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Hamlet Act 1 Scene 3 and Scene 4

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by

Ms. Mc Caffrey

on 25 August 2015

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Transcript of Hamlet Act 1 Scene 3 and Scene 4

Aim: To revise scene 3 and analyse scene 4
In this scene we meet three embers of the one family, Polonius, Laertes and Ophelia.
Laertes cautions Ophelia on her romantic relationship with Hamlet. Her warns her it may damage her reputation.
Ophelia advises her brother to heed his own advice in his relationships with women.
Polonius advises Laertes on how he should conduct himself in France.
After Laertes leaves, Polonius too advises Ophelia on her relationship with Hamlet. He warns her not to mistake passion for love. Ophelia bows to her father's wish that she ends her relationship with Hamlet.
Commentary
Laertes is revealed as a well intentioned but foolish man.
Polonius is a pompous and long winded character, giving Laertes a long lecture on his behaviour in France.
Polonius is also deeply cynical. He is sceptical of Ophelia's relationship with Hamlet. He sees his daughter as naive. He never considers the possibility that Hamlet may truly love Ophelia.
Polonius is shrewd and practical but his advice is unlikely to inspire Laertes.
There is an obvious parrallel between Laertes and Hamlet. Both are young men keen to study abroad. Both characters express concern at he sexual behaviour of their female relatives. Their parrallel paths continue throughout the play.
Act 1 Scene 4
Hamlet waits with Horatio and Marcellus on the battlement's for the Ghosts arrival.
Hamlet criticises Claudius for his drunken revelry and believes that Claudius' behaviour tarnishes the reputation of Denmark.
The Ghost arrives and beckons Hamlet.
Horatio and Marcellus try to restrain Hamlet but he breaks free and runs after the Ghost.
Concerned for the safety of their friend, Horatio and Marcellus decide to follow Hamlet.
Act 1 Scene 5
What will the ghost tell Hamlet?
Revenge
How do you think Hamlet will get revenge?
Scene Commentary
The opening of this scene is rich in dramatic tension. The combination of the dark setting and the characters anxiety creates an ominous atmosphere.This is reflected in the short, snappy exchanges between Hamlet and Horatio in the opening lines of the scene.
Hamlet Act 1 Scene 3 and Scene 4
Even before Hamlet speaks to the Ghost he thinks that Claudius is not fit to rule Denmark. Hamlet comments on the boorish drunkenness of the new king.
Hamlet argues that the drinking culture of Claudius' court is a vice that tarnishes the reputation of the whole of Denmark.
Hamlet recognises how a single flaw can corrupt a man, a 'dram of evil'. The implication here is that a nation too can be threatened from within by the presence of corruption or evil.

Hamlet's concerns about Denmark are echoed by Marcellus at the end of the scene when he exclaims '
Something is rotten in the state of Denmark'
Full transcript