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Commentary of Hamlet Act 3 Scene 4.

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Introduction

Commentary of Act 3 Scene 4 A brief summary of this scene is that Polonius hides in Gertrude's private room behind a tapestry to listen to Gertrude talk to her son Hamlet about his behaviour that he has possessed recently. At Hamlets arrival, Gertrude begins to launch into lecturing her son, however before she has a chance, Hamlet has already turned the tables and accuses his Mother of being in the wrong, not himself. Hamlet is in such a rage with his mother that he acts aggressively towards her and Polonius makes his presence known to save her, but before he can do anything, Hamlet stabs him through the wall hanging, thinking it was Claudius. Hamlet then goes straight back into telling his mother what he thinks of her relationship with Claudius, even after realizes it was Polonius behind the tapestry, until the ghost of Old Hamlet appears to Young Hamlet, and Young Hamlet alone; causing Gertrude to presume that her son is mad, talking to thin air. However, Hamlet convinces his Mother that he is not mad and tells her of Claudius' plan involving Rosencrantz and Guildenstern taking him to England. Hamlet then exits dragging Polonius' body behind him. The scene opens with Polonius and Gertrude talking about their plan. ...read more.

Middle

Claudius wishes, confirming that it is only his mothers word he would listen to, so obviously he cares about her a great deal. However, we can see by the use of language used to talk to each other how their relationship has changed. Looking at the quotation above again (lines 9-12), you can see how Hamlet and Gertrude first address each other. Gertrude addresses him as "thou" which is a warm and affectionate way to greet a person you are close to. But Hamlet responds by referring to Gertrude as "you" which is cold and distant. We next learn of how aggravated Hamlet is with the situation. Although there are no stage directions, Hamlet must act violently towards his mother because she says "What wilt thou do? Thou wilt not murder me? Help, help, ho!" - lines 21-22 She is clearly scared for her life and shrieks for help so Hamlet defiantly handled her in an over forceful way that implied even more physical torment. In hearing Gertrude's cries, Polonius makes his presence known and is therefore "slain". However, Hamlet is so passionate about how he feels that he dismisses the death and summarises his feeling on the situation in a simple sentence: "Thou wretched, rash, intruding fool, farewell." - line 31. ...read more.

Conclusion

Gertrude: As kill a King? " -Lines 27-29 Gertrude describes Hamlets actions as "rash", but as you can see above, Hamlet describes Polonius (and therefore his mother) as being rash in line 31. Hamlet also describes his actions as "almost" as bad as his mothers, again saying that whatever he has done, his mother has done worse. But the vital line is Gertrude's "As to kill a king?" as the effect of this line greatly depends on how the line is delivered. The tone could be performed displaying genuine guiltless shock, meaning that the Queen was naive to the events, or it could be performed with an air of cunning, giving the audience the suspicion that in fact she did know of the plan to kill her first husband. When Hamlet is rude to her, Gertrude questions why he is addressing her in such a manner. Instead of answering her question, Hamlet is even more rude to her, by referring to her as things such as a prostitute (blister on the forehead). This is a sexual insult which evokes a heavily suggested theme to this play - Hamlet suffers from the Oedipus complex. This is a condition where a son is in love with his mother. If Hamlet does suffer from this, it would explain a lot about his personality and how he deals with things in his life. For example we can tell that he has very acute sexual problems. ...read more.

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