Monday, November 9, 2015

Hamlet Read-Along: Act IV, Scene 1

Most of the scenes in Act IV are pretty short, and I intend/hope to buzz through them a little more quickly.  I'd hoped to finish this play off by Thanksgiving, and while I'm not sure that's feasible anymore, I'd still like to finish it before the second week of December.  We shall see!

So this is a short scene where Claudius asks Gertrude what she learned from Hamlet, and we learn something very important:  Gertrude is going to protect her son.  She tells Claudius he is "[m]ad as the sea and wind when both contend Which is the mightier" (7-8).  She blames his murder of Polonius on his madness, too.  

Claudius mostly focuses on himself here -- he might have been the one killed instead of Polonius!  He's going to get blamed for letting a madman run around Elsinore stabbing people!  Oh dear!  Time for some damage control!  He's going to send Hamlet to England as quickly as possible, while figuring out a way to keep the people of Denmark from demanding he have Hamlet stand trial for the crime without getting in trouble himself.

See?  Nice and short.

Favorite Lines:

"Oh, come away!
My soul is full of discord and dismay" (45).

Possible Discussion Questions:

Do you think Gertrude is lying to Claudius like Hamlet asked her to, or might she think Hamlet is mad for real?


  1. That was a short one! I really like that line "Mad as the sea and wind, when both contend Which is the mightier." That struck me as very cool for some reason. :)

  2. I'm actually not sure whether Gertude believed HAmlet to be mad or not..It's so hard to find out what people really think when they are always putting up an act for others to see.
    Loved the "He is mad as the sea and the wind when both contend" line

    1. Rose, yes, the multiple layers of deception from nearly all the characters makes it hard to figure out what they truly think or feel, except when they're soliloquizing. Gertrude doesn't get a soliloquy, so we're left more in the dark about her.

      Definitely a good line!


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