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As Act IV unfolds, Claudius is becoming more and more uncomfortable with having

Hamlet around. Can you point to places where Claudius's fear is beginning to take

over? How does he try to get rid of Hamlet, while continuing to look innocent?

Throughout Act IV, Claudius begins to appear more and more uncomfortable with

having Hamlet around, and expresses, “O heavy deed! It had been so with us, had we been

there. His liberty is full of threats to all- To you yourself, to us, to every one. Alas, how shall

this bloody deed be answered? Should have kept short, restrained, and out of haunt this mad

young man” (95-96). “My soul is full of discord and dismay” (line 46) Claudius also becomes

fearful and wary of Hamlet, after seeing him kill Polonius (while under the impression that he

was killing Claudius. In order to get rid of him, he sends Hamlet to England to be killed, under

the guidance of Rosencrantz and Guildenstern. “Go seek him out: speak fair, and bring the

body into the chapel. I pray you haste in this” (lines 37-38). “Hamlet, this deed, for thine

especial safety,-which we do tender as we dearly grieve for that which thou hast done


England ”/Hamlet: “For England?”/“Ay, Hamlet” (100).

2. Hamlet shows a great deal of wit and cleverness in this act. Where can you find

examples of Hamlet's nimble brain? Or is he not a wit at all


he something else?

Hamlet shows his cleverness in the instance of when he tries talking to Rosencrantz to try to

escape by trying to talk them out of taking him to the king. He is able to speak and observe

very nimbly even under his current situations, mocking his captors.Rosencrantz: “My lord, you

must tell us where the body is and go with us to the King.” Hamlet: “The body is with the King,

but the King is not with the body. The King is a thing.” Guildenstern: “A thing, my lord?”

Hamlet: “Of nothing. Bring me to him. Hide fox, and all after” (98). He also tries to persuade

his way out of punishment by using comedy: “A man may fish with the worm that hath eat of a

king, and eat of the fish that hath fed of that worm” (lines 30-31).

3. 4.4 has Fortinbras moving over the countryside. Where is he going? Why? What

about this journey upsets Hamlet so much? What does seeing Fortinbras do to

Hamlet? How is he moved by what he sees?

Fortinbras is heading towards the Danish King in Elsinore Castle whilst passing

through Denmark. He is heading towards Poland to gain more land. Hamlet gets upset with

Fortinbras because he interferes with his plans of going back to kill the King. “Hamlet- How all

occasions do inform against me/And spour my dull revenge!” (Scene 4: Lines 32-33) After

seeing what Fortinbras is planning, Hamlet sees that Fortinbras is still looking to make a

violent move (and is not concerned about bloodshed; is almost brave and resolved) in order to

gain back his father’s losses.

4. Hamlet's questionable madness is starkly contrasted with Ophelia's real madness in

Act 4. What has precipitated her madness? Was it necessary for her to go insane?

What elements of the story are enhanced by her madness? Could the story work

without it?

Ophelia has turned mad because of all of the things Hamlet had said to her, berating her and

pointing out all of her weaknesses because of their failed relationship. It also doesn’t help that

he killed her father, leaving her to feel betrayed by someone she once loved. In turn, Laertes