Hamlet Act III

“To be, or not to be, that is the question…” HamletOpheliaThe question is: is it better to be alive or dead?This again shows how upset he is. It also foreshadows the deaths of everyone at the end. Act III Scene I Line 56
“Get thee to a nunnery. Why, wouldnt thou be a breeder of sinners?” HamletOpheliaHe tells her to join a convent so she doesn’t have to give any birth to sinners. This questions his state of sanity. He claims to love her but also says she should become a nun. Act III Scene I Line 121
“Madness in great ones must not unwatch’d go.” KingPoloniusWhen important people start to show signs of insanity, you have to watch them closely. This shows the reoccurring theme of distrust. The king does not trust Hamlet. Act III Scene I Line 191
“Why, look you now, how unworthy a thing you make of me.” HamletGuildenstern and RosencrantzLook how you played me. This shows the theme of loyalty and betrayal. At the beginning of the play, Hamlet trusted them but they betrayed him. Act III Scene II Line 371
“Let me be cruel, not unnatural./ I will speak daggers to her, but use none.” HamletHimselfHe will be harsh but he won’t physically hurt her. This shows that he still cares about his mother. Act III Scene II Lines 403-404
“Up, sword, and know thou a more horrid hent.” HamletHimself He says to put his sword away and wait for a better time to kill Claudius. He really wants the worst for Claudius. Killing him isn’t enough he wants him to go to hell. Act III Scene III Line 88
“My words fly up, my thought remain below./ Words without thoughts never to heaven go.” ClaudiusHimselfHe prays physically but he didn’t thoughtfully mean it. So the prayer won’t be heard. It appears he is repenting through prayer but in reality he doesn’t mean it. Act III Scene III Line 97
“O, what a rash and bloody deed is this!” GertrudeHamletOh, what a horrible act/Ironic because it is the same act that Claudius did to King Hamlet. Act III Scene IV Line 28
Polonius and Claudius secret themselves behind an areas while Hamlet encounters Ophelia, who has been given a prayer-book/ doll/ whistle to ‘color [her] lonilness’. In an aside, the King admits his guilt. Hamlet soliloquizes on the relative merits of bearing troubles or fighting them, staying alive or committing suicide. When he encounters Ophelia, Hamlet insists she go ‘to a nunnery’ in. order to avoid giving birth to sinners and recounts how the debauched behavior of women has ‘made [him] mad/angry.sad’. When he leaves, we see reaction of pity and sorrow from Ophelia, suspicion and practicality from Claudius, and nosiness from Polonius. Hamlet advises the players not to overstep the bounds of natural behavior in their performance and praises Horatio for his steadfast rationality, asking him to watch the king/queen/Ophelia during the play. As the players make ready, Hamlet is ‘ merry’, ‘idle’, and ‘naught’, insulting and embarrassing everyone else in the process The dumb show provokes no reaction from Claudius and, though the Player Queen’s protestations of eternal fidelity apparently annoy the King and Queen, there is no sign of Claudius breaking down. When the poisoner, Lucianus/Lucan/Ludicrous, murders the Player King, however, Claudius calls for lights and exits, leaving Hamlet to rejoice in his apparent victory. Rosencrantz and Guildenstern, and then Polonius, call Hamlet to his mother, as per Polonius’ plan. Hamlet soliloquizes on his readiness to commit wicked deeds and warns himself not to kill his mother/uncle/father. Claudius plans to send Rosencrantz and Guildenstern along with Hamlet to England/Norway/Denmark and receives a report from Polonius who is to watch the interview between Hamlet and his mother. Alone, the king debates whether or not to pray. The intensity of his guilt makes him afraid. But he reasons that heaven and prayer exist in order to give forgiveness. Then he realizes that he does not truly repent, since he has no intention of giving up the ‘effects’ of his crime. Realizing that heavenly justice cannot be evaded in the way earthly justice can, Claudius calls upon the angels to soften his hard heart and give him the strength to repent. As the King (apparently) prays, Hamlet enters. (What is he doing here? He’s supposed to be seeing his mother.) It seems that this is the perfect opportunity to murder the King, but the Prince talks himself out of this course of action within five lines. If Claudius is praying, he reasons, then his soul will go to heaven. He decides to wait until such a time that Claudius’ soul is black with sin in order to secure his eternal damnation. Polonius advises the Queen to tell Hamlet off firmly and then (ironically) ‘silences’ himself behind another convenient arras. Gertrude’s attempts to be firm with Hamlet last for around six lines before he, typically, turns the situation on its head and vows to set up a mirror/book/model in order to show her the blackness of her soul. Gertrude’s fear makes Polonius shout out and Hamlet stabs him through the arras. He does not regret the deed. Discovering that the body is not the King’s, Hamlet claims that he is God’s ‘scourge and minister’. Showing her two pictures, Hamlet compares his father and uncle, aghast at the insanity that has led Gertrude to Claudius. The Queen is quickly convinced, but such is the height of Hamlet’s rage, he cannot stop. Hamlet’s description of his mother and uncle atop the ‘nasty sty’ that their marriage bed lingers on offensive details in a way that is most disturbing. The Ghost appears, provoking fear from Hamlet that he is to be chided for his ‘tardiness’ in killing his uncle. The Ghost obliges, telling Hamlet that he has wasted his anger on Gertrude whom the Ghost advises Hamlet to help in her spiritual struggle. The Queen has seen nothing and is sure her son is mad. Hamlet is thus forced to resume his tirade against his mother’s sinfulness and is able to recon once her very quickly, though not without a gratuitous resumption of his description of the incestuous bed. Hamlet concludes by swearing the Queen to silence and dragging the ‘guts’ of the dead Polonius away with him. Prayer-bookMadKingLucianusMotherEnglandMirror
Which two characters control Ophelia, using her as bait to observe Hamlet? Polonius and Claudius
What does Ophelia wish to return to Hamlet? Gifts of Love
Which character adds extra lines for the players to perform? Hamlet
Which character rises from the audience, calling off the play? Gertrude
Who tells Hamlet his mother wishes to speak with him? Rosencrantz
Who decides to send Hamlet to England? Claudius
How does Claudius’ soliloquy change your opinion of him? At first, I feel bad for him because he feels bad but then I don’t because he doesn’t feel guilty enough to give everything up.
Although Hamlet has the opportunity to kill Claudius in this scene, he does not do so. Explain why he makes this choice. Claudius is praying so HAmlet refrains from killing him in order that his soul would not go straight to heaven.
Who hides behind the curtains in Gertrude’s bedroom in order to spy on Hamlet? Polonius
Who does Hamlet think is hiding behind the curtains? Claudius
For what reasons might you think the ghost is actually a hallucination, and for what reasons might you think it is real? *His mother does not see the ghost*She might be blocking it out on purpose because she wants to believe Claudius is innocent.
‘I essentially am not in madness’ says Hamlet. Name FOUR lines spoken by Hamlet in this act that might make you doubt this. *He is talking to a ghost that his mother can’t see. *He killed Polonius and didn’t feel bad. *He went off on his mother. *He told Ophelia to join a convent.
In what respects is scene II a turning point in the play? How is this turn complicated by Hamlet’s actions in scene IV? In the play scene Hamlet acts out Claudius killing his father to see his reaction. In the closet scene, Hamlet accidentally kills Polonius thinking it was Claudius because he was spying on Hamlet and his other in the closet.
How does the placing and subject of Hamlet’s soliloquies in this act encourage the idea of a meditative prince? It builds suspense. We want Hamlet to act, but he’s too busy thinking.
What do Claudius and Polonius do in scene I, that Hamlet and Horatio do in scene II, that Hamlet does in scene III, that Polonius does in scene IV? How do these actions affect this act? They all spy. Polonius ends up dying while spying.
Find THREE references to disease or rottenness. “It will but skin and film the ulcerous place, whilst rank corruption, mining all within, insects unseen.” Act III Scene IV Line 148″The physic but prolongs thy sickly days.” Act III Scene III Line 96″My wit’s diseased.” Act III Scene II Line 328