Effective Scenes of Hamlet
In the play Hamlet, Act II Scene 2 is especially memorable and very effective to the work as a whole. It is a much longer and slower moving scene compared to the scenes in Act I; however, it is essential to the drama. Act II Scene 2 develops subplots, provides insights into key characters, and introduces motifs. It also includes an important soliloquy of Hamlet that characterizes him and keeps the plot moving forward.
Many subplots are developed in Act II Scene 2. During the scene, Rosencrantz and Guildenstern report to King Claudius and he enlists them in spying upon Hamlet. When Hamlet speaks to them, they admit to him what their intent is which serves to further the action. Also, the guilt of Claudius for the death of King Hamlet is suggested by having his schoolmates spy upon him. Hamlet hopes to prove Claudius’s accountability with the play, The Murder of Gonzago. These subplots affect the play as a whole.
The reader gets insights into a few characters in this scene. Hamlet’s depression is suggested in his soliloquy. Hamlet taunts Rosencrantz, Guildenstern, and Polonius, indicating that he realizes their dishonesty. He also realizes the hypocrisy of people as he talks about how quickly people change their allegiances, alluding to Claudius who is now king. People praise him whereas when Hamlet was king, they mocked him. Along with noticing things about other people, he also reveals his opinion about himself. In his soliloquy he says, “O what rogue and peasant slave am I!” because he has not yet taken action against the man who has murdered his father. Also in this scene, Polonius displays his dishonesty and his unwillingness to sacrifice Ophelia for his political gain.
In Act II Scene 2 of Hamlet there are a few motifs produced. Youth vs. age is revealed in the conversation about adult acting companies as opposed to the theme of the play as youth replacing their elders. Illusion vs. reality is also revealed throughout the play. It is reinforced with the company of players as there are several allusions to young boys playing the parts of women. Another motif displayed is Incest. Incest is frequently alluded to by Hamlet and the ghost, in conversations about Gertrude and Claudius, the former brother-in-law and sister-in-law who are now married. The motifs manifested in this scene help reveal the theme of the play.
In the play Hamlet, Act II Scene 2 is very significant. Without this scene there would be no subplots, the reader would get no insight into the characters, and the motifs of the play would not be as clear. This longer, detailed scene strongly affects the work as a whole.
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