Hamlet: Act Iii Scene Ii

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Hamlet: Act III Scene II

In this scene, taking place in a castle hall, Hamlet devises a plan to reinforce his beliefs of his uncle’s treachery by having a play acted out for him. This play tells the story of a nephew who murders his uncle, the king, and marries his widowed wife, mimicking Hamlet’s real life circumstance with Claudius and Gertrude. Hamlet tells Horatio that they should both keep watch over Claudius for any signs of guilt throughout the play. Claudius does, indeed, storm out of the theater hall when the poison is poured in the king’s ear, which confirms for Hamlet his uncle’s guilt. Concluding the scene with a soliloquy after being beckoned by his mother, Hamlet reveals that he will be brutally honest with his mother in regards to his feelings of her adulterous actions, but he promises not to physically harm her. “I will speak daggers to her, but use none”. This is an important scene as a whole because Hamlet no longer has any shred of doubt that the ghost could have been lying, which prepares him for taking his ultimate revenge on Claudius.

Hamlet uses many allusions throughout this scene, referencing Termagant, a Muslim deity; Herod, a famous medieval tyrant; and the Roman gods Vulcan and Neptune. He even makes an allusion to Julius Caesar, another of Shakespeare’s famous plays. He also uses abundant metaphors, referring to a group of people as a “pipe for Fortune’s finger”, which also personifies the abstract idea of fortune. Hamlet uses a pipe metaphor again when ridiculing Rosencrantz and Guildenstern, saying that they must think he is easier to play on than a pipe, meaning that they think he is easily fooled. The most powerful metaphor, however, comes in Hamlet’s soliloquy when he says in regards to his mother, “I will speak daggers to her but use none”, comparing his harsh words to sharp knives.
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