Hamlet Act III, scene i: But first…some comic relief As the scene opens… Claudius and Gertrude question Rosencrantz & Guildenstern about Hamlet’s state of mind Polonius invites the King and Queen to view a play on Hamlet’s request The King agrees King and Polonius hide to observe Hamlet’s interaction with Ophelia “Get thee to a nunnery!” Hamlet verbally abuses Ophelia Tells her he never loved her; then changes his tune and says he did love her once Calls her a “ho fo’ sho’” To England Claudius is not convinced that Ophelia is the reason for Hamlet’s madness Decides England is the best place for Hamlet where crazy can blend right in with more crazy Polonius wants one more chance to prove how smart he is Dramatic Significance 1. Reveal character Claudius(guilty conscience) Polonius(a fool with foolhardy plans) Hamlet(tragic flaw) 2. Advance plot Invitation to play More schemes hatched 3. Develop Theme Appearance versus reality (characters keeping secrets) Words Worth Remembering: Significant Quotations from Act III, scene i Claudius, lines 50-54 “How smart a lash that speech doth give my conscience! The harlot’s cheek, beautified with plast’ring art, Is not more ugly to the thing that helps it Than is my deed to my most painted word. O heavy burden!” OMG Claudius! Confess much? Shakespeare’s use of metaphor compares Claudius’ words disguising his conscience as make up disguises a harlot These lines are noteworthy for two reasons: 1. They prepare us for his reaction to the play within the play 2. We have the first indication that his calm demeanor hides a tormented conscience (appearance versus reality) Hamlet, lines 56-90 “To be or not to be, that is the question…” “Thus, conscience does make cowards of us all, and thus the native hue of resolution is sicklied o’er with the pale cast of thought, and enterprises of great pitch and moment with this regard their currents turn awry and lose the name of action.” What does this mean? Hamlet is torn: is it better to patiently endure the wrongs done to his family (but be sure the wrongs WERE done), or does this inaction make him a coward? Hamlet muses that listening to our conscience causes our resolution to stall, our desire to act to fail, and we become cowards. His inaction is his targic flaw Shakespeare uses strong images of light and dark to communicate Hamlet’s troubled mind Ophelia lines 155-58 “And I … That suck’d the honey of his music vows, Now see that noble and most sovereign reason Like sweet bells jangled out of tune and harsh,” Poor Ophelia Ophelia’s speech employs metaphor to show the audience the change in Hamlet His words were like music to her ears, but now she is dejected She is no longer able to suck “the honey of his music vows” Food for Thought: Discussion Questions for Act III, scene i Hamlet considers himself a coward and villain for his failure to act and his continued pondering/philosophizing, rather than acting. As an audience in 2014, do you agree with Hamlet’s assessment of himself? Is he in fact a villain and coward? Explain. What do you think of Ophelia’s character? Why might Shakespeare have written such a weak female character (as compared to strong female leads like Lady MacBeth and Gertrude) How would you rationalize Hamlet’s behaviour towards Ophelia? What can we infer is the nature of their relationship? In Summary, here are the notes of importance: 1. Claudius suspects Hamlet is not disturbed due to love sickness 2. Hamlet vacillates some more 3. Hamlet abuses Ophelia 4. Polonius comes up with another scheme 5. Claudius will send Hamlet to England Here’s how it all works out: Works Cited Don't hate the player, hate the game meme. Digital image. N.p., n.d. Web. Hamlet. Perf. Dave Tennant and Patrick Stewart. N.d. Hey ho meme. Digital image. N.p., n.d. Web. Jerry Seinfeld Does Hamlet. Perf. Gilbert Gottfried. N.d. One Minute Hamlet. Perf. Famous Last Nerds. N.d. Shakespeare, William, and Roma Gill. Hamlet. Oxford: Oxford UP, 1992. Print. Thank you I’ll stop talking now meme. Digital image. N.p., n.d. Web. To be or not to be meme. Digital image. N.p., n.d. Web. We need to go deeper meme. Digital image. N.p., n.d. Web.