his premises as whole heartedly as he does, Poloniustries to turn out his theory by nearing Hamlet himself. He ushers the Kingand Queen out as Hamlet attacks. Although Polonius tries his best to trap down Hamlet & # 8217 ; s ideas, he fails. Hamlet non merely manages to hedge Polonius & # 8217 ; inquiries, but he seizes theopportunity and slanders Polonius and his foolish, tampering ways withoutPolonius & # 8217 ; realisation. Polonius leaves after recognizing that there is a lotof significance in Hamlet & # 8217 ; s harangues.
Rosencrantz and Guildenstern enter and Hamlet greets them dearly. Hamlet is pleasant and cheerful to them until he finds out that they arethere to descry on him and study to the King the ground for Hamlet & # 8217 ; s lunacy. Although Rosencrantz and Guildenstern are hesitating to acknowledge they were sentfor, they can non deny it farther when Hamlet convinces them that he knowsthey were sent for. The focal point of the conversation alterations to moving and the theater whenRosencrantz informs Hamlet that participants ( entertainers ) are on their manner tothe castle to execute a drama for the King.
They discuss the usage of childactors in the theater and Hamlet takes another chance to insultPolonius when he comes in to state Hamlet about the participants. When Hamletmakes a comment about a & # 8216 ; just girl & # 8217 ; in a drama, Polonius believes he ishinting at Ophelia. They are interrupted by the entryway of the participants.Hamlet greets the participants heartily and asks the leader to declaim a transition heonce heard participant speak.
Hamlet remembered the narration because the playerspoke it in such an honest and passionate manner. The participant recites a passageconcern ing the death of Priam, during the Trojan war. After the speech,Hamlet asks Polonius to take excellent care of the players and to find themquarters.
Hamlet talks with the First Player about inserting some linesthat Hamlet will make up into the play they are presenting tomorrow. Theplayer agrees to Hamlet’s request and leaves. Rosencrantz and Guildensternleave and Hamlet is alone on stage to give his second soliloquy. Hamlet is angry with himself for procrastinating and failing to takerevenge for his father’s death. He is upset because he is unable to showthe passion in real life that the player can show on stage. He can’tbelieve that an actor can show anger and even cry for a fictitious eventwhen he can’t, despite all his reasons to show these emotions. He tries toincite his passion by stating events that would make him angry, butrealizes all he is doing is talking about what he should do. Realizing thathe isn’t further helping himself with these speeches, he makes a plan thatwill give him the proof he needs to show Claudius’ guilt in Hamlet’sfather’s death.
Because there is still doubt about whether or not the ghost was Hamlet’sfather asking Hamlet to avenge his death, or an evil spirit trying to getHamlet into trouble, Hamlet decides to get proof of Claudius’ guilt beforeproceeding further. Hamlet believes he can obtain his proof by watchingClaudius’ reaction to a murder acted out by the players similar to that ofHamlet’s father’s murder. Text: Act II, Scene ii—————————————————————————Act III, Scene i:This scene opens with Claudius, the King, asking Rosencrantz andGuildenstern if they have discovered the cause of Hamlet’s madness. Afteradmitting they did not find the cause, but were treated well by Hamlet,they inform the King and Queen that Hamlet is happy that there is going tobe a play presented tomorrow and he hopes that Claudius and Gertrude willattend. Pleased that there is something that amuses Hamlet, they bothdecide to attend the play and they urge Rosencrantz and Guildenstern to tryand stimulate his interest further. Claudius asks Gertrude to leave beca so that he and Polonius can observe aclandestine meeting they set up between Hamlet and Ophelia. They tellOphelia to pretend she is praying and they go and hide.
Hamlet enters andgives a soliloquy on his thoughts about himself committing suicide. He seesOphelia, and when she tries to return some gifts that he had given her, heclaims he never gave her any. They have a discussion wherein Hamlet deniesever loving Ophelia and berating her and women in general for theirtrickery and pretentiousness. When Hamlet leaves, Claudius and Polonius enter. Claudius is convinced thatHamlet’s madness does not stem from his love for Ophelia, but that it issomething else that is afflicting his soul.
Claudius realizes that Hamlet’sactions are a danger to those around him. He decides to send Hamlet toEngland, hoping a change of atmosphere will settle his heart. The sceneends with Claudius stating that Hamlet should be watched. Text: Act III, Scene i—————————————————————————Act III, Scene ii:Hamlet gives some last minute instructions to the players and they proceedto get ready to perform the play. Hamlet confides in Horatio that he has aplan to test his uncle’s guilt. He tells Horatio that he has asked theplayers to reinact the murder of Hamlet’s father.
By seeing Claudius’reaction to the murder, Hamlet will know for sure whether or not the ghostwas telling the truth. Horatio agrees to watch the king’s reaction. The play, The Mousetrap, is introduced and gets underway. When the murderscene is enacted, Claudius calls for lights and storms out. Hamlet andHoratio discuss the king’s reactions and both are convinced that Claudiuskilled the old king. Rosencrantz and Guildenstern enter, tell Hamlet the king is very upset andthen they ask him why he has been so upset lately. Hamlet, tired of theirmeddling, confronts them and demands to know why they are trying all thesegames to get information from him. He tells them that he is too smart to becaught in their traps.
Polonius enters and tells Hamlet that the Queenwishes to speak with him. Text: Act III, Scene ii—————————————————————————Act III, Scene iii:This scene gives insight into Claudius’ thoughts and gives the audienceproof regarding Hamlet’s and the ghost’s assertions that Claudius killedHamlet’s father. The king, frightened, prepares to send Hamlet to England, with Rosencrantzand Guildenstern to accompany him. Polonius enters and tells the King thatGertrude is going to talk to Hamlet and try and come to an understandingregarding his madness, while he (Polonius) hides and listens to theconversation. Polonius leaves and Claudius is left on stage. In Claudius’ soliloquy, he admits to killing his brother and starts torealize the difficulties he is in. He tries to attone for his sins bypraying, but he finds that although he can say the words to ask forforgiveness, he doesn’t believe what he is saying. Unbeknownst to Claudius,Hamlet enters while Claudius is at prayer.
Although this seems like theperfect opportunity for Hamlet, a chance to kill Claudius after provingClaudius’ guilt in the murder, Hamlet refuses to go ahead with the deed. Heis afraid that because Claudius is praying, Claudius’ sins will beforgiven. Because Hamlet doesn’t want Claudius to have a chance to go toheaven, or to purgatory where Hamlet’s father now resides, he leaves. NOTE: It is ironic that when Hamlet has an opportunity to kill Claudius and get away with killing him, he hesitates because he doesn’t want there to be a chance that Claudius wouldn’t suffer in the afterlife. What Hamlet didn’t know was that Claudius couldn’t pray and if he had killed Claudius, he would have had his revenge. Another thing to note, if Hamlet kills Claudius now, the deaths that occur later in the play would not have happened. Text: Act III, Scene iii—————————————————————————Act III, Scene iv:Polonius hides behind a curtain as Hamlet enters into mother’s chamber.
When the Queen is confronted by an angry and erratic Hamlet, she panics andscreams for help. When Polonius hears her scream, he thinks Hamlet istrying to kill her and he yells out. Hamlet, who suspects that Claudius ishiding behind the curtain, draws his sword and stabs at the sound. The Queen, horrified at what Hamlet has done, tries to chastise him, butHamlet says his deed is nowhere as bad as killing a king and marrying theold king’s wife.
Hamlet goes on to explain to the Queen all that hebelieves she has done wrong, including wronging her old husband’s memory. He tries to show her the differences between the old king andClaudius,attributing only good qualities to his father and negativequalities to Claudius. Hamlet gets excited when confronted with Gertrude’s misplaced love; hedoesn’t understand how she can forget her husband so easily.
The ghostenters. The Queen thinks Hamlet is mad (crazy), because she cannot see theghost Hamlet sees. The ghost reminds Hamlet that Hamlet is to leave thejudgement of Gertrude to God and not to harm her. Hamlet tries to convinceGertrude that the ghost is real, but fails. Hamlet tells Gertrude to forgo any romantic encounters with Claudius, tosave herself, and tries to get her to help with the plans he is making forrevenge on Claudius. He asks her to tell Claudius that she believes thatHamlet is of sound mind, that he is only pretending to be mad. He alsowarns her not to try and play the type of game he is playing. Hamlet,dragging Polonius’ body behind him, leaves a very shaken Gertrude afterreminding her that he must leave for England.
Text: Act III, Scene iv—————————————————————————Act IV, Scene i:Gertrude explains to Claudius that she believes Hamlet is truly mad andthat as proof, he has killed Polonius and taken away the body. Claudius,after being thankful that he wasn’t the one killed, asks where Hamlet went. She cannot tell him, and Claudius tries to comfort her by telling her thatthey will soon be rid of him, because of his trip. Claudius calls forRosencrantz and Guildenstern.
After telling them that Hamlet has killedPolonius, he asks them to go and find Hamlet, get Polonius’ body and to putPolonius’ body in the chapel. The scene ends with Claudius informing Gertrude that they must inform thecourt of what has happened and the reasons why they are sending Hamletaway. He is afraid that if he doesn’t present Hamlet as being the onlyguilty person, people might start to think Claudius had something to dowith the murder. Text: Act IV, Scene i—————————————————————————Act IV, Scene ii:Rosencrantz and Guildenstern come across Hamlet, who has by this timesafely hidden Polonius’ body. Although Rosencrantz and Guildenstern demandthat Hamlet tell them where the body is he refuses. They then tell Hamletthe King wishes to see him; they leave with him. Text: Act IV, Scene ii—————————————————————————Act IV, Scene iii:Claudius informs some of his Lords of his plan to send Hamlet away..
Hetells them that a dangerous man cannot run loose, and that Hamlet will begiven the opportunity to think about his crimes; Hamlet will not bepunished. Hamlet, according to Claudius, is trying to protect his secret ofkilling the old king. If he sends Hamlet away and Hamlet meets with an”accident”, then he can maintain his innocence by claiming he previouslyhad the opportunity to have Hamlet killed, but he choose to send him awayinstead.
When Hamlet is brought before Claudius, he at first doesn’t tell the kingwhere the body is. Hamlet waits for his own opportunity to inform the kingof Polonius’ whereabouts. The king sends some attendants to retrieve thebody. Claudius informs Hamlet that Hamlet must be sent away immediately, becauseof Polonius’ murder.
When Hamlet is taken away, and Claudius is left onstage alone, we are told that Claudius is preparing a trap for Hamlet. Claudius is sending notes to the king of England informing him that Hamletis to be executed immediately after his arrival. Claudius is looking outfor his own self-interest.
Text: Act IV, Scene iii—————————————————————————Act IV, Scene iv:Fortinbras’ army is on the outskirts of Denmark. Fortinbras sends hiscaptain in to tell Claudius how his campaign went. Hamlet, Rosencrantz and Guildenstern meet up with the captain, who informsthem the army that they see is Fortinbras’. The Captain discusses thefutility of the battle that they fought, where thousands of men died, overa barren patch of land. The captain leaves and Rosencrantz and Guildensternpreceed Hamlet to the ship; they are taking Hamlet to England. Hamlet is left alone on stage. In this soliloquy, he compares his inactionto date with Fortinbras’ action.
Once again his view of himself isnegative. He criticizes himself for the things he has still leftunaccomplished. NOTE: There is a parallel between this soliloquy and the one in Act II, Scene ii. Hamlet is comparing his inadequacies and indecisions with other characters who appear to be more direct and willing to take the initiative, and who have better control over their emotions. The reader is to be reminded of the comparison between The First Player’s show of emotion and Hamlet’s inabiltiy to show that type of emotion. Although Hamlet has many valid reasons to pursue his revenge against Claudius, he has held off. Fortinbras has no real reason to attack Poland, but he will because it provides him with a task which reflects his personality. Text: Act IV, Scene iv—————————————————————————Act IV, Scene v:Gertrude encounters a “mad” Ophelia in this scene.
Unlike Hamlet’s feignedmadness, Ophelia really is insane. She sings about death and behaveserratically. Claudius enters and Ophelia’s songs hint at grief regarding her father’sdeath. Claudius is amazed at Ophelia’s condition and asks how long she hasbeen like this. When Ophelia leaves, he asks Horatio to follow her and toprotect her from doing herself harm.
While Claudius laments all the misfortunes that have befallen Opheliarecently, a noise is heard outside the castle. Laertes has come back toElsinore after he hears about his father’s death. Laertes believes thatClaudius had something to do with the death of Polonius. Although Laertes is upset over the events that have recently occurred andis seeking revenge against Claudius for his father’s death, Claudiusmanages to talk him out wanting to harm him. Claudius uses his courage andcunning to disarm Laertes and convinces him that all Laertes’ misfortunesare caused by Hamlet. Text: Act IV, Scene v—————————————————————————Act IV, Scene vi:Horatio meets with sailors who have messages from Hamlet. They give Horatioa letter which recounts Hamlet’s adventures on his sea voyage. It seemsthat pirates attacked the ship that Hamlet was on and through misadventure,Hamlet was captured and taken prisoner.
Everyone else on the ship escapedunharmed and continued on to England. The note also tells Horatio thatHamlet has an incredible story to tell him when he arrives back tomorrow, astory that will make Horatio “dumb”. Text: Act IV, Scene vi—————————————————————————Act IV, Scene vii:Claudius convinces Laertes that he is innocent in Laertes’ father’s deathand that Hamlet is to blame. A messenger enters with Hamlet’s letter and Claudius is amazed to find thatHamlet is still alive. Claudius reads the letter to Laertes. Hamlet iswriting to inform the King that he has returned to Denmark and tha hewishes to meet with Claudius tomorrow. Claudius, concerned about Hamlet’s untimely return, advises Laertes to havea dueling match with Hamlet. In this match, Claudius plans to have Laerteskill Hamlet.
They plan to cover the tip of Laertes’s sword with poison. Once Hamlet is struck with the sword, he will die. Hamlet’s death will endClaudius’ worries about anyone finding out about his involvement in hisbrother’s death. To further ensure Hamlet’s demise, Claudius intends topresent Hamlet, if he scores the first “hit”, with a poisoned goblet ofwine. This way, Hamlet will be kille