Key Scene - Closet scene, Act III scene IV Hamlet

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Choose a play in which there is a scene involving a moment of conflict or of resolution to conflict. By referring to details of the scene, explain how the dramatist presents this moment and discuss how this contributes to your appreciation of the play as a whole.

Key scene / turning point essay Hamlet

        In ‘Hamlet’ by William Shakespeare, Hamlet resolves his conflicts with Polonius and with his mother, Gertrude, in Act III scene IV, the closet scene. In this scene, Hamlet confronts his mother and shames her for her overhasty marriage to Claudius and also accidentally murders a spying Polonius by mistaking him for Claudius.

        From the beginning of the closet scene, Hamlet easily takes control of the stichomythia and succeeds in shaming his mother to the point where she begs Hamlet to stop.

(Gertrude) “Hamlet, thou hast thy father much offended.

(Hamlet) Mother, you have my father much offended.”

Following Hamlet’s entrance to the scene, Gertrude futilely attempts to exemplify her authority and chide Hamlet for his recent actions. However, by accosting her with a violent intensity, Hamlet gains the upper hand of the stichomythia and declares that he intends on making her fully aware of the profundity of her sins. Hamlet makes his mother aware of her own hypocrisy by deliberately using the rhythm and the words of her reprimands, thereby turning the accusations from his own behaviour to his mother’s. Following this, Gertrude motions to leave, resentful of Hamlet’s disrespect, to which Hamlet responds by forcing her to stay. Fearing that her life is in danger, Gertrude cries out, revealing that she believes Hamlet to be truly mad and considers him to be harmful.

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        Hamlet, in a state of blind hate, anger and passion kills the unseen Polonius, suspecting that it could be Claudius. By stabbing Polonius, Hamlet resolves his conflict with him and proves that it is not his fear of killing that causes him to delay his revenge on Claudius.

“Thou, wretched rash, intruding fool, farewell.

I took thee for thy better.”

In this scene, the audience witnesses Hamlet’s first impulsive action of murdering Polonius to which Hamlet shows no regret nor remorse as he believes that Polonius brought his own death upon himself. He believes Polonius’ death is justified ...

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