Hamlet 3:2

Act III, Scene 2

Summary: Hamlet directs the players to do the play the way he wants it. After that he consults with his friend Horatio to ask him to help watch the king’s reaction. Before the play begins he flirts with Ophelia, and during the play he narrates everything that’s going on. When the actor bad guy poisons the actor king, the real king stops the play and runs out. Hamlet is convinced of the truth of the murder.

Reaction: Hamlet is quite the overbearing director. He was unwilling to trust the players’ skills and gave them very specific directions that was probably very annoying to them. They came to the castle to perform and entertain, but I’m sure they didn’t expect some prince of the castle to start bossing them around. Then he talks through their whole performance. Seems kind of rude.

Prediction: There’s going to be a fight of sorts with the queen coming up, and after that Hamlet will have to get busy–especially since the king is probably on to him and already wanted to send him away.

Why This Book Is a Classic: I’m sure English teachers love pointing out the presence of the “play within a play”–something I’ve seen in several Shakespearean (and other) works.

Why a Modern Audience Might Like It: We can all relate to having a guy in the theater telling his neighbor (and everyone else in the vicinity), loudly, everything that will happen before it happens and the whole history behind the movie. Too bad they didn’t have popcorn they could have thrown at him to make him shut up, not that it would have worked–he would have just talked louder.

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