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Hamlet. Act IV, Scenes 5 & 6. Demonstrates Conflict: Scene 5 .

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Act IV, Scenes 5 & 6

demonstrates conflict scene 5
Demonstrates Conflict: Scene 5
  • Point: Hamlet has murdered Polonius (Ophelia’s father), with this situation, Ophelia is suffering a serious mental breakdown by making no sense while she is explaining her story. Laertes comes into the castle, wanting to kill Claudius. He witnesses Ophelia’s behaviour and finds out who has killed Polonius.
  • Proof:

“Larded with sweet flowers; Which bewept to the grave did go With true-love showers.” (IV. V. 37-39)

  • Analysis: Hamlet murdering Ophelia’s father (Polonius) turns Ophelia crazy and grieving over him. Hamlet thinking that he killed the king (Claudius) kills Polonius instead when he was hiding. Nonetheless, after this action, the ghost appears allowing for Hamlet to look insane because the queen doesn’t believe that the ghost is there. The queen promises to lie to Claudius, telling that Hamlet is insane after convincing his sanity to her. Claudius and Laertes plan to kill Hamlet for their revenge of killing Polonius and making Ophelia turn crazy (being a nuisance and looking dangerous).
demonstrates suspense scene 6
Demonstrates Suspense: Scene 6
  • Point: In this scene, Hamlet escapes from the ship going to England. Sailors give letters to Claudius and Horatio mentioning that he’s returning to Denmark.
  • Proof:

“Let the king have the letters I have sent; and repair though to me with as much speed as though woulds’t fly death. I have words to speak in thine ear will make thee dumb: yet are they much too light for the bore of the matter.” (IV. vi. 21-26)

  • Analysis: In Horatio’s letters, he mentions that to make sure the king receives all the letters, he wrote for him, and for Horatio to go to Hamlet as soon as possible to away from death– bad things may happen demonstrating suspense occurring. He explains that Guildenstern and Rosencrantz will bring Horatio to Hamlet because they are on their way to England. Hamlet explains that there are a lot of stories he needs to tell him making the scene very suspenseful leading tension and suspense developing for the next scene to occur for the upcoming revenge on Hamlet.
develops pathos scene 5
Develops Pathos: Scene 5
  • Point: Ophelia had suffered a serious mental breakdown due to her father dying. Laertes is then overcome by anger from his father’s death and overwhelming sadness from witnessing his sister’s lunacy.
  • Proof:

“He is dead and gone, lady, He is dead and gone; At his head a grass-green turf, At his heels a stone.” (IV. V. 29-32)

“Let this be so; His means of death, his obscure burial, No trophy, sword, nor hatchment o’er his bones, No noble rite, nor formal ostentation, Cry to be heard, as ‘twere from heaven to earth, That I must call’t in question.”

(IV. v. 209-214)

  • Analysis: After hearing of her father’s death, Ophelia’s mind coped with it in a ludacris way. She seemed to have calmed her strong emotions by singing about the incidents, rather than talking to people about them. When Ophelia left and came back, she had also taken a toll on her brother, Laertes as well. At first, Laertes had stormed into the palace demanding Claudius to be killed at once; but when Ophelia re-entered, Laertes saw things in a different light. He had calmed down slightly and instead thought that the death of his father would be put into question, rather than pointing fingers at Claudius. Both these incidents develop pathos within the audience, because they feel sorry for Ophelia and Laertes losing their father so suddenly, and leaving them to cope with death in such extreme manners.
presents useful information scene 6
Presents Useful Information: Scene 6
  • Point: It is learnt that Hamlet had escaped the ship bound for England, and Rosencrantz and Guildenstern are still on the ship for England.
  • Proof:

“…Finding ourselves too slow of sail, we put on a compelled valour, and in the grapple I boarded them: on the instant, they got clear of our ship; so I alone became their prisoner. They have dealt with me like thieves of mercy; but they knew what they did; I am to do a good turn for them. Let the king have the letters I have sent; and repair thou to me with as much speed as though woulds’t fly death.” (IV. vi. 16-23)

  • Analysis: Hamlet had sent Horatio a letters explaining how a pirate ship had interrupted his voyage to England. At this point, Hamlet was able to escape, while Rosencrantz and Guildenstern stayed without noticing his disappearance. Hamlet then tells Horatio how there are news on Rosencrantz and Guildenstern that he will inform him of soon. This information is useful because it details Hamlet and his “friend’s” whereabouts, as well as accents the fact that Hamlet is in close contact with Horatio.
reveals the nature of important characters scene 5
Reveals the Nature of Important Characters: Scene 5
  • Point: In scene 5 the nature of three major characters is shown, due to the murder of Polonius in one of the previous scenes, Ophelia has become so overwhelmed with grief and sorrow that her mind has become unstable and slip away from her control. Similarly, Laertes has returned from France because of his father’s death and has come to exact revenge on the one responsible (Originally thinking it was Claudius but after Claudius talked with him told him Hamlet was to blame). Finally, Claudius sees an opportunity to be rid of Hamlet without he himself getting his hands dirty using Laertes as his instrument.
  • Proof:

“She is importunate indeed distract…[Sings] How should I your true love know from another one? By his cockle hat and staff and his sandal shoon.” (IV. v. 3…26) Ophelia

“That drop of blood that’s calm proclaims me basterd, cries cuckold to my father, brands the harlot even here between the chaste and unsmirch’d brows of my true mother.” (IV. v. 115-118) Laertes

“Be you content to lend your patience to us, and we shall jointly labour with your soul to give it due content.” (IV. v. 207-209) Claudius


Analysis: It is shown throughout the scene that Laertes is oblivious to who actually killed his father; he is so overcome with rage that he believes shedding Claudius’s blood will resolve his father’s untimely death. For this reason, Laertes storms the throne room and points his rapier right at the king’s throat. Claudius being the manipulative mastermind that he is, plans to do right by Laertes and help him get his revenge one the murderer – Hamlet. It can be assumed that Claudius’s main motive for aiding Laertes is personal gain and to be rid of Hamlet. Finally, we are shown that Ophelia has gone mad over the loss of her beloved father. After Laertes witnesses her singing he becomes guilt stricken and swears to avenge his father as well as Ophelia.

provides motivation for a later incident in the plot scene 6
Provides Motivation for a Later Incident in the Plot: Scene 6
  • Point: Scene 6 of Act 4 is a very short scene but it contains a very key element that hints to an event to come later. In a letter given to sailors to deliver and meant to be received by Horatio, Hamlet writes that while one course for England his ship was attacked by pirates. He further explains that he was able to escape and that Rosencrantz and Guildenstern still proceeded on to England, while his plans are to return to the castle with the obvious goal in mind of revenge on the king.
  • Proof:

“We were two days old at sea, a pirate of very warlike appointments gave us chase. I alone became their prisoner. Rosencrantz and Guildenstern hold their course for England; of them I have much to tell thee. Farewell.”

(IV. vi. 16-29)

  • Analysis: Hamlet was taken to England not by his own choice, but by pressure put on him through the king and Guildenstern and Rosencrantz. His ever present return to Denmark signifies that more events that hold valuable plot information will be revealed in the near future. This opens the possibilities for conflict between Hamlet and Claudius, Hamlet and Laertes as well as Hamlet and Ophelia.