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A detailed analysis of Act 3, Scene 1 of Hamlet.

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A detailed analysis of Act 3, Scene 1 So far in the play, Hamlets madness has been causing people worry. He is acting mad so he can have revenge on Claudius. Polonius suspects he has gone mad because Ophelia has rejected his love. Claudius isn't sure that's the reason. The scene is focused on Polonius and Claudius carrying out their plan to spy on Hamlet. Polonius and Claudius hide behind a curtain to listen to Ophelia talking to Hamlet. They do this to see if Ophelia is really why Hamlet has gone mad. Polonius says " at such a time I'll lose my daughter to him. Be you and I behind an arras then" Gertrude and Ophelia don't know anything about the plan. The play doesn't say if Ophelia overhears Claudius. Claudius and polonius tell Gertrude " we have closely sent for Hamlet hither, that he, as 'twere by accident, may here affront Ophelia." If Ophelia did overhear she might be part of the plan because she wants to find out what's wrong with Hamlet or she wants to obey her father. ...read more.


Polonius tells Ophelia that she must appear innocent and he says how easily we may hide under a false coating " tis too much proved, that with devotion's visage, and pious action, we do sugar o'er the devil himself." Polonius comments are important for two reasons, Ophelia has to look innocent because Hamlet criticises women, he says " I have heard of your paintings too, well enough. God hath given you one face and you make yourself another." Claudius guilt is made clear to the audience by his comments " oh tis too true. How smart a lash that speech doth give my conscience! The harlot's cheek, beautied with plastering art, is not more ugly to the thing that helps it than is my deed to my most painted word. O heavy burden! " The idea of people hiding parts of their character or acting a part is very common in the whole play. Hamlet has "put on an antic disposition" to hide his plot for revenge. ...read more.


" For the power of beauty will sooner transform honesty from what it is to a bawd." Hamlet orders Ophelia to a nunnery and denies that he ever loved her " I loved you not" he might be telling her this to show that he's gone mad. Ophelia is distressed by Hamlets words; she is probably thinking Hamlet is mad. Hamlet criticises all women. Hamlet says women make monsters of men. In the latter part of the scene Ophelia's words are emphasised by exclamation marks. This shows how desperate she feels. She says that Hamlet was once the very mirror and model of behaviour and taste. Ophelia uses metaphors to explain Hamlets change. Ophelia feels that there is nothing good left and everything's wrong now. Ophelia tries to ignore what Hamlet said to her because he's gone mad. At the end of the scene Claudius is feeling worried because he knows that Ophelia isn't the reason Hamlet is mad " love, his affections do not that way tend." Claudius plans to send Hamlet to England, Polonius agrees with him. Claudius is right to be fearful of Hamlet because he is planning to kill Claudius. ...read more.

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Here's what a teacher thought of this essay

** 2 Stars

Shows a knowledge of the play and some of its main themes. Some language analsyis and includes important quotes. More analysis and discussion are needed in places and at times the comments are too simplistic as this is a very complex play.

Marked by teacher Katie Dixon 16/07/2013

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