Monday, December 04, 2006

Hamlet Fishbowl Act 3

In act 3 we see Hamlet kill Polonius when he screams for help. After killing Polonius, an innocent man, will it be easier or harder for Hamlet to kill Claudius? Take into consideration the ghost and his new appearance, his mother and what she came to terms with in their talk, and his possible insanity.

23 Comments:

Blogger sonnyw said...

Internally, I believe Hamlet will have a renewed drive to kill Claudius. The Ghost of King Hamlet has just come to remind Hamlet of his ultimate purpose. Whether the Ghost in Act III is real or not, the effect it has on Hamlet is powerful. Hamlet declares that if even the Ghost was speaking to rocks, the rocks would respond to his haunting presence and command (III,iv,129-131). As we have said before in class, Hamlet respects and adores his father--possibly to the point of deifying him (raising him to the status of a god). Any commandment that comes from King Hamlet (real or imagined) will "live/Within the book and volume of [Hamlet's] brain,/Unmixed with baser matter" (I,v,103-105). Basically, this decree will overtake Hamlet's mind, push away all superfluous thoughts, and become his obsession.

Externally, Hamlet now faces new obstacles. Once news of Polonius' murder gets out, Hamlet will be scorned by the entire royal court (save Horatio, maybe). Claudius, who must have felt Hamlet's hate for him after "The Mousetrap," now realizes that Hamlet is capable of murder. Gertrude also must know that Hamlet is plotting something against Claudius, because Hamlet's first question after stabbing behind the curtain were "Is it the King?" (III,iv,28). If Ophelia and Laertes get word of the murder, the will have the most reason to despise Hamlet. Knowing Claudius, I will expect him to manipulate the situation. I think he will tell a story of Polonius' murder that depicts Hamlet in the worst way before Hamlet can defend his actions publically. Claudius--a magnificent manipulator--could easily pull it off and set the whole royal court out to slit Hamlet's throat.

As a final comment to today's fishbowl, I would like to say that Hamlet still is a hero (of the tragic sort). Though the murder of Polonius is indeed a blood deed, it could be Shakespeare's way of signaling the beginning of Hamlet's fall. I'm guessing this is the point where Hamlet has his last chance to turn back. With the Ghost's latest appearance, however, Hamlet will continue obsessing over revenge. This undying desire for vengeance will drag Hamlet to the depths of the earth.

December 04, 2006 9:31 PM  
Blogger levik said...

I believe that Hamlet's murder of Polonius has little to do with his upcoming actions and plans. He is so concerned with getting revenge that his first murder just foreshadows his second. The actions Hamlet plans to take against Claudius have not changed since the killing of Polonius. Hamlet plays his murder off like it was nothing and didn't really matter. I believe that his quick and rash decision to kill whoever was behind the curtain will hurt Hamlet in the end. I agree with Sonny that Claudius will use this murder to publicly hurt Hamlet. Hamlet has already angered Claudius from the play and his actions at the play. I think that Claudius knows what Hamlet is up to and that is why he fears Hamlet and wants to send him away.
Concerning Hamlet's talk with his mother, I think that Gertrude still will not admit any sort of guilt. She just keeps saying that Hamlet's words are hurting her and that he should stop. I wonder why she can't see that what she has done is wrong.
Overall, I think that Hamlet's murder is just a taste of the many bad decisions he will make that lead to his downfall.

December 05, 2006 10:08 AM  
Blogger Amy K said...

I think now that Hamlet has killed Polonius it will be that much easier to kill Claudius. He clearly shows no remorse about the murder of Polonius so when he is faced with the decision of whether or not to kill Claudius it won't even be a question in his mind. I don't think he has any other thoughts than complete revenge, regardless of who it affects at this point. Regardless of whether the ghost is real this time or not also does not matter in this situation. It is obviously encouraging him to pursue revenge, so as long as Hamlet sees the ghost (real or not) it is encouraging him to pursue murder.

December 05, 2006 2:17 PM  
Blogger hannahm said...

I think Hamlet wants to avenge his father, but wants to do it in his own way. Hamlet is kind of a stubborn guy, and now that he has stuck to this plan if acting insane, he will follow through even if he now realizes it went too far and is driving him truly mad. He has gone past the point of no return and even thought he killed Polonius, thinking it was Claudius, he probably won’t stop now. Whether Hamlet is crazy or not, he hates Claudius for what he did to him and his father and he will most likely kill him either way.

December 05, 2006 4:30 PM  
Blogger stephm said...

It will be much harder for Hamlet to kill Claudius after killing Polonius. Now, whether he really is insane or not, everyone will think that he is. None of the royal family will want him near to them in case he tries to do them harm as well. I think that Hamlet will have more of a drive to kill Claudius though, because after killing Polonius he realizes how tangled up his world has truly become, and just wants to put an end to all of it.

December 05, 2006 7:41 PM  
Blogger EmilyW said...

I think it will be easier for Hamlet to kill Claudius. After Hamlet killed Polonius he didn't feel any shame or guilt. Hamlet has intentions to kill Claudius and I don't think that this will stop him or make him think twice about killing Claudius. I think by Hamlet seeing the ghost again, it only encouraged him and reminded him that he wants to avenge his father's death.

December 05, 2006 9:43 PM  
Blogger asaetveit said...

I believe that it will be easier for Hamlet to kill Claudius now that he has already spilt blood. Plus now that he is even more insane than before, you would think that it would make it even easier for him to commit this act of killing. Especially thinking that his fathers ghost is backing him when we don't even know if it is real or in his head since know one else saw the ghost this past time around.

December 05, 2006 10:18 PM  
Blogger Kyle G said...

I think that it will be much easier to kill Claudius, let's not forget that he thought it was Claudius hiding behind the curtain, and we see how willing and quickly he wanted to kill him. When he discovered it was Polonius he felt no remorse, no sadness, not even hapiness, he felt virtually nothing at all, perhaps inconveniance. It is furthered by his likely insanity, and his already strong drive to kill Claudius, I don't think he will have any trouble at all with eliminating his "enemy." Not only do I think he will kill Claudius, I think he will do it with, at the least, no feeling at all, and with great pleasure at the most.

December 06, 2006 12:05 AM  
Blogger chrisg said...

I think it will be easier for Hamlet to kill Claudius now because this killing of the innocent man, and the different appearance of the ghost signify that he has gone mad. This insanity, that he drove himself to, will make it easier because he is no longer living with the morals that he had at the beginning of the play. His actions with his mother is the only thing that has shown me that he has a little sanity left because he is finally doing what he wants by how he feels. Overall, I think the murder of Claudius will be easier than the murder of Polonious for Hamlet.

December 06, 2006 7:31 AM  
Blogger Haley C said...

I think that because Hamlet killed Polonius and didn't show any regret about it, it will be much easier to kill Claudius. He ment to kill Claudius in the first place so now that he didn't I think he is going to have more of a drive to do so. Hamlet loves his father so much that the ghost could tell him anything and he would take it to the extreme which is why him killing claudius will have nothing to do with the murder of Polonius. The ghost reminds Hamlet that his goal is to kill Claudius.

December 06, 2006 7:38 AM  
Blogger melissa b said...

First of all Polonius was not an innocent man and i do not think it will be easier because Hamlet is still trying to find out if he should go with killing Claudius. Everyone thinks he is pyscho now, and the roryal family will not Hamlet around the kingdom or anyone else.

December 06, 2006 8:39 AM  
Blogger LeAnneC said...

tHonestly, I don't think that Polonius was ever innocent of anything. From the beginning he has been out for himself and only himself. In order to make everything more beneficial to himself, he will use anyone. He spied on Hamelt and was one of the many people that betrayed him. I don't think that Hamlet ever really would have a problem with killing Claudius, he pretty much took everything away from him, his father and his crown. I think at the point the Hamlet sees this ghost again, is the point in which he has reached insanity. The ghost has taken on a new appearance as well as told Hamlet to take more drastic measures.

December 06, 2006 8:41 AM  
Blogger ZachM said...

LeAnne, does being too self-involved mean that you should be killed? I'm not saying that Polonius was an saint, but i don't believe what he did deserved murder. Along those lines, I believe that Hamlet will be able to kill much easier now. He seems to think that he has the backing of God, so in his mind he is foolproof. If Hamlet believes that he has the backing of his God then what is to stop him? It will be much easier for him to kill Claudius. Hamlet is using that excuse, just as a lot of tyrants and kings in those days used that excuse. I do believe that Hamlet has gone insane at this point and will stop at nothing to kill Claudius. I also think what Sonny said was interesting. Not matter if the ghost is real or not, it drives Hamlet to accomplish his goal.

December 06, 2006 8:52 AM  
Blogger CaitlinO said...

I think it will be easier for him now, because he is insane. I think that fact that Hamlet didn't care that he accidentaly killed Polonius, makes him insane. It might also be easier because he knows so far he got away with killing him, so now he thinks he could get away with killing Cladius.

December 06, 2006 9:09 AM  
Blogger Kurt W. said...

I think that Hamlet will have no problems killing again. He has now committed the crime and feels no remorse for it. He talks gruesomely about disposing the body. The deed he was instructed to do in Act I will now be quite easy to carry out.

December 06, 2006 9:11 AM  
Blogger ashleym said...

Regardless of whether or not Hamlet had killed Polonius, killing Claudius will be no problem for Hamlet. He wants more than anything to avenge his fathers death, to kill the guy who killed his father the King and took his place for the crown. Hamlet had finally gone insane. Nothing is going to stop him. Now he has seen what it is like to kill one person, what's going to stop him from killing another, and this time it won't be on accident. Because Hamlet has gone mad he has no conscience holding him back. Killing Polonius will be no problem for Hamlet.

December 06, 2006 9:42 AM  
Blogger Richw said...

I think Hamlet will now be able to kill Claudius easier, not only does he feel he has all the proof he needs to convince himself of Claudius' guilt but he now has the experience of murdering someone. I also think that his growing insanity will aid his next murder and the fact that his father's ghost wants Claudius to gets whats coming to him. I don't Polonius deserved what he got though but he was a meddler and his coniving attitude finally caught up with him. I don't believe the ghost is really his father's soul but nevertheless it still is very influential on Hamlet, if he believes it is his father and believes that the ghost is suffering greatly in the netherworld than as a faithful son, he will do everything in his power to rid his father of his torment without thinking of the long term consequences.

December 06, 2006 9:45 AM  
Blogger Mark C said...

I agree with Kurt - I think Hamlet lost his sanity in Act III at the point in which he saw Claudius' reaction and knew what the ghost had said is true. He will have no problem killing Claudius, simply because I doubt he will stop after killing Polonius and never avenge his father. He feels no remorse for the first muder, so why would he stop now?

December 06, 2006 9:46 AM  
Blogger Marie P said...

I think that before Hamlet reached the point of insanity it was hard for him to think of killing anyone. He had to make sure that Claudius was guilty before he took any action against him because Hamlet is moral man and didn't want to kill someone for no reason. He reached insanity when he found out Claudius' guilt after the mousetrap play. His morality then was a vice keeping him from killing Claudius while he was praying. I find it interesting that Hamlet's decision not to kill Claudius is the only reason that the play goes on. If he would have killed Claudius, which he could have because Claudius was not actually praying, then no one else would have died. Polonius' life would be spared as well as many other people that Hamlet loves. It will be easy for Hamlet to kill Claudius after all the pain he is about to endure.

December 06, 2006 10:01 AM  
Blogger Scott M said...

I think that it will be easier for him to kill Claudious after killing Polonious. It seems to me that now he is scared and doesn't really have any feels that strike him after killing someone. I think he is also on the road to insanity but is not there yet but by the time he gets around to killing Claudious he will probably be crazy and that will also make it easier for him to kill Claudious.

December 06, 2006 10:16 AM  
Blogger Matt W said...

Well spoken Sonny, you devious rascal. I believe that the question as to if it will be easier or harder for Hamlet to kill Claudius depends entirely on which perspective is taken.

If I take the perspective of Hamlet, I believe it will be easier for him to kill Claudius. Firstly, his conjecture that everyone is plotting against him has been proven and he knows it... "How now, a rat? Dead for a ducat, dead.”(III,iii,25). He has proven that he is being conspired against and that he cannot trust those around him. I believe he will realize that if he was correct about that, he must be right about Claudius. Therefore his conviction is even further intensified with the killing of Polonius. Secondly he has proven to others and especially himself that he is capable of committing the deed ahead of him. Not only is he capable of the task, but also capable of doing so without remorse. He is able to act entirely upon his conviction. Thirdly, the appearance of the ghost will remind him of the just cause for which he fights. The Ghost states "This visitation/ Is but to whet thy almost blunted purpose."(III,iii,114-115). His visitation will also act as an accelerant to the final conclusion of Hamlet's actions toward Claudius. Lastly, his mother has openly realized her sin. I believe that Hamlet will be convince that he can truly kill Claudius and save his mother from Claudius' incestuous sin. His plan is coming together and he will only be further made zealous by the above occurrences that will act as fuel to his fire.

When taking the perspective of the reader who can see all the other actions taking place, and knowing what the other characters know, I believe his act has made it much harder to kill Claudius. Firstly, killing what is seemingly an innocent man will not reflect well on Hamlet. Others will think much less of him at the very least. Secondly, he will most likely have to be punished in some way for his crime. It is much harder to kill someone when you are in jail, or at the very least he will be sped on his way to England. Either way he will be distanced from the King, making his murder, and catching him in a sinful act, all the more difficult. Lastly, by killing Polonius, Hamlet has proved his insanity to those around him. I believe that even Horatio will begin to question Hamlet's intent, and most definitely his sanity. At this point in time, Hamlet must choose his actions wisely. He made his first wise decision by choosing not to kill Claudius while he was in prayer. All together, his murder of Polonius has made it harder for him to have access to the king, and subsequently harder to kill him.

In conclusion, i believe that the murder of Polonius has made Claudius' murder easier for Hamlet personally, but harder for him to do so publicly. But in the end, his conviction is all that will determine whether or not the murder will even take place. What everyone thinks about him really doesn't affect Hamlet. Hamlet will even find a way around the possible consequences of Polonius' murder. Once again, the act of murder has only accelerated Hamlet towards his final action against Claudius.

December 06, 2006 10:32 AM  
Blogger DaveV said...

i honestly dont't think that hamlet's murdering of claudius is going to have much if any influence on him and his motivation to kill claudius. Like levi said his original plans were to murder claudius to avenge his father, polonius was just a "side project" if you will. He didn't plan on killing him it just kinda happened and hamlet didnt feel any remorse for it...i think he is just going to keep on with his original intentions with claudius and not be affected by killing polonius.

December 06, 2006 4:42 PM  
Blogger David L said...

I think that Hamlet's killing Polonius will not necessarily make it easier for Hamlet to kill Claudius, but rather inevitable. After a murder such as that, Hamlet must realize that he has started down a path that can only lead to his killing Claudius, unless something happens before that to stop this from happening(ie., the death/murder of Hamlet?). Throughout the play Hamlet has had a one-track mind about avenging his father's death, even feigning at madness when talking with others to disguise his real intent. Now that he knows the ghost has spoken the truth about his father's death, he must follow the path that he set for himself. I think Hamlet sees Polonius' murder as simply getting rid of an obstacle that might deter him from killing Claudius, and with such a one-track mind, he feels no remorse for the man if his death might help him achieve his biggest goal. Maybe Polonius' murder will make Hamlet's planned murder of Claudius easier simply because Polonius will be out of the way, but I think that Hamlet has been so set on avenging his father that morally this murder won't really change anything for him.

December 06, 2006 8:34 PM  

Post a Comment

<< Home