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Shakespeare’s Hamlet’s Behavior in Act III Report


Scene 1

What impression about Hamlet is passed on to Claudius by Rosencrantz and Guildenstern?

The Hamlet’s friends tell the King that he is miserable and “he feels himself distracted” (Shakespeare 152). Guildenstern also says they think that he will not feel better soon; however, when they reminded him of the theater actors he used to know, he felt joyous and even arranged the acting performance. The King and Queen are invited to watch this performance.

Why do Claudius and Polonius hide when Hamlet comes into the scene?

Claudius and Polonius ask Ophelia to meet Hamlet in the hall, where he usually walks in the evenings. They decide to hide because they want to find out secretly if love to Ophelia is the reason for Hamlet’s madness. They intend to observe the meeting of the young people and to listen to what Hamlet would say to Ophelia.

What is Hamlet really pondering in the soliloquy that contains the lines “To be or not to be…”? What decision does he finally reach and why?

Hamlet bethinks of the meaninglessness of life. At the beginning of the monolog, he asks himself if it is better to surrender to the lifelong flow of events and calamities or rather to fight against it and die knowing that you tried to resist.

“Whether ‘tis nobler in the mind to suffer

The slings and arrows of outrageous fortune,

Or to take arms against the sea of troubles,

And by opposing end them?…” (Shakespeare 156).

He thinks of death and the after-death obscurity. In the end, he comes to the conclusion that this obscurity is the reason people do not want to die and prefer to lead the lives full of suffering. In his opinion, the indeterminacy of life after death scares more than any distress a person can face in life.

Describe Hamlet’s behavior in his encounter with Ophelia. What does he mean when he tells her “Get thee to a nunnery”? Why does he behave this way? What is her reaction?

Hamlet considers that people, women and men, befoul and corrupt each others. He tells Ophelia to become a nun also because he thinks that if she gets married she will give birth to more sinners as he is:

“… I could accuse me of such things that it

Were better my mother had not borne me…

What should such fellows as I do crawling

Between earth and heaven? We are arrant knaves,

All; believe none of us” (Shakespeare 160).

He behaves this way because he is absorbed in the thoughts of death and revenge; he is completely engaged in his misery. Although he loved Ophelia before, it now doesn’t matter, and all the feelings seem meaningless to him. Ophelia becomes wretched after their conversation. She also thinks he went mad and that his “noble mind is here o’erthrown” (Shakespeare 162). The fact that she knew him as a smart and dignified person makes her even unhappier.

Does Claudius agree with Polonius’ assessment that Hamlet is lovesick? What plan does he have for Hamlet? What does he mean: “Madness in great ones must not unwatched go”?

Claudius doesn’t think that Hamlet is lovesick; he sees that Hamlet is melancholic and probably hatches some plan inside his head. Thus, Claudius decides to send Hamlet to England to collect tribute because he sees a threat of disclosure in him.

Scene 2

With whom does Hamlet confide his plan?

Hamlet informs Horatio about his plan because he sees the dignity and freedom of any passion in his friend. Hamlet asks Horatio to watch the King’s emotions and expressions during the performance.

As they settle in to watch the play, how does Hamlet treat his mother? How does he behave towards Ophelia? Why does he behave in this manner?

Hamlet treats arrogantly both his mother and Ophelia. He says that women’s love is too short, and he regards the Queen as his father’s traitor because she doesn’t feel any grief though her husband died only two months ago.

The play is entitled THE MURDER OF GONZAGO. Why does Hamlet refer to it as THE MOUSETRAP?

He calls the play “The Mousetrap” because he intends to reveal the evil made by his uncle by reminding him the scene of the murder. Hamlet hopes the scene demonstrated in the performance will make the King anxious and, therefore, will prove his guilt.

What is ironic about Gertrude’s comment about the queen in the play: “The lady doth protest too much, methinks”?

In the dialogue between Player Queen and Player King in the performance, Player Queen makes a vow that she would never fall in love with another man and that after her husband’s death she would be grief-stricken till the end of her life. Listening to this speech, the Queen opposes to her words. While commenting this, she probably tries to justify herself.

How does Claudius behave when the play reaches its climax?

When Lucianus pours poison in the ears of the sleeping king in the play, Claudius stands up. He wants to over the play and goes away.

How does Hamlet behave when his mother requests a word with her?

When Hamlet’s mother requests him to talk to her, he doesn’t want to go. He behaves rudely while talking to Rosencrantz and Guildenstern because they came to him on behalf of the Queen.

Why does Hamlet ask if Rosencrantz and Guildenstern can play a musical instrument?

Hamlet compares playing flute with lying:

“’Tis as easy as lying: govern these ventages

With your lingers and thumb, give it breath with your

Mouth, and it will discourse most eloquent music” (Shakespeare 192).

In his opinion, Guildenstern and Rosencrantz lie to him when saying that they can help him to relieve his misery. His friends ask him to confess the reasons of his sorrow to him, but Hamlet feels that Rosencrantz and Guildenstern are more loyal to the King and Queen in this situation.

Scene 3

Who goes to the Queen’s room to hide behind a curtain and spy?

It is Polonius. When he gets to know that Hamlet goes to visit the Queen, he offers the King to hide in the room and listen to the conversation between the mother and son. The King approves Polonius’s idea.

Hamlet passes by Claudius in prayer. Why doesn’t he take action at that moment?

Hamlet doesn’t want to kill Claudius while he is praying because the moment of prayer is too moral and righteous. In Hamlet’s opinion, it is better to revenge while the King will be occupied with something impure and obscene:

“… about some act

That has no relish of salvation in’t;

Then trip him, that his heels may kick at heaven,

And that his soul may be as damn’d and black

As hell, whereto it goes” (Shakespeare 202).

This decision makes it clear that Hamlet’s thirst for revenge is very strong, and Hamlet will not be able to compose himself unless Claudius is punished to a full extent.

What mixed emotions does Claudius express in his prayer? What conclusion does he reach? What is ironic about his moment of prayer, with regards to Hamlet?

Claudius recognizes his cruel misdeed in the prayer; however, he can’t repent totally because murdering his brother allowed him to obtain everything he wanted: the crown and the Queen. He comes to the conclusion that the sincere repentance isn’t possible while he has everything he desired and what he murdered his brother for. It is possible to say that the pure moment of prayer saved Claudius from the death by Hamlet’s hand.

Scene 4

Why is Gertrude angry with Hamlet? Why is Hamlet angry with Gertrude?

The Queen is angry because Hamlet has been rude to the King. Hamlet, in his turn, is angry because Gertrude betrayed his father and she doesn’t want to be true about it.

Whom does Hamlet kill? What is his reaction to this act?

Hamlet kills Polonius, who was hiding behind a curtain. Hamlet didn’t like Polonius, and he doesn’t regard killing him as something upsetting. Hamlet rather is disappointed that it was not the King who was hiding behind the curtain.

What does he beg his mother to do? Who arrives to calm him down? What is Gertrude’s reaction to Hamlet’s behavior?

Hamlet begs the Queen to recognize her betrayal of his father. He asks her to look at the picture of the two brothers. He compares his father to gods, and calls Claudius unworthy and impious. By saying this Hamlet tries to open his mother’s eyes because she seems not to be ashamed or regretful. The ghost of his father comes and asks him to console his mother and to “step between her and her fighting soul” (Shakespeare 206). Gertrude is frightened and thinks that Hamlet is mad because she doesn’t see a ghost. From her perspective, Hamlet speaks to the emptiness. When the ghost leaves, Hamlet asks the Queen to tell Claudius everything that was on Hamlet’s.

Hamlet confides that he knows Claudius’ plan for him. According to Hamlet, what fate awaits him?

Hamlet foresees that Rosencrantz and Guildenstern will come to him with the news about his departure to England. He knows that they serve the King, and all they say about loyalty to Hamlet is barely true. However, he plans to outwit them.

Works Cited

Shakespeare, William. Hamlet, New York, NY: Barron’s, 2002. Print.

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1. IvyPanda. "Shakespeare's Hamlet's Behavior in Act III." March 29, 2021. https://ivypanda.com/essays/shakespeares-hamlets-behavior-in-act-iii/.


IvyPanda. "Shakespeare's Hamlet's Behavior in Act III." March 29, 2021. https://ivypanda.com/essays/shakespeares-hamlets-behavior-in-act-iii/.


IvyPanda. 2021. "Shakespeare's Hamlet's Behavior in Act III." March 29, 2021. https://ivypanda.com/essays/shakespeares-hamlets-behavior-in-act-iii/.


IvyPanda. (2021) 'Shakespeare's Hamlet's Behavior in Act III'. 29 March.

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