Summary:After Gertrude's conversation with Hamlet, Gertrude is startled and worried, so she goes to Claudius while he is speaking to Rosencrantz and Guildenstern. After Rosencrantz and Guildenstern leave, Claudius asks Gertrude how Hamlet was, and Gertrude replies that he is as "Mad as the sea and wind when both contend/ Which is the mightier" (IV.1.7-8). Gertrude then tells Claudius that Hamlet has killed Polonius, and Claudius notes that if it had been him behind the curtains, Hamlet would have killed him. Claudius then tells Gertrude that they must send Hamlet to England right away and find a way to explain Hamlet's act. He then calls for Rosencrantz and Guildenstern again and tells them about the murder and tells them to find Hamlet.
Hamlet Act IV Scene 2
Summary:In Act IV Scene 2, Hamlet has just disposed of Polonius's body. Shortly after, Rosencrantz and Guildenstern enter and ask Hamlet what he has done with the body. They tell him that they want to bury him in the chapel. Hamlet refuses to answer them and instead accuses them of being spies for Claudius. Finally, Hamlet agrees to go with Rosencrantz and Guildenstern to Claudius.
Hamlet Act IV Scene 3
Summary: In Act IV Scene 3, Claudius speaks to a group of two or three other people about the murder of Polonius and how he plans to send Hamlet to England because he is too dangerous. Rosencrantz and Guildenstern then enter with Hamlet, who says that Polonius is at a supper in which he is being eaten by worms. Finally, Hamlet admits that Polonius's body is under the stairs in the lobby, so Claudius tells his attendants to go find the body. The King then tells Hamlet that he must leave for England immediately, and Hamlet, pleased, leaves. When Claudius is alone, he says that he hopes that England will put Hamlet to death.
18th November, 2012
Hamlet Act IV Scene 4
Summary: In Act IV Scene 4, Fortinbras leads his army to Poland. He tells the Captain to go ask the Danish King if they may travel through Denmark safely. On the way to the King Claudius, the Captain meets Hamlet, Rosencrantz, and Guildenstern. Hamlet asks what the army is doing and who it belongs to. The Captain replies that the army belongs to Prince Fortinbras of Norway and that they are heading to Poland to attack the Poles. When Hamlet asked what the purpose of the attack is, the Captain replied that it was over "a little patch of ground/ That hath in it no profit but the name" (IV.4.19-20). Hamlet becomes shocked that a battle could be fought over something so insignificant and notes that his revenge on Claudius gives him more to gain than Fortinbras would gain from the land. Hamlet becomes angry with himself for giving up on his revenge and declares that his thoughts will be bloody or else they will be worth nothing.
Hamlet Act IV Scene 5
Summary:In Act IV Scene 5, Gertrude says to a gentleman and Horatio that she does not wish to speak to Ophelia; however, Horatio tells her that Ophelia should be pitied because her grief has made her mad, so Gertrude finally agrees. When Ophelia enters, she is singing. When Claudius enters, he says that Ophelia's grief is caused by the death of her father and that many other people have been disturbed and suspicious of Polonius's death. He also says that Laertes has sailed back to Denmark secretly. Laertes then enters with a mob of people who call him lord and say that he will be king. Laertes is furious and exclaims that he will avenge his father's death. When Ophelia, still mad, enters again, Laertes becomes furious again. Claudius tries to calm Laertes down and tells him that he did not kill Polonius and that Laertes should take revenge on the correct person. Claudius then manages to convince Laertes to listen to his version ceof Polonius's death.
18th November, 2012
Laertes' Character Analysis Act IV Scene 5