Act 4 Scene 4
Alrighty, this in another short scene. This is the first scene that doesn't take place in Denmark. At first, we are presented with Fortinbras, the leader of the Norse army that is fighting Denmark over something or other. The war isn't super important except as a metaphor and to provide Hamlet with a reason to change from being a wishy-washy asshat to being a take-charge asshat. Anyway, Fortinbras. Which is an awesome name, to be honest. One of you should name your child that. Go on. Do it. Fortinbras wants an audience with Claudius in order to pay him respect. I thought they were at war? What the fuck? Okay, I totally didn't just cheat and google it. Apparently, Dead King Hamlet killed Old Fortinbras (Fortinbras's father, of course) and seized control of Norway. Fortinbras is apparently biding is time until he can attack Denmark and take back what is his (Norway). Fortinbras is in charge of protecting a worthless piece of land against Poland. I guess they are at war, but with Poland. Why does everyone want to conquer Poland? What beef does everyone have with them?
Okay, Hamlet pops into the scene. Fortinbras probably isn't Hamlet's biggest fan, all things considered. Hamlet is struck by the assignment that Fortinbras and his men are charged with. Why defend a useless and worthless piece of land that isn't big enough to bury the dead should it come to war? What is the point? Hamlet takes this as an opportunity to soliloquize all over the place. He
|Good job, you identified your major flaw.|
Act 4 Scene 5
Back to Denmark! Horatio has returned, and not to stab ghosts this time, so he's got that going for him. He and Gertrude are discussing Ophelia, we assume. Her name is not mentioned outright, but they're totally talking about her. Gertrude refuses to speak with her and an unnamed Gentleman of the court informs her that Ophelia is depressed and acting strangely. Apparently, she is taking the news and circumstances of her father's death very hard.
This is where Ophelia enters the scene and really ups the crazy. She sings this really strange song to the room. It's all about true love and death, naturally. People keep interrupting, but she tells them to shut up and listen to the song. Claudius wanders in about halfway through the song, right when it starts to get interesting. He interrupts her singing, but she tells him to just listen. She sings about men and women in an allusion to her relationship with Hamlet. She sings, "Young men will do't. if they to 't;/by Cock, they are to blame./Quoth she, 'Before you tumbled me,/You promised me to wed.'" She
|Seriously, Hamlet is the worst.|
Ophelia leaves after calling everyone Ladies and telling them goodnight. Considering the only lady in the room is Gertrude, this seems like an odd thing to do. Almost as odd as when Hamlet called Claudius 'Mother.' A comparison is being drawn between Hamlet and Ophelia here. They are not being made parallel, but perpendicular to one another. They are going in different directions. Hamlet is forcing his anger and resentment outward, while Ophelia is keeping it inside herself. We will see the consequences of both actions soon enough.
Claudius sends Horatio to follow Ophelia and keep an eye on here. He does a piss-poor job of it, but that's too come. Now Claudius and Gertrude are alone. They talk about Laertes having come back from France. They don't know what to tell him about the death of Polonius. Just then, a messenger enters the scene. He come with news the Laertes has arrived and some peeps are calling for him to be King. Laertes then breaks down the doors and enters the scene himself. He demands to speak to the king and for his attendants to leave him. They do, so he is alone with Claudius and Gertrude. Laertes accuses Claudius of killing his father, Polonius. Claudius and Gertrude both tell him that it wasn't Claudius what done it and, shockingly, they don't tell him that it was Hamlet. Laertes isn't swayed and keeps accusing Claudius, saying that he knows it was him and he doesn't care about the repercussions he may experience from his ranting. Claudius smooths things over, again assuring Laertes that it wasn't him. Ophelia comes back and it just as crazy as she was before. She sings again and Laertes is taken aback. She tries to get him to sing with her, but he doesn't. She sings a song that alludes to her father's death and she leaves again with Gertrude in toe.
Now that Laertes is left alone with Claudius, they make a deal. Claudius tells Laertes to grab some of his wisest friends and they will judge between the two of them who is right. He says that if these friends determine that he killed Polonius, he will give the kingdom to Laertes. Laertes agrees.
Act 4 Scene 6
I know, a third scene! Lucky you. Sorry, I'm very tired.
This scene is super short. Horatio enters with a dude. The dude tells Horatio that there are some seafarers who want to speak with Horatio. The dude goes to get the sailors, who have brought letters for Horatio. The letters, which are from Hamlet, talk about how he was met with pirates on the seas. He boarded the pirate's ship and they took him captive. Hamlet has sent letters for the King, as well. He asks Horatio to come get him. R+G have left without him and are headed to England. He finishes the letter with the detail that he has much to tell Horatio about R+G. Horatio finishes the letter and tells the sailor to take him to Hamlet.
Alright, we are seeing an interesting relationship growing between Hamlet and Ophelia. Not between them as individuals, but between their characters and their treatment. I don't want to get into it, mostly because we already have, and also because I want to take a nap. It is something we need to keep our eyes on, though. We should also watch the way that the war becomes a metaphor for the main plot of the play. They mimic each other very nicely.
I'm going to check out now. I'm off to watch superhero movies and sleep.
Until Next Time, Happy Reading