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Hamlet- Play within a Play

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Anum Khan

on 22 October 2012

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Transcript of Hamlet- Play within a Play

Hamlet Play within a play How is The Mousetrap set? The play presented within Hamlet is actually called ”The Murder of Gonzago”. The plot of it closely resembles the actual murder of Hamlet's father, and the reason that hamlet chooses to have it performed is to trap Claudius into revealing his guilt. This is why he also refers to the play as ”The Mousetrap (3.2.235)” Aftermath of Play: Hamlet is excites to find the truth finally and we feel he might take the necessary action but first he leaves to talk to Gertrude, and that’s where the play turns around as Hamlet finally takes some action; thus the Mousetrap leads to the climax. Bibliography Barker, Walter. ‘The heart of my mystery’: Emblematic Revelation in the Hamlet Play Scene.. Upstart Crow 15. 1995. 75-98. Web. <http://www.hamlethaven.com/mousetrap.html>.
Edelman , Charles. The very cunning of the scene’: Claudius and the Mousetrap. Parergon 12. 1994. 15-25. Web. <http://www.hamlethaven.com/mousetrap.html>.
Gibinska, Marta. ‘The play’s the thing’: The Play Scene in Hamlet. 1993. 175-88. Web. <http://www.hamlethaven.com/mousetrap.html>
Dover wilson, "What happens in 'Hamlet'" Cambridge University press 1951 page 128.
Stanton, Kay. "Hamlet's Whores." New Essays on Hamlet. Ed. Mark Thornton Burnett and John Manning. Hamlet Collection 1. New York: AMS, 1994. 167-88. <http://www.hamlethaven.com/mousetrap.html>
Hassel, R. Chris, Jr. “Mouse and Mousetrap in Hamlet.” Shakespeare-Jahrbuch 135 (1999): 77- 92.
Sparknotes.com/hamlet. Thesis: Hamlet’s play within a play, also known as “The Mousetrap” is significant to the play because it provides suspense, exposes the truth, and develops the plot which eventually leads towards the climax. Characters: * Hamlet is intellectual to think of the Mousetrap quickly and made full use of the opportunity; he is also jolly and enthusiastic while the play goes on, showing his passion for art/drama. * Claudius proves to be responsible for the murder but also deals with most of the situation patiently as the Mousetrap would be quite painful for a guilty soul. * Gertrude fails to show any sign of remorse, pity for the player king and queen, which suggests that she is insensitive, saying “the lady doth protest too much, methink”(3,ii,228). * Critics like Stanton feel that Hamlet treats Ophelia like an object and treats her rudely, whereas before he seemed to love her. * We also see that out of all the major characters, Horatio seems to be the only one Hamlet idealizes, he says “Horatio, thou art e’en a man just a man (3,11,56)”. Is Hamlet successful? The plot is successful in the sense that hamlet sees Claudius leave and admit the crime in a room where he thinks he is alone. . " Oh, my offence is rank. It smells to heaven/It hath the primal eldest curse upon ’t/A brother’s murder. Pray can I not/Though inclination be as sharp as will/My stronger guilt defeats my strong intent" (III.iii.37-41) However, Hamlet does not take this perfect opportunity to take revenge which was the main goal and so he does not fulfill his father’s wish. Shakespeare's intentions: * The Mousetrap is Hamlet's means of exposing the truth, to give insight of the characters and their relationships.
* To show Hamlet as a thoughtful schemer for once; proving to Hamlet and the readers that Claudius is indeed the murderer.
* This scene also makes Hamlet an extremely relatable character as Dover Wilson says “[hamlet seems to ] spectators more life-like than any other character in literature”
*Most importantly the play leads towards the climax of Hamlet.
*Every play has suspense, and the play within the play has one too, it builds anxiousness in us as and in Hamlet as an audience as we – along with him- cannot wait to see Claudius’s reaction. Importance of the Play the play within a play is important because it develops the plot an confirms Hamlet's doubts about the killing of Hamlet's father by Claudius.
critic Edelman Charles says:
"The Mousetrap, in its entirety, is a methodically drawn out processes of imposing pain/discomfort. For example, the dumb show is similar to a dentist’s extraction of the first tooth in that Claudius can endure the experience and his suffering" Mousetrap Continued..... . "The Mousetrap" the name Hamlet has given to the play suits very well with the situation at hand. " The Mousetrap. Marry, how? Tropically. This play is the image of a murder done in Vienna. Gonzago is the duke’s name, his wife Baptista. You shall see anon. 'Tis a knavish piece of work, but what o' that? Your majesty and we that have free souls, it touches us not. Let the galled jade wince, our withers are unwrung.." (III.ii.235-41)
Hamlet says that the play shouldn't affect anyone who have clean and "free" souls hinting to Claudius to realize his guilt and confess his crime. In the eyes of Hamlet, the play is just like a trap to catch the mouse who is Claudius and Hamlet, is behaving kind of like a cat who is "playing" with his prey before killing it.
This is proven by Gibinska Marta when she says " Hamlet voices “implications” that alert the King “before the trap is sprung” (185). Claudius’ sudden exit is a response to the two complimentary actions directed against himself: “the play of Gonzago and the play of Hamlet” (186). Hamlet, “by bad acting,” “offers Claudius an opportunity to strengthen his position” and, “by proving the crime, puts himself in the tragic position of one who in condemning the crime must himself become a murderer” (187).
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