Hamlet Act 2 Description

act two scene one Polonius sends his servant Reynaldo to Paris to question Laertes’s acquaintances. Ophelia enters; deeply disturbed about a visit she has just had from an apparently mad Hamlet. Polonius decides that Hamlet has become insane because Ophelia is refusing to see him. Polonius rushes off to tell the king.
act two scene two Claudius and Gertrude set Rosencrantz and Guildenstern, two boyhood friends of Hamlet, to spy on him to discover the cause of his apparent madness. After the returned ambassadors announce their success in stopping Fortinbras’s planned invasion of Denmark, Polonius reports his “discovery” that Hamlet is mad for love. Claudius is unpersuaded but agrees to join Polonius in spying on Hamlet.When Hamlet himself enters, he is confronted by Polonius and then by Rosencrantz and Guildenstern, whom he quickly identifies as Claudius’s spies. As they talk a company of touring actors enters. Hamlet persuades one of them to deliver a speech, and recognizes, to his shame, that he has shown less intensity in avenging his father’s murder than the actor has done in performance. Hamlet hopes that when the players stage “The Murder of Gonzago” for the court, he can determine whether Claudius is guilty of King Hamlet’s death.
“This is the very ecstasy of love” Polonius- he says that this is the insanity that love causes
“Something have you heard of Hamlet’s transformation King Claudius- he tells them that they have probably heard about Hamlet’s changes. He is different on the outside as well as the inside and is absolutely insane. He wants to discover why the change in Hamlet occurred.
“My too much changed son” queen- she begs them to visit Hamlet immediately to find the reason for her son’s sudden change and outrageous madness.
“I have found the very cause of Hamlet’s lunacy” Polonius- He has found the reason that Hamlet went insane, he believes that Ophelia refusing Hamlet’s access to her has driven him mad
“Brevity is the soul of wit” Polonius- it is ironic, it means that if you choose your words wisely, the message will be better
“your noble son is mad” Polonius- Hamlet is definitely crazy and something isn’t right
“more matter, with less art” queen- get to the point
“Let her not walk in the sun. Conceptuon is a blessing, but not as your daughter may conceive.” Hamlet- if you walk in the sun, you can get burned. He doesn’t want Ophelia to get burnt (or hurt) although he will end up being the one who hurts her. He cannot prepare Ophelia for what is to come.
“Words, words, words” Hamlet- he says this because he is literally reading words rather than telling him the name of the book. this adds to the appearance of his madness
“what is the matter, my lord?” Polonius- what is his problem/ what is he actually reading
“Though this be madness, yet there is a method in it.” Polonius- there is a method to his madness, or a reason why he has gone off the walls. Polonius is talking to him in order to gain information to repeat back to Claudius
“You cannot, sir, take from me anything that I will more willingly part withal- except my life, except my life, except my life.” Hamlet- material things mean nothing, only life matters
“On Fortune’s cap we are not the very button” Guildenstern- they aren’t special they are two ordinary people who are not lucky
“there is nothing either good or bad but thinking makes it so” Hamlet- it is through overthinking that someone causes themselves stress or anxiety
“I could be bounded in a nutshell and count myself a king of infinite space, were it not that I have bad dreams.” Hamlet- he says this after saying that Denmark is a prison, and then Rosencrantz disagrees and says that his mind is too large for a place to small. In which Hamlet responds that he could be in an area as little as a walnut and feel like King of the Universe. His main problem is his dreams.
“A dream itself is but a shadow” Hamlet- a dream is just a shadow of what is in subconscious being displayed to you through dreams
“What a piece of work is man! how noble in reason! how infinite in faculty! in form and moving how express and admirable! in action how like an angel! in apprehension how like a god! the beauty of the world, the paragon of animals! And yet to me what is this quintessence of dust? Man delights not me- no, nor woman neither, though by your smiling you seem to say so.” Hamlet- it reminds us how beautiful life truly is, the capacity of learning is fascinating, and we are unlimited in thinking, admirable in his shape and movement, angelic in action, and godlike in understanding. Nothing is more beautiful. We are smarter than any other creation. But to him, they are nothing but dust. Men nor women give him interest. He points out that Rosencrantz is smiling and says that he must believe otherwise.
“I am but mad north- north- west. When the wind is southerly I know a hawk from a handsaw.” Hamlet- it connects with putting an antic disposition on and supports the idea that he is smart enough to go in and out of madness by choice.
“O, what a rogue and pleasant slave am I!” Hamlet – a rogue is someone who is independent and goes off the rails. He is a slave to his emotions and passions and also to Claudius. He is trapped
“the devil hath power to assume a pleasing shape” Hamlet- Murder has no tongue, but it still finds a way to speak. Also, the devil can look like someone trusting and can trick people to do things they wouldn’t normally do.
“The play’s the thing wherein I’ll catch the conscience of the King.” Hamlet- they will watch Claudius’s reaction to see if the ghost was honest