Act 3, Scene 2

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The play within a play catches the conscience of the king.

Summary

It’s the night of the performance of the play, and Hamlet tasks Horatio with gauging Claudius’s reaction to the murder scene. As the courtiers gather to watch, Hamlet acts mad once more, insulting Ophelia with all kinds of indecent taunts. When the play begins, Hamlet carefully observes Claudius. Sure enough, when the fictional king in the play is murdered in much the same way Hamlet’s father was, Claudius flees, clearly rattled. Hamlet confirms the reaction with Horatio, thrilled that he finally has proof Claudius murdered his father. Rosencrantz and Guildenstern arrive to tell Hamlet that Gertrude wants to see him immediately. As he heads off to see his mother, he vows to be cruel, but to try his best to contain his anger.

 

Character Interview: Hamlet

MyShakespeare | Hamlet 3.2 Interview with Hamlet