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Hamlet Act 4: Scene 1-3

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Elijah Quin

on 19 December 2012

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Transcript of Hamlet Act 4: Scene 1-3

Hamlet Act 4: Scene 1-3 Conflict Important Stuff Vocabulary Important Passages Videos Symbols and Motifs Conflict within the Scene Literary Devices & Elements Major Themes Summary Character Sketch Analysis Summary &Analysis Scene 1: This is the scene directly following Hamlet accidentally kills Polonius, after mistaking him for Claudius. In the castle court, King Claudius asks Gertrude to explain what has happened (as she witnessed the event), and she complies. She reveals that Hamlet has killed Polonius and taken his body away to an unknown location. In response, Claudius sends Rosencrantz and Guildenstern to search for Hamlet as well as the corpse of Polonius. The short length of the first three scenes in act 4 creates a sense of tension and confusion, as it typically would following a murder. Claudius' concerns are tangible in these scenes, as he slowly uncovers Hamlet's true feelings for him. Out of fear, Claudius also loses most of his political prowess, as proven by his poor management of Polonius' death (informal burial, nature of death kept secret, etc.) This poor management turns out to be negative for Claudius, as the murder causes Ophelia to become mad, and Laertes to vengefully return to Denmark, blaming Claudius for the death of his father. Although Laertes anger is directed at the King, Claudius patiently convinces him that Hamlet is the true murderer, and they begin a plot that eventually leads to the climax of the play. Family Relationships are so obvious in this act. Gertrude, Hamlet’s mother, betrays him to her new husband, Claudius. She tells him the heinous act Hamlet has committed and that she worries he is no longer sane. Her worries for Hamlet began once he spoke to Gertrude about the ghost of his father. Gertrude approaches Claudius to speak to him about Hamlet, and she truly believes Hamlet is mad. HUMAN V.S HUMAN Allegory





Foreshadowing Symbol - Sponge Brainish Apprehension: Deranged state of mind
Countenance: Approval
Scourge: Dreadful affliction
Convocation of politic worms: Conference of worms (Historical pun of the 1521 Diet of Worms, wherein the Holy Roman Empire addressed Martin Luther and the Protestant Reformation)
Bark (is ready) : Wooden ship
Cherub: Infant angel
Cicatrice: A scar
Hectic: Frantic activity/ intense fever
Congruing: In agreement/ harmony with “Mad as the sea and wind when both contend, which is the mightier. In his lawless fit, behind the arras hearing something stir, He whips his rapier out and cries A rat, a rat, and his brainish apprehension kills the unseen good old man.”(4.1.6-11.) . Scene 2: After finding Hamlet on the castle grounds, Rosencrantz and Guildenstern question him about his actions, as well as the location of the murdered body. Using clever speech, Hamlet avoids answering their questions, but assures them that the body is safely hidden somewhere in the castle lobby. By the end of the scene, he accuses the King of sending Rosencrantz and Guildenstern on a wild goose chase, and that they are too loyal to Claudius. Scene 3: Returning to the court, Claudius is very shaken by the death of his friend Polonius, because he realizes that the only reason for the murder was because Hamlet mistook him for the King. When Rosencrantz and Guildenstern arrive with Hamlet, Claudius barrages him with a series of questions pertaining to the location of the corpse. Hamlet continues to act mad, and Claudius assures him that he will be sent away to England as previously planned. However, unbeknowst to Hamlet, Claudius has already written letters to England demanding that the danish Prince be murdered upon his arrival. Claudius' leverage comes from the fact that Denmark recently defeated England in warfare, and the British must comply with the demands of the Danes. Symbol -Worm Symbol - Disease Motif - Incest “Not where he eats, but where he is eaten. A certain
convocation of politic worms are e'en at him. Your
worm is your only emperor for diet. We fat all creatures
else to fat us, and we fat ourselves for maggots. Your fat
king and your lean beggar is but variable service, two
dishes, but to one table. That's the end” (4.3.20-25)

“A man may fish with the worm that hath eat of a
king, and eat of the fish that hath fed of that worm.”(4.2.27-28) “Ay, sir; that soaks up the King's countenance, his
rewards, his authorities. But such officers do the King best
service in the end. He keeps them, like an ape, in the corner
of his jaw; first mouth'd, to be last swallowed. When he
needs what you have glean'd, it is but squeezing you and,
sponge, you shall be dry again.” (4.2.14-19) “Diseases desperate grown 
By desperate appliance are relieved,
Or not at all.” (4.3.9-11)
“This mad young man. But so much was our love
We would not understand what was most fit, 
But, like the owner of a foul disease, 
To keep it from divulging, let it feed 
Even on the pith of life.” (4.1.18-22) Hamlet, the play’s namesake, continues on as the main character in Act four, Scenes one to three. In scene one, Hamlet has just spoken with Gertrude, in a confrontational setting, and she is in a bewildered state. She speaks to Rosencrantz and Guildenstern, asking to let her to convene with the king in private. Hamlet has developed quite a bit from the beginning of the play, turning “as mad as the sea” as his mother claims. This could be called upon as an emotion weakness, that his father’s death and the mystery behind it has grown from curiosity to an obsession. Hamlet’s strengths are in his dedication, loyalty, wit, and intelligence. His main weakness is his obsession. It corrupts him to the core. It ruins everything in his life. The effects of the obsession are what cause him to act on rash, impulsive ideas. Hamlet’s own mother has betrayed him, showing a great change in Gertrude’s character, who tended to be a neutral good archetype. Claudius recognizes Hamlet’s new-found ambition, and has decided to act on it before Hamlet strikes first. He plans to have Hamlet executed in England. He claims aloud, that this plan will take all of his “majesty and skill”. Hamlet’s relationships have deteriorated to the point of having almost nobody to speak to throughout the entire play. His father’s ghost is all he trusts now, even his mother isn’t there for him. Hamlet’s motivation doesn’t change or even alter from what it was the moment he spoke to his father’s ghost, and that is to make Claudius pay for his crimes. Hamlet’s character doesn’t change, nor develop in this part of the play, other than his growing disregard for those around him. He brushes off Rosencrantz and Guildenstern, two men who he once called friends. This part of the play is important because it shows now that Hamlet no longer cares for charades and has started to get down to the point. Metaphor




Rhetorical Question -Hamlet V.S King Claudius -Hamlet V.S Rosencrantz “Ay, sir, that soaks up the king's countenance, his rewards his authorities. But such officers do the king best service in the end. He keeps them, like an ape and apple in the corner of his jaw, first mouthed to be last swallowed. When he needs what have gleaned, it is but squeezing you, and, sponge, you shall be dry again.”(4.2.14-19.) “The body is with King, but the King is not with the body. The king is a thing”(4.2.25-26.) “A will stay till ye come.”(4.3.38.) “And, England, if my love thou hold’st at aught—As my great power thereof may give thee sense, Since yet thy cicatrice looks raw and red After the Danish sword and thy free awe Pays homage to us—thou mayst not coldly set Our sovereign process, which imports at full, By letters congruing to that effect, The present death of Hamlet. Do it, England, For like the hectic in my blood he rages, And thou must cure me. Till I know ’tis done, Howe'er my haps, my joys were ne'er begun.(4.3.59-69.)” “Mad as the sea and wind when both contend Which is the mightier. In his lawless fit, Behind the arras hearing something stir, Whips out his rapier, cries, “A rat, a rat!” And in this brainish apprehension kills The unseen good old man.” In this one quote, it is also obvious that Madness is a major theme in this Scene, Act, and ultimately the entire play. Hamlet is not the only person driven into madness. Opheila is also a character who experiences such an odd mad state in the play, driving her to kill herself. HAMLET
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