Act IV, Scene 7: “Another Room in the Castle”
Summary: King Claudius talks with Laertes about Hamlet’s return, and they plot to have him killed so it looks like an accident, either from a fencing foil dipped in poison or a poisoned cup of wine if that doesn’t work. Then they find out that Ophelia drowned herself.
Reaction: Now things are getting good. 2 ways to kill Hamlet while trying to make it look like an accident. And we’ve made it to the final act, so everything will happen fast now!
Prediction: 2 different poisons for killing Hamlet–I have a feeling both will kill the wrong people–I’m guessing Laertes will be stabbed by his own foil, and that the Queen will drink the poison, because the Queen dying before the King and Hamlet will more effectively destroy them both than anything else, and the purpose of tragedy is to utterly destroy everyone, right?
Why This Book Is a Classic: Lots of plotting and scheming, but all done in beautiful language. Good for people in Shakespeare’s day and good for English teachers today.
Why a Modern Audience Might Like It: We love seeing plotting and scheming, especially, as I figured out while watching Scooby Doo, when the scheme is explained to the audience, it can be guaranteed that nothing will go as planned (If Fred explains the plan, Scooby and Shaggy will mess it up somehow; if they skip the explaining part, the bad guy will be caught as planned).