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Act 1: Exposition

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Taylor Heinbuch

on 20 February 2014

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Transcript of Act 1: Exposition

Critical Reading
Psychological: Hamlet uses the appearance of madness to mask his true intentions to kill the king.
Act 2: Rising Action
"As I perchance hereafter shall think meet to put an antic disposition on." - Hamlet (1. 5. 191-192)
Hamlet is basically saying in this line that from this point on, he is going to pretend to be crazy.
"To be or not to be-that is the question: Whether 'tis nobler in mind to suffer the slings and arrows of outrageous fortune, or to take arms against a sea of troubles and, by opposing, end them." -Hamlet (3. 1. 64-68)
Hamlet is being spied on by Polonius and Claudius in this scene. While it is never said whether or not Hamlet knew he was being spied on or not, but it is arguable that he did. Meaning he was trying to appear crazy and suicidal in front of Claudius and Polonius.
Act 3: Climax
Hamlet stages a play to catch see how Claudius reacts. Until this point, Hamlet has been unsure about his actions, but this gives him confidence.
"How now, a rat? Dead for ducat, dead." -Hamlet (3. 4. 29)
This is where Hamlet kills Polonius. Once he figures out it's Polonius, he shows no remorse. One could argue that Hamlet's act of insanity could be catching up to him.
"Save me and hover o'er me with your wings, you heavenly guards!-What would your gracious figure?" -Hamlet (3. 4. 118-120)
At this point, Hamlet is talking to the ghost while Queen Gertrude is in the room. Only Hamlet can see the ghost where as before, everybody could see him. Once again, one could argue that Hamlet's act of insanity is catching up to him.

Act 4: Falling Action
On his way to England, Hamlet finds the letter from Claudius explaining that Hamlet is to be killed upon his arrival. Hamlet then proceeds to write a different letter saying that Guildenstern and Rosencrantz are really the ones to be killed. Hamlet mimics the King's handwriting and signature perfectly. He then usese his ring with the Denmark crest to reseal the envelope. He's not crazy, he's a genius!

When Hamlet returns to Denmark, he and Horatio are walking around, having a conversation, when they come across two grave diggers. Eventually, Hamlet strikes up a conversation with one of them. The grave digger, not knowing he's talking to Prince Hamlet, tells him about how Prince Hamlet has gone crazy. Hamlet plays along to keep up his act.
Act 5: Resolution
Claudius is revealed as the murderer of King Hamlet and is killed by young Hamlet. Hamlet is remembered as a hero when he dies.
"Give me your pardon, sir. I’ve done you wrong. But pardon ’t, as you are a gentleman. This presence knows, and you must needs have heard, how I am punished with sore distraction." -Hamlet (5. 2. 240-244)
Hamlet is telling Laertes he's sorry for everything he's done to him. He's saying he only did it because he's going crazy, as everybody knows. no truly crazy person knows they're crazy.
Hamlet, on the verge of death, keeps Horatio from killing himself (nobody who was truly crazy could or would do this). He says he needs him to tell people his story (the story of the prince who pretended to lose his mind so he could avenge his father's murder, since Horatio knew it was an act the whole time).
Act 1: Exposition
King Hamlet has died. His brother, Claudius, becomes king and marries his wife, Gertrude. His son, Hamlet, is angry about this, but cannot show it.
King Hamlet's ghost tells young Hamlet that Claudius murdered him and that he must get revenge.
Full transcript