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Hamlet Act 3 Scene 2 Essay

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Hamlet Act 3 Scene 2 Essay
“The play is the thing in which I’ll catch the conscience of the king”

Good morning teachers and students, our understanding of Hamlet takes many turns and the most important of these is in act 3 scene II. As a pivotal scene in William Shakespeare’s play, audiences gain an understanding of the characters and their actions leading up to this point. Many of the themes in the play come to light in this scene as the plot gathers pace and it is for all these reasons I chose this scene.

Our understanding of a text is greatly affected by the context in which scenes take place. Act 3 Scene 2 transpires after a series of turbulent events and the increasing surveillance of Hamlet’s life. In the preceding scene Hamlet considers suicide in the “To be or not to be,” soliloquy after learning that his father’s sudden death was in fact a murder by his uncle Claudius’s hand. He plans to prove the ghost’s word by watching his uncle’s reaction to a play that follows the events of
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There is beautiful dramatic irony in Hamlet’s selection of a play to trap the guilty king. And there is lots of discussion of theatrics, and how the players should speak their lines, which reveals Shakespeare’s own deep understanding of the craft of acting, the more realistic version being more like his own preferred style: “Nor do not saw the air too much with your hand ...the purpose of playing,.. is to hold the mirror up to nature”, that is to act as one would speak and act out such lines in reality. Critics say that Shakespeare is having a go here at the plays of Chrsitopher Marlowe and the players such as Edward Alleyn at the Rose Theatre, who was known for a rather exaggerated approach to acting. Whatever the origins of these descriptions of how NOT to act, they are very funny, and must have made an Elizabethan audience as well as myself, a 21 century lad, laugh! “O it offends me to the soul to hear a robustious periwig-pated fellow tear a passion to tatters:

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