Act III, Scene-I Detailed Summary of Hamlet: "Hamlet" by William Shakespeare



It is a room in the palace, Elsinore. Here the king and queen are seeking report from Rosencrantz, Polonius and Guildenstern about

" why he puts on this confusion,
Grating so harshly all his days of
With turbulent and dangerous lunacy?"

To this question of king they reply that Hamlet greeted them well but there seems confusion in his thoughts. They also inform him of the play which Hamlet is arranging with the assistance of done stray actors of the stage. Polonius tells the king that Hamlet has asked him to "beseech" the king and the queen for watching the play in the night. Then the king asks the queen to leave while he and Polonius would send Ophelia to Hamlet and watch the behaviour of Hamlet. The queen says to Ophelia:

"That your good beauties be the happy cause
Of Hamlet's wildness. So shall I hope your virtues
Will bring him to his wonted way again".

The queen exits. The king and Polonius hide themselves so that Hamlet may not doubt anything. Enters Hamlet and sees Ophelia alone. He says:

"To be, or not to be- that is the question".

He then delivers a long speech to her. He says that life is too difficult to get hold of. Sometimes one cannot decide either to surrender to fate or face the difficulties manfully. Sometimes death is better than life but:

"Thus conscience does make cowards of us all,
And thus the native hue of resolution
Is sicklied o'er with the pale cast of thought".

Ophelia asks Hamlet of how he has been of all these days. She reminds him of his vows of love to which he denies. She says: "for to the noble mind Rich gifts wax poor when givers prove unkind." Hamlet asks a question instead: "Are you honest?" She is puzzled. Hamlet utters:

"for the power of beauty will sooner transform honesty from what it is to a bawd than the force of honesty can translate beauty into his likeness. This was sometime a paradox, but now the time gives it proof. I did love you once."

She says that she believed in Hamlet's vows of love but he asks her that she should not believe men: "We are arrant knaves all; believe none of us". He further says that he is full of revenge and accuses her father of playing fool at home. He indirectly accuses her of deception: "God hath given you one face, and you make yourselves another". He advises her to go to a nunnery and don't marry. Hypocrisy

Enters the king and says that love is not the matter with Hamlet it is something else which perturbed him. He decides to send Hamlet to England so that he may return to peace. Ophelia asks the king to let the queen entreat upon Hamlet after the play and if nothing comes out, then he may send Hamlet to England. The king says: "Madness in great ones must not unwatch'd go. "





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