lines 217 - 317
In Hamlet’s conversation with Rosencrantz and Guildenstern, Shakespeare conveys Hamlet’s desperation with his life and surroundings. After getting reacquainted with each other, they discuss dreams and ambition. Hamlet claims that “a dream itself is but a shadow” (254). A shadow is typically a dark, heavy presence that indicates pessimism or darkness of thought. Hamlet, as evident from the first two acts, is facing desperate times and is unable to piece together the meaning of what has transpired. However, Rosencrantz describes ambitions as “airy and light” (256) in quality. These qualities are more typically associated with heavenly, optimistic thoughts, something more bright or cloudy. By his word choice, Shakespeare characterizes Rosencrantz and Guildenstern as the more optimistic characters who take a more positive stance on Hamlet’s depressing thoughts. This clearly shows the difference between their thoughts. Because Hamlet believes that they were only sent to spy on him, this contrast also represents how Hamlet catches on to the fact that they are not there solely because they care about him or just want to see him. They want to be able to report back to the King and Queen, so naturally they are going to try to make things look better than they really are, namely so that Hamlet will not be suspicious. However, by taking such a radically opposite side on a view of something like ambitions and reams, Rosencrantz and Guildenstern give themselves right up. Also, the lightness in their words, typically connoted with truth, and the darkness of Hamlet’s words, typically connoted with something that would cover the truth (as darkness covers light), represent how Hamlet’s downtrodden emotions overtake the lightheartedness of Rosencrantz and Guildenstern. After Rosencrantz and Guildenstern tell Hamlet that they “were sent for” (287) by the King and Queen, Hamlet says that he will “tell [them] why” (288) he thinks they were sent. He mentions that he has “forgone all custom of exercises” (291). Though the footnote says that he is referring to physical exercise, it could also be referring to daily routine. His emotional issues have had an impact so deep that it has thrown off everything ritualistic in his life. He calls the earth “sterile,” (293) implying the futility he faces in finding meaning within his life. The air above him seems to be nothing more than a “foul and pestilent congregation of vapors” (296-297). His adjectives here signify that he feels overtaken by his emotions and that they are poisonous to his mind, as something that is pestilent is something vile and disgusting. Hamlet calls man a “piece of work” (297) meaning masterpiece, but it could be taken two different ways. He could be taken literally, indicating his reverence of the power of mankind, but it could also be sarcastic, indicating that his series of emotions are too complicated for him to handle. He describes all of the “noble” (298) characteristics of man; he describes man “like an angel in apprehension, how like a god!” (300). The whole list of characteristics, which range from the aforementioned angel and god, to animals and a “quintessence of dust” (302). Overall, Hamlet wants to show Rosencrantz and Guildenstern the diverse meanings of man and how his has come down to the purest form and yet he cannot find a meaning for himself. Overall, Rosencrantz and Guildenstern seem to get the same message that the King and Queen gave them: Hamlet is crazy. He has many elaborate descriptions of mankind, philosophies on life, and on ambition and dreams. His ideas are abstract, as compared to those of his mother and uncle, so having gathered their information, Rosencrantz and Guildenstern quickly transition into the players who look to come see Hamlet. This quick shift in topic is indicative of the two men’s realization that Hamlet is not of sane mind.
In act two scene two of Hamlet there are many allusions and puns in the text which suggest certain things about characters and their relations with other characters. In the first part of the scene Rosencrantz and Guildenstern enter, and are meeting with the King and Queen who have called upon them to find out why Hamlet is behaving so strangely. The King states to the two of them that it is “mote than his father’s death, that thus hath put him do much from th’understanding of himself I cannot dream of”(61). This line reveals that King is rather confident that something else happened to make Hamlet behave this way. It is interesting that the King feels so strongly, yet does not realize that possibly his hasty marriage or the fact that he killed his father may b be hurting Hamlet. King Claudius cannot “dream” of the reason because he is in denial and does not want the truth to be revealed. Guildenstern and Rosencrantz than exit and Polonius enters. HE tells the King and Queen that he knows why Hamlet has gone mad. He than reads a line from a love letter that Hamlet wrote to Ophelia, “To the celestial…beautified Ophelia, tha’s an ill phrase, a vile phrase, “beautified” is a vile phrase”(64). This suggests that the fact that another man or young boy is falling in love with Ophelia makes Polonius upset. And he seems disgusted that Hamlet finds her beautiful. This suggests that Polonius wants to preserve his daughter’s virginity in order to maintain his reputation. Polonius goes on and reads another section of the letter when Hamlet writes, “thine evermore, most dear lady, whilst this machine is to him, Hamlet”(64). This last section of the letter reveals that Hamlet’s love for Ophelia is temporary and will not last. It will only last while he is a “machine”. Hamlet comparing himself and his body to a machine suggests his madness and also reveals that this love is not true, but is rather mechanical and robotic like a machine. Also machines repeat certain steps and movements, usually to produce something. Perhaps Hamlet will use his love for Ophelia as a way to gain revenge on the King and in the end make his father proud. King Claudius than answers Polonius and says, “But how hath she receiv’d his love?”(63). This response is rather short and makes it seem as though Claudius does not whole heartedly care about this situation. Polonius becomes agitated and King Claudius’ responses remain this way throughout their conversation. Polonius than goes on to discuss how Ophelia stopped communicating with Hamlet after he advised her to leave him alone. The King questions if Hamlet is really mad and Polonius defends his accusation by saying, “Take this from this, if this be otherwise. If circumstances lead me, I will find where truth is hid indeed within the centre”(65). This quotation suggests that Polonius is sure of himself and seems that his motives are for the wrong reasons. In this sentence the word “centre” means “universe”, this suggests that the truth in life is found when one is in the center or chooses the “middle path”, which alludes to the myth of Icarus. Many of the characters in this play seem to be avoiding their destiny and not choosing the middle path. This suggests that there will be consequences and they will experience a tragic downfall. Polonius than tells the King that he will leave the two of them alone and will see if they are in love. If he is wrong he will “but keep a farm and carters”(66) and will give up his royal position. Polonius is very haughty and sure of himself and puts a lot on the line. The King and Queen exit and Polonius and Hamlet are alone together. Polonius asks if Hamlet knows who he is. Hamlet says, “Excellent well you are a fishmonger”(66). This sentence can suggest many things, one of which is an insult. Polonius has a very high status job and for Hamlet to call him a “fishmonger”, someone who butchers fish, suggest that Polonius is not the man he appears to be and that he is at the bottom of the social class. Polonius says no to Hamlet’s question and Hamlet says how honest Polonius is and he states, “…to be honest, as this world goes, is to be one man pick’d out of ten thousand”(66) This suggests that honesty is very rare in the world. Also, honesty is connected with truth, which Polonius sates earlier that truth I hidden in the centre of the Earth. Polonius and Hamlet both agree that truth is difficult to come by which is interesting because they are not the most honest people and they are rather sneaky and suspicious. Hamlet than goes on to compare Ophelia to a “dead dog” and this does not seem to phase Polonius which suggests that he does not truly care for his daughter. Hamlet than says, “Let her not walk I’ th’ sun. Conception is a blessing, but as your daughter may conceive friend, look to’t”(66). This quotation suggests that Ophelia should be kept a way from the sun or “Hamlet” because it will cause her to or already has caused her to become pregnant. Also, Hamlet’s comparison with the sun suggests that he finds himself full of truth and honest and capable of causing tragic downfall. In the myth of Icarus when Icarus flew to high the sun melted his wings and lead to his death. This may foreshadow that Hamlet use Ophelia as a way to gain revenge on Claudius and he is now warning Polonius. Hamlet continues to talk like a mad man with Polonius and eventually Polonius exits. Guildenstern and Rosencrantz and enter and greet Hamlet. Hamlet asks how they are and the say, “Happy, in that we are not [over-] happy, on Fortune’s cap we are not the very button”(68). This line once again alludes to destiny and staying on the middle path. Rosencrantz and Guildenstern and not too happy, but are rather fine somewhere in the middle they are not on the button on Fortune’s and “nor the soles of her shoe”(68). They than go on to say they are in “the middle of her favors” or her “privates”, and Hamlet than calls Fortune a “strumpet”. This suggests that Fortune is a female and “grants favors for men”, which reveals that woman are only viewed as sexual objects and are on this Earth to please men. They continue to discuss how the world has grown honest and Hamlet says “doomsday is near”(68), which suggests that if everyone was honest the world would not last and people would become chaotic. Hamlet than asks them why hey have come to this prison of Denmark. Hamlet believes that the whole world is a prison and that Denmark is the worst. Hamlet than discusses that he his life would be better without his “bad dreams”. People have bad dreams due to things that are haunting them from their past or present. King Hamlet’s death and the hasty marriage between Gertrude and Claudius represent Hamlet’s nightmares. Perhaps Hamlet is finding love and happiness in Ophelia because he does not feel that his mother is supporting him in a time when he needs her. All of his unwanted thoughts and up in his bad dreams, and prevent him from his “ambitions”. They than all go on to discus hoq dreams are shadows of reality and so on and so forth. Than Hamlet makes Rosencrantz and Guildenstern tell the truth and they reveal that they have been sent to spy on Hamlet. The players than arrive and Hamlet welcomes them. Hamlet and Polonius begin to talk again and Hamlet calls “Jephthah” and asks “Am I not I’ th’ right old Jephthah?”(73). Polonius says, “If you call me Jephthah, my lord, I have a daughter that I love passing well”(73). Jephthah was a judge of Israel who made a bet or vow with God in order to win a battle. He vowed that whoever/whatever he first saw when entering his house he would sacrifice as a holocaust (burnt offering). His daughter was the first person he saw and she asked for two months to lament of her virginity. Polonius being compared to him reveals that he will sacrifice his daughter in order to maintain his reputation and that to him her virginity should be preserved, but perhaps Ophelia does not agree. Hamlet than asks one of the players to recite a speech for him. The player recites the speech and it is very similar to the death of King Hamlet. It is about Prima who kills his brother Pyrrhus. The players says “But as we often see in some storm a silence in the heavens….as hush as death, anon the dreadful thunder doth rend the region"(76). This suggests that there is calm before the storm and that than unexpectedly thunder arises and causes chaos. Hamlet at this pint has been kept to himself but soon he will release his pain and take revenge on Claudius. After the player describes the murder and says, “Out, out, thou strumpet Fortune! All you gods in general synod take away her power”(76). Once again fortune is being personified as a woman and this suggests that women lead to men’s tragic downfalls because they represent temptation and feelings of happiness. This also connects with how Hamlet has gone mad because his mother a woman, who he cares for, has married Claudius and will now lead to Claudius’s tragic downfall and possibly Hamlet’s. The Player than finishes his speech and Hamlet his pleased.In the majority of act 2 scene 2 fortune and destiny is brought up. The King reveals that he is selfish and not concerned with Hamlet. Polonius reveals that he is sacrificing Ophelia to benefit himself and also that Hamlet will soon gain revenge on King Claudius.
In Act 2, Scene 2 of the Hamlet, Hamlets describe Denmark “like a prison”(240). He thinks only bad things happen in Denmark so that’s why he thought his two good friends; Guildenstern and Rosencrantz were sent there because they had committed a crime. Denmark is a prison because it has “many confines, wards, and dungeons” (241-2) there. Rosencrantz think Hamlet think Denmark is like a prison because he is so “ambitious” (247). Meaning that he is eagerly desirous of wanting to achieve something. He thinks so much about it that he sees Denmark as a prison and he doesn’t know what to do anymore. So that’s why he start to “have bad dreams” (250-1) about it. Guildenstern told him that dreams “indeed are ambitious” (252) and that it “is merely the shadow of a dream (253-4). All he can do is dream of it but he can’t do anything about it and see it. That’s why dream is describe as a shadow. For him to understand the dreams, he has to understand the shadow of it. Hamlet says that beggars are “bodies” (258) and king and heroes are “the beggars’ shadows” (259) because they have dreams and beggars don’t. A beggar doesn’t have dreams or goal so that’s why they are the bodies. King and heroes are ambitious because they have dreams and goal and that is to save the world and the peoples in this world and society. Hamlet knows that Rosencrantz and Guildenstern didn’t come to visit him for nothing. He “know the good King and Queen have sent” (275-6) them to spy on him. He can tell from the “kind of confession” (274) looks on their faces. He asked them why did the King and Queen send them to him. He though maybe they would tell him the truth by reminding them about their “fellowship” (279) that they had since they were young. Since they didn’t tell him about it so he decided to tell him how he feels and why he thinks maybe the King and Queen had sent them to him. He told Rosencrantz and Guildenstern that he had “lost all his mirth, forgone all custom of exercises” (291). The whole world just feels empty to him. Everything that is so “admirable” (299) to other people is not as beautiful as it is to him anymore. He see things differently then other people. To him there is nothing more beautiful and “men delights not” (302) him nor “women” (303). This is why he feels like Denmark is a prison because nothing seems to interest him anymore and because he feels trapped; as if he can’t do anything that he wants. Not only that but he has no one with him or to talk to. That’s also why the King had decided to send “the players” (309) to him. He thought maybe they would be an “entertainment” (309) to him and make him feel better instead.
In the conversation between Hamlet, Rosencrantz, and Guildenstern of Act 2 Scene 2, Shakespeare reveals the sanity of Hamlet’s mind and views of his surrounding impacts the characters around him and he relate to King Claudius. Shakespeare display this by the manner of how Hamlet and his action toward his friends. In the situation of the conversation all began when the Queen Gertrude and King Claudius thought that Hamlet is insane due to his lament of his father’s death. Polonius thinks that it is due to the extreme feeling of love to his daughter. The King and Queen sent his long time friends, Rosencrantz and Guildenstern to find the reasons for his insanity.The talk between Hamlet, Rosencrantz, and Guildenstern, one can wonder if Hamlet is insane to begin with. In the conversation, Shakespeare switches Hamlet’s speech between sane comments of philosophy to the insane and paranoid comments. Hamlet begins with saying the normal greetings of “good lads, how do you both?”(222-223) then “Is it your own incline?” (269) It is if he is being paranoid. The actions of Hamlet seem to be unpredictable. The characters might think that Hamlet has lost his sanity, but few lines afterwards he states that he knows that his “good King and Queen have sent for you” (276). It does not look like he is insane, but cunning to the readers because he seems to act paranoid and insanely when it comes to conversation comes to the subject of the King. Also before the player comes in, he stated that people “make mouth at him” (354), but after taking the throne. It that Hamlet keep on attacking the subject of the King. The way how Hamlet views the world at this point shows his sanity diminishing into paranoia. He answers the question of both Rosencrantz and Guildenstern put up after he comments that the Fortune sending them to prison and said both Denmark and the world are the prison. He said “A goodly one, in which there are many confines, wards, and dungeons, Denmark being one o’ th’ worst” (241-243). It is only directed from his own thoughts which he state few lines down. He refers to this literally and basically metaphorically. In Denmark, The new King is the criminal that killed kill the former king, yet the people presented him with the crown. His mother acted like a strumpet and went from her first deceased beloved to the criminal. Denmark does not take a stand toward this action. He would think of “Denmark being one” (243) of the worst. All of those sins exist in Denmark, which is a part of the world that holds sins. He is also imprisoned in Denmark unable to go back to his college under the plea of his mother. In this environment he view that he is imprisoned in a place similar to a prison in a larger chain of prison. Being surrounded by people who did not bat an eye about the unforgivable crime, he would become insane or paranoid.People around are impacted by his insane and paranoid ways. Gertrude and Claudius know about Hamlet’s lack of sanity issue. Polonius gets the idea but for the wrong reason. Rosencrantz and Guildenstern notices that their friend has lost some bolt and nuts in his mind and digress to escape. The reason for Hamlet losing his sanity involves the new king ascending the throne more than the lament of his father. His action and speech proves that way.
In Act 2 Scene 2, a conversation starts off with Hamlet, Rosencrantz and Guildenstern. To begin, Rosencrantz and Guildenstern are childhood friends of Hamlet stated by King Claudius himself, “That, being of so young days brought up with him, / And sith so neighbored to his youth and havior” (61). By being childhood friends of Hamlet, King Claudius devises a plan to employ on Hamlet to find out what has caused his recent strange behaviors. Although Rosencrantz and Guildenstern are childhood friends of Hamlet, they are introduced later in the novel, not only that but it also means that they must also contain some past information on King Hamlet as well. Not only Claudius reveals that Rosencrantz and Guildenstern knows Hamlet but the Queen herself, Queen Gertrude and she also states that no one knows Hamlet better than they do, “And sure I am two men there is not living, / To whom he more adheres. If it will please you” (61). At first Rosencrantz believed that it was more of a command than a favor, “more into command, / than to entreaty” and hinting that it might have made him felt a little uncomfortable but Guildenstern quickly replies for the both of them, “But we both obey, / And here give up ourselves, in the full bent,” (61). Looking at it as it might be a hint and have made many questions pop about; does Rosencrantz have something against the King and the Queen? In the end of the conversation, it is also noticeable that Rosencrantz have one line as well. At first sight Hamlet, Rosencrantz and Guildenstern are all glad to see each other. They start by greeting each other then to talking about “Fortune”. In this passage, Fortune is personified as a woman, who also happens to have a cap and shoes. It is interesting to find that only two clothing are used to cover the top and bottom, instead of a shirt and pants, Shakespeare uses a cap and shoes, “Happy, in that we are not [over-]happy, on Fortune’s [cap] we are not the very bottom, / Hamlet: Nor the soles of her shoe?” (68). Hamlet then says, “Then you live about her waist, or in the middle of her favors?” and Guildenstern replies, “Faith, her privates we.” this proves their friendship by already starting up with humor (68). After they go onto a new subject, about the world and how Hamlet sees it as a prison, especially Denmark. Since this was discussed in class already, another observation is easily made. Hamlet says, “O God, I could be bounded in a nutshell, and count myself a king of infinite space – were it not that I have bad dreams” stating that even if he was in a nutshell he can still think of himself as the king of the universe but he can’t be because he has bad dreams. This foreshadows Hamlet’s downfall, where he can believe his plans might work but in the end it backfires on him. Dreams are alluded to many subjects during this conversation such as a “shadow”, implying that dreams will always just be dreams, such as shadows will always be a shadow, and sometimes one wish to make it come true, it never does in the end. In addition, they then switch to another topic of servants but Hamlet says, “No such matter. I will not sort you with the rest of my / servants, for, to speak to you like an honest man, I am most / dreadfully attended. But in the beaten way of friendship,” stating that he will not put Rosencrantz and Guildenstern in the class of servants but as his friends. Hamlet also does this with Horatio, Marcellus and Barnardo before the ghost scene, “Sir, my good friend – I’ll change that name with you.” (39). Hamlet seems to be able to make friends and rather than having servants he calls them a friend. Hamlet doesn’t really seem like someone who is actually lonely he has people around him that come and actually try to comfort Hamlet. Hamlet is just obsessed with planning to go against King Claudius and before he does it, he has to have friends.
In Hamlet’s conversation with Rosencrantz and Guildenstern, Shakespeare conveys Hamlet’s character on whether or not he is really crazy. As Hamlet and his friends are reunited, he expresses his kind and lively nature as he welcomes them and jokes with them. However, after talking with his good friends, he realizes that they were sent for rather than just visiting for entertainment and to catch up on things. “Were you not sent for?” (69). Hamlet acts almost as if he is bipolar, during one moment he is friendly and childish however at the spark of another moment, he is serious and matured. As Hamlet first meets Guildenstern and Rosencrantz, he is the side of him which is “crazy“ to everyone else but him. “My [excellent] good friends! How dost thou, Guildenstern? Ah, Rosencrantz! Good lads, how do u both?” (67). This side of Hamlet, is the side which everyone believes him to be crazy and not in tune with what is going on around him and the world. Hamlet is so unpredictable to everyone which is why the King and Queen sent Guildenstern and Rosencrantz to visit him in the first place; to find out information and what is going on about him. It is as if Hamlet acts like this to fool everyone and hide what he is really feeling about the world such as his father’s death, uncle taking his father’s throne and his mother, etc. Then the other side to Hamlet is his knowledgeable and serious part of himself, which he rarely brings out but when he does, its essential to what is going on. “I will not sort you with the rest of my servants; for to speak to you like an honest man, I am most dreadfully attended. But in the beaten way of friendship, what make you at Elsinore?” (69). This expresses Hamlet’s keen senses and intelligence on how he knows what is going on without anyone telling him. In addition, we see that Hamlet does pay attention to what is going on around him and understands the fact of what everyone is doing around him. Everyone is fooled by Hamlet’s personality. In addition, to being paranoid about what is going on about him and the tricks he is playing on people such as Polonius. We see how Hamlet’s insanity is because of what has happened to him with his family and everything going around such as his love for Ophelia, but no one realizes that Hamlet is still very sane and comprehends everything going on around him.
In act 2 scene 2 of Hamlet, Shakespeare develops Rosencrantz and Guildenstern into fearful servants of the royal family. When Hamlet greets Rosencrantz and Guildenstern they greet him back by explaining how they are doing. They reply that they are, “as the indifferent children of the earth” (68). When they refer to themselves as the children of earth, they are saying that they are just like everyone else, who has no bias to either one of the members of the royal family: that being the King and Queen, and Hamlet. A closer look at the scene reveals that Rosencrantz and Guildenstern are scared of Hamlet. It could be that they believe Hamlet has gone mad but what is true is that they are only speaking to him with carefully worded sentences to not upset him. Yet as Hamlet’s tones changes to a more serious note they are unsure whether or not to tell him the truth. They can’t seem to shake off Hamlet’s interrogation of who sent them which makes the two characters seem almost lost. They are hesitant to give Hamlet the answer he is looking for and they quiver every time Hamlets waits for their response. The hesitation indicates that they are struggling at finding a way of satisfying both party of the royal family. Hamlet’s apparent madness frightens the two characters and so they finally reveal to him who sent them. The conversation with Hamlet, Rosencrantz and Guildenstern tries to get Hamlet to change his attitude. The structure of the conversation starts with questions which are then answered with experiences. Then when a main idea to the question has been established arguments are made to find out truth. The structure of the conversation begins with Hamlet asking Rosencrantz and Guildenstern how they are doing and they reply that their luck and joy are not too much or too little with the image of Lady Luck. Yet Hamlet’s main thought on his mind is why Rosencrantz and Guildenstern are in Denmark to see him. After they battle it out in words and arguments Hamlet finally hears the truth out of them. Before Rosencrantz and Guildenstern meet up with Hamlet they first go to the King and Queen where Claudius, “Thanks, Rosencrantz and gentle Guildenstern,” while Gertrude, “Thanks, Guildenstern and gentle Rosencrantz” (61). The King and Queen use the names interchangeably showing that both characters, Rosencrantz and Guildenstern, are similar to each other. The King describes Guildenstern as gentle afterwards the Queen refer to Rosencrantz as gentle as well. The tone of the dialogue makes it that the King and Queen is saying this in a careless fashion. When the King and Queen thanks the two characters the Queen immediately ask them to visit Hamlet at once. When the word “gentle” is inspected more closely, the King and Queen are saying that both of the characters are easily manageable. The words of the dialogue appear that the King and Queen are asking the two characters but the tone reveals much more. Rosencrantz and Guildenstern are being commanded to seek out why Hamlet’s attitude has “too much changed” (61): they follow their order in order to please their majesty. It appears that Rosencrantz and Guildenstern are doing a favor for the King and Queen out of loyalty but it is more because they want to please the royal family. Their brown nosing is shown because of the events that have them trying to please the different parties of the royal family.
Though he admits to it in poetic and ambiatic tones, Hamlet’s act of madness is evident through Act 2 Scene 2 in his exchange with Rosencrantz and Guildenstern. By masking said madness with philosphical, aggressive and platonic ways, the interaction leaves both Hamlet and his friends questioning him. Hamlet greets them with pleasantries and a humor that is like the Hamlet they know from school, “My excellent good friends!” (221) he opens and welcomes them to the court. They in turn share a few jokes of Fortune and her “secret parts”, giving the sense of a free and light Hamlet that can be believed is shown with just his friends in his time of grief. “O, most true, she is a strumpet. What news?” (232-3). This quickly turns around when Hamlet speaks of Denmark and the world around him as a prison, reflecting on the body he lives in as a prison as well, due to the dreams he holds and their shadows. “Why then ‘tis none to you; for there is nothing either good or bad, but thinking makes it so. To me it is a prison” (245-6). It is this very dark change of tone in Hamlet that sets the pace for his later soliloquy in the scene farther on. It is also which I feel makes his loyal friends question his sanity as well, though unlike Hamlet’s deceived “uncle-father and aunt mother”, they understand the matter of his grief, though they have no idea of his plans for revenge. Hamlet, in knowing this, and mindful of his mother and uncle, know to question Rosencrants and Guildenstern, though it is in his manner that makes the interaction a turning point, “Anything but to th’ purpose. You were sent for, and there is a kind of confession in your looks, which your modesties have not craft enough to color. I know the good Kind and Queen have sent for you” (273-6). Through the Plato-like philosophizing and images of light and shadows, the characters delve into a philosophical conversation, perhaps to get Hamlet off the mind of his suspicious and to amuse him before the Players arrive, “To think, my lord, if you delight not in man, what lenten entertainment the players shall receive from you” (308-310), though it is still Hamlet’s dreams that make life, even full of entertainment, a prison.
Guildenstern and Rosencrantz are sent by the King and Queen Hamlet check on him. The Queen believes that Hamlet is acting strangely because of the recent death of his father and her marriage to his Uncle. When Guildenstern and Rosencrantz first arrive, Hamlet welcomes them with friendship; “My excellent good friends…Good lads how do you both” (221-223). His friendliness and kinds words would lead one to believe that they are all close friends. The conversation then leads to sexual references towards Fortune. They call her a “strumpet”. This is a theme that I believe will reoccur throughout the book. Women so far have been referenced as “weak” like Gertrude and strumpets. The conversation then leads to Hamlet calling the world a prison, and going deep into thought, which he eventually can no longer think about. Almost blatantly he asks them both, “what make you at Elsinore”(265). Hamlet knows that Guildenstern and Rosencrantz were sent for. Hamlet could see, “a kind of confession”(274) in their faces. He immediately knows that it was the King and Queen that had sent them, possible he was expecting it from his recent behavior. Guildenstern and Rosencrantz admit to being sent for, and Hamlet does not hold this against him. Guildenstern and Rosencrantz then bring up the actors. I believe that the players have a deeper meaning and significance in the play. The King is acting as though nothing is wrong and he didn’t kill King Hamlet. Ophelia is acting like she is innocent and that she has no part in the relationship with Hamlet anymore. Guildenstern and Rosencrantz acted like the King and Queen sent them to check up on Hamlet. Many so far have used acting as a device to hide their guilt. I believe that this will be a reoccurring symbol throughout the play.
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