Thursday, May 10, 2012

Hamlet Scene

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Act IV Scene i

1. How does Gertitude seek to shield Hamlet n this scene?

The Queen reveals to Claudius that Hamlet has killed Polonius, who was

hiding behind the arras in her room. She does not tell him that Hamlet

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suspects Claudius of killing the King; instead she states that she is

convinced that Hamlet is mad. Even though the Queen seems to be protecting Hamlet, her regard for Claudius seems undiminished in spite of her sons accusations

. What are Claudius’ chief concerns with regard to the murder?

In typical fashion, Claudius is only concerned with saving his own skin. He now

knows for sure that Hamlet appears to be a real threat to him and is more eager

than ever to send the Prince off to England. He justifies his action by saying

that Hamlet is a potential threat to the lives of his subjects. Like a good king,

he will protect them from the madness of the Prince. The death of Polonius

has provided Claudius with the perfect opportunity of getting rid of his most

dangerous foe. Resultantly Claudius’ two main concerns about this murder are the fact that he decides to hasten the preparation for Hamlet’s banishment to England and two is to secure the agreement and participation of his counselors in his plans, in order to remove suspicion for himself.

Act IV Scene ii

1. If this scene were omitted, what difference would it make to the play?

Primarily, this scene reveals Hamlets increasing animosity toward

Rosencrantz and Guildenstern, his childhood friends whom he believes have

deserted him in favor of service to Claudius. Structurally, this scene

functions as a bridge between the plotting of the King against Hamlet and

Hamlets attempt to murder the King. Also if this scene were to be omitted, no one would know where Polonius’ disappeared to.

Act IV Scene iii

1. a) What reason does Claudius give for not proceeding with the legal action against Hamlet?

Because Hamlet is a popular Prince, Claudius cannot punish him too severely in Denmark for murdering Polonius. Sending Hamlet to England seems the only remedy to Claudius desperate situation. Claudius knows Hamlet cannot be punished in a court of law, since the distracted multitude of people in the court love Hamlet and will avoid punishing him.

b) Give other reasons.

Another reason would be because, Hamlet is part of royalty and proceeding with legal action would cause another family feud and chaos in the kingdom. At this moment Claudius is trying to avoid getting caught for the murder. The public would look down upon that as well.

. a) What are the details of the King’s plan?

Claudius orders Guildenstern to prepare Hamlet immediately for a speedy departure. G and R will escort Hamlet to the ship. England has recently fallen under Denmarks command and must pay tribute to King Claudius. In secret letters written to the English King, Claudius instructs England to murder Hamlet upon his arrival.

b) Why is he confident that it will be carried out?

Denmark is now in good relations with England, since the King has sent letter to the King of England he is confident that the plan shall be carried out.

Act IV Scene iv

1. Of what importance is the first appearance of Fortinbras?

In the first and second acts of the play, we heard of a young Fortinbras, impatient under his enforced inaction and anxious to redeem the land lost by his father to Denmark. He was prevented from carrying out his greater enterprise. Now we meet him at the head of his bend of soldiers, going to expose his own life and the lives of his men “to gain a little patch of ground that hath in it no profit but the name.”

. What points of comparison and contrast are suggested between him and Hamlet.

In this scene, Shakespeare contrasts the actions of Fortinbras and Hamlet. The Prince, with shame, observes Fortinbras marching against Poland in an aggressive effort to honor his late father, a great military hero. Hamlet, in contrast, views himself as an inept son who, because of doubt and delay, has not avenged his fathers murder. The young Prince knows he has let his own father down by his lack of action. Motivated by the sight of the brave soldiers marching to Poland, he promises that all of his future thoughts will be bloody ones against Claudius. Yet, Fortinbras is more impulsive than Hamlet and he is also a man of his action. The meeting inspires Hamlet’s thoughts in his fourth soliloquy, in which he again analyzes his own uncertain nature.

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