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"mad in Craft"- Hamlet

Autor:   •  February 7, 2012  •  Essay  •  752 Words (4 Pages)  •  2,696 Views

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In act three, scene four, lines 202-240, Gertrude asks Hamlet "what shall I do?" Previously in this scene Hamlet stabbed and killed Polonius by accident, hoping it to be Claudius. Gertrude says, "What a rash and bloody deed is this." Hamlet replies, "A bloody deed? Almost as bad as kill a king and marry with his brother" (29). Hamlet's dark tone is shocking since he feels no regret for killing a practically innocent man. Later in the scene, the ghost of King Hamlet appears to remind Hamlet that he needs to avenge him. Gertrude can't see the ghost and believes Hamlet has gone mad. Hamlet, acting desperate, tries to convince his mother he is not crazy. Yet in doing so he seems even more insane. Then in lines 202-240 Shakespeare uses juxtaposition, rhyming and repetition in an effort to show how Hamlet not only has mad thoughts but he also has mad actions. He contradicts these thoughts and actions by saying he isn't mad, "but mad in craft" (210).

In the beginning of this scene, Gertrude asks Hamlet, "What shall I do?" (202). He replies by saying, "Not this, by no means, that I bid you do; let the bloat King tempt you again in bed" (204). He has been thinking these thoughts since the beginning of the play and now he is finally getting them out. This time he doesn't ignore his mother, instead he directly tells her how he feels. Hamlet goes on to say "for who that's but a queen, fair, sober, wise, would from a paddock, from a bat, a gib, such dear concernings hide?" (211-213). Here Shakespeare utilizes juxtaposition to compare Gertrude as a fair, sober queen, to Claudius as a toad or pig. Shakespeare's use of exaggerated opposites for how Hamlet explains his mother and stepfather provides a different take on Hamlet's character. By overly complementing his mother, Hamlet ends up sounding desperate — desperate to have his mother on his side, to believe him, not Claudius. He goes on to tell his mother to open her mind, "unpeg the basket on the house's top" (215). The reader, still being a state of shock that Hamlet killed Polonius, feels anxious as to what will happen next.

A nearly silent Gertrude


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