2 Act 4 Scene I I’m a bit confused about Hamlet’s madness, to be honest. Let’s rewind to line Act 3, Scene 4, (line 185):“Or paddling in your neck with his damned fingers, / Make you to ravel all this matter out / That I essentially am not in madness / But mad in craft.”Rewind: “not this”?
3 Then, back to Act 4, Scene 1:Gertrude says, “Mad as the sea and wind when both contend / Which is mightier.”Claudius utters an irony: “It had been so with us, had we been there.” He means to say that Hamlet would have killed him, had he been there, which is ironically true.Claudius: “It [Hamlet’s murder of Polonius] will be laid to us…”
4 Claudius: “We must, with all our majesty and skill, / Both countenance [condone] and excuse.” “…may miss our name / and hit the woundless air.”Scene IISidnote II, Page 270
5 Scene IIIClaudius: “He’s loved of the distracted multitude, / Who like not in their judgment, but their eyes. / And where tis so, th’ offender’s scourge is weighed, / But never the offense.”“Diseases desperate grown”
6 Hamlet makes many jokes about how Polonius is being eaten by worms. He does this to show that all men die a similar death, as in Beowulf.“Nothing but to show you a king may go by a progress through the guts of a beggar (in prose).”Hamlet tells Claudius, in a clever way to “go to hell”.Hamlet makes a joke about how Polonius will stink up the castle!
7 Hamlet makes a note that God sees the plans of men before they take place: “I see a cherub that sees them.”Last line of scene III: Haps=FortuneWhat does Claudius letter ask of “England”?“For like the hectic [fever] in my blood he [Hamlet] rages.”
8 Scene IVAt the beginning of the scene, Fortinbras wants to march through Denmark.He is a war-monger. First he wants to fights with Denmark, now he wants to claim a very unimportant piece of Polish land.Around line 20, SATIRE, the futile nature of war.
9 Ironically, Young Fortinbras becomes a motivation for Young Hamlet. “Rightly to be great / Is not to stir without great argument, / But greatly to find quarrel in a straw / When honor’s at the stake.”
10 Scene vA “gentleman” reports that Ophelia is mad.“She speaks much of her father[….]speaks things in doubt / That carry but half sense”“They yawn at it / And botch the words up to fit their own thoughts…”Shakespeare had much to say about the common, the vulgar, the mobs, in this scene and later on.
11 Gertrude: “So full of artless jealousy is guilt, / It spills itself fearing to be spilt.” Ophelia’s song…is she chaste? Line 56.Claudius says of Ophelia, “When sorrows come, they come not single spies / But in battalions: first her father slain; / Next your son gone, […] the people muddied, / thick and unwholesome in thoughts and whispers / For good Polonius’ death…”
12 Claudius admits that it was a dumb idea to bury Polonius in secret. Laertes comes back from France with an agenda. He is ticked, he wants answers, and he initially blames Claudius.“Her brother is in secret come from France, / Feeds on this wonder, keeps himself in clouds…”
13 The ocean, […], / Eats not the flats (shores) with more impetuous haste / Than young Laertes, in a riotous head, / O’erbears your officers.“Choose we, Laertes shall be king!”Claudius (ironic), “There’s such divinity doth hedge a king / That treason can but peep to what it would, / Acts little of his will.”
14 Laertes: “I dare damnation Laertes: “I dare damnation! To this point I stand / That both the worlds I give to negligence. / Let come what comes, only I’ll be revenged…”Laertes is passionate and wants to act. He plays the foil to Hamlet, who is too philosophical about consequence.However, as one is about to see, Laertes is also too easily persuaded (by Claudius) to delay action.
15 Laertes is moved by Ophelia’s madness. Line 175, a note, the flowers have symbolic meaning.Scene VI“Yet are they [words] too light for the bore of the matter.”Hamlet was abducted by sailors, but now these sailors have letters for the king.
16 Scene VIIClaudius, at the beginning of the scene, tells Laertes that he is innocent of Polonius’ death. Is this true?“That he which hath your noble father slain / Pursued my life.”Does Claudius know of Hamlet’s plan?!
17 Laertes then asks, why didn’t you punish Hamlet? Claudius responds, “For two special reasons.”(1) “The queen, his mother, / Lives almost by his looks […] She is so conjunct to my life and soul, / I could not (live) but by her.” ????
18 (2) “Why to a public count I might not go / Is the great love the general gender bear him / […] Convert gyves to graces–”Claudius: “You must not think / That we are made of stuff so flat and dull / That we can let our beard be shook with danger / And think it pastime.”
19 Claudius receives a letter that says, HAMLET IS BACK,” but that letter is somewhat confusing. Therefore, Claudius comes up with a “master plan” to get rid of Hamlet once and for all.Hamlet will have to fence Laertes, which should not be a hard match to set up, since Hamlet envies Laertes skill in fighting.
20 Claudius is a great persuader: “What would you undertake / To show yourself in deed your father’s son / More than in words?”Laertes: “To cut his throat i’ th’ church”Hamlet + Laertes = FOILClaudius (ironic) “Revenge should have no bounds”
21 In essence, a wager will be placed on each side (that of Hamlet and Laertes) and they will fence to see who wins. We will discuss the wager later, as it is expounded upon in Act V.Laertes will choose a rapier that is not blunted, and will poison the tip.Claudius comes up with plan B, which is, if Hamlet is winning for some reason, they will offer him a drink from a poisoned chalice.
22 Ophelia is drowned?How? Was it an accident? What is the image?
23 Act V NotablesScene INotice the social register of the clowns (jesters) is lower. They are intended to be comical, but they often utter truths, as does everyone in Hamlet.Side-note 2: According to church law, those who die by suicide are to be denied full Christian funeral rights (which include burial in consecrated ground).
24 “The crowner hath sat on her and finds it Christian burial.” The coroner decided it was not suicide.First Clown (line 14): Logic over suicide.“If this had not been a gentlewoman, she should have been buried out o’ / Christian burial.”The clown’s riddle: “Who builds stronger than a mason, a shipwright, or a carpenter?”Hamlet: “The hand of little employment hath the daintier sense.”
25 “Here’s fine revolution…” (Hamlet) Notice that Ophelia’s grave has been previously used…That’s where the discussion about all the skulls comes from.To be brief, all Hamlet’s musings essentially boil down to one thing. Occupation, finance, and social status matter not in death.“The age is grown so picked that the toe of the peasant comes so near the heel of the courtier he galls his kibe.”
26 Funny or ironic statement: “There (England) the men are as mad as he.” We find Hamlet is 30.“Upon what ground?”“Faith, if ‘a be not rotten before ‘a die –”Double meaning of rotten.“To what base uses may we return”The priest calls Ophelia’s death “suspicious”G’trude: “I hoped thou shouldst have been my Hamlet’s wife…”
27 Hamlet: “I loved Ophelia Hamlet: “I loved Ophelia. Forty thousand brothers / Could not with all their quantity of love / Make up my sum. What wilt thou do for her?”Line 275 Nature will take its course
28 Scene IIHamlet: “There’s a divinity that shapes our ends, / Rough-hew (crudely shape) them how we will.”We find that Hamlet actually does something in Act V. He stealthily finds the letter that Claudius sent to England. After taking it from R & G, he rewrites it, reseals it, and replaces it. The letter now orders to the immediate killing of R&G.
29 “Why, even in that was Heaven ordinant “Why, even in that was Heaven ordinant. / I had my father’s signet in my purse, / Which was the model of that Danish seal.”“They are not near my conscience. Their defeat / Does by their own insinuation grow.”What is the purpose of Osric?He is a waffler, but other than that?Hamlet: “…and many more of the same breed that / I know the drossy age dotes on –”
30 What is the wager of the fight? The odds? Hamlet: “We defy the augury (divination). There is special providence in the fall of a sparrow [….] The readiness is all; since no man of aught he leaves knows, what is ‘t to leave betimes?Hamlet’s apology (LINE 204)Hamlet and Laertes fence. Hamlet is winning 3-0, which is obviously unexpected.G’trude: “The Queen carouses to thy fortune, Hamlet.”
31 G’trude is poisoned (dies). Laertes: [Aside] “And yet it is almost against my conscience.”Laertes: “I am justly killed with my own treachery.”Hamlet kills Claudius.Hamlet: “Mine and my father’s death come upon thee, / Nor thine one me.”Hamlet tells Horatio to “Report me and my cause aright / To the unsatisfied.”
32 Hamlet recommends Fortinbras the new king. Hamlet dies.We find that R&G are dead.Horatio explains the tragedy.Fortinbras: “For me, with sorrow I embrace my fortune.”Hamlet would have “proved most royal.”