Claudius asks how they might prove this to be the case. Polonius has a plan. He offers to loose Ophelia on Hamlet while he is reading alone in the library. Meanwhile, he suggests, he and Claudius could hide behind a tapestry and observe the meeting.
Claudius agrees. Just then, Hamlet enters, reading. Gertrude and Claudius exit while Polonius attempts to speak to Hamlet. Hamlet plays with Polonius, mocking him, evading his questions, and turning his language inside out. Polonius leaves to contrive the proposed meeting between Hamlet and his daughter.
Rosencrantz and Guildenstern enter, surprising their friend Hamlet. The three friends banter philosophically for a good while before Hamlet asks the two why they have come to Elsinore. Rosencrantz and Guildenstern try to dodge this question, declaring that they have come for no other reason than to visit him.
When they admit it, Hamlet also tells them why they were sent for — because he has been deeply melancholy, and has foregone his accustomed behavior. He sinks deeply into a speech detailing this misery. Rosencrantz changes the subject. He tells Hamlet that he and Guildenstern passed a troop of players on their way to Elsinore. They gossip briefly about the city theaters the troop had left before coming to Denmark presumably those of London. Soon the players arrive with a flourish. Polonius rushes back into the scene, bearing the already stale news that the players have arrived.
Hamlet banters with Polonius in the same mocking vein as before until the players burst into court, at which point Hamlet rushes up to welcome them. While speaking of her agony, the player begins to weep and shake. Polonius finally cuts him off and Hamlet agrees. The player says that this would be fine and then takes his leave. Left alone on stage, Hamlet muses about the strangeness of his situation. Having regained composure, Hamlet announces his plan to make sure that the ghost of his father is genuine — that the apparition was not some evil spirit sent to lure his soul to damnation.
He declares his intention to stage a play exactly based on the murder of his father. While it is played he will observe Claudius.
If the king is guilty, Hamlet figures, surely he will show this guilt when faced with the scene of the crime. This Act begins by establishing the atmosphere of political intrigue at Elsinore. It seems that everyone in Elsinore is plotting against everyone else. Significantly, though, these intrigues are represented as very clumsy, if not stupid.
Rather, he is dull, pedantic, self-important, pompous, flowery — and, more to the point, dead wrong.
As in Act One, Polonius obviously fancies himself a great political mind. We might beg to differ. Claudius, too, shows remarkable political stupidity in trusting to the espionage of Rosencrantz and Guildenstern, two rather clownish fellows whom Hamlet sees through instantly.
Hamlet has been adapted into, or has inspired, hundreds of other plays, books, and movies. Really appreciable. They leave, and Polonius gets to work. His plays have been translated into every major living language and are performed more often than those of any other playwright. Retrieved October 18,
This is sort of like allowing Canada to march through the United States in order to attack Mexico. In other words, it makes no sense at all, strategically or logistically. Claudius and Polonius, try as they might to play the part of Machiavellian lords of state, are really quite out of their depth.
Hamlet, however, has found his element in Act Two. His language is dazzling, full of wild puns, inventive jokes, and succinct and strong observations — sheer mastery. He plays the role of the melancholic madman almost as though Polonius is a gullible audience member.
Hamlet toys with Polonius, leading the old fool to think just what he wants. Rosencrantz and Guildenstern, too, are no match for the perceptiveness of Hamlet. He instantly plumbs the depths of their purpose, calling them out for royal spies. Why, then, is he so reluctant to act — so incapable, it seems, of action? Why does he not even mention revenge until the very last speech of the Act? It seems that Hamlet is so obsessed with contemplating the meaning of action that he is rendered unable to act himself.
This is the central question of Hamlet , of course, and one that has frustrated and intrigued readers for centuries. The transition from the Hamlet of Act One Scene Five, so willing and eager to kill Claudius, to the Hamlet of Act Two Scene Two, where he is witty and evasive and ultimately impotent, is really quite absurd.
This theme comes to a head, of course, with the appearance of the troop of players. It foreshadows Macbeth murders Duncan. It shows Macbeth that what he must be done in order to get the kingship. After Macbeth…. This is because these immigrants came to the United States involuntarily as dependent minors. The United Sates is a great melting pot that…. How does it fit into the play? What does Hamlet observe about the funeral procession before he knows the identity of the person to be buried?
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