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Hamlet: Act 2 Scene 2 – Compare Hamlet’s Reaction To Arrival Of Rosencrantz And
Guildenstern And To The Players Essay, Research Paper

Hamlet: Act 2 Scene 2 – Compare Hamlet’s Reaction to Arrival of Rosencrantz and

Guildenstern and To the Players

Yin Choi

Compare Hamlet’s reaction to the arrival of Rosencrantz and Guildenstern with

his reaction to the arrival of the Playyers. Account for his reactions.

By comparing Hamlet’s reaction to the arrival of Rosencrantz and

Guildenstern with his reaction to the arrival of the Players, we can observe

the different perspectives of Hamlet’s character. His reaction to the arrival of

his old friends is similar to his reaction to the arrival of the Players in as

he is happy to see them all and he reveals his sanity to them all. When

Rosencrantz and Guildenstern arrive, Hamlet is overjoyed to see his “excellent

good friends” (2.2.227) with whom he grew up. Hamlet is also delighted to meet

with the Players. But this is where all the similarities end. In his

conversations with Rosencrantz and Guildenstern, Hamlet becomes suspicious of

the purpose of his old friends’ visit and he is perceptive enough to see through

the outer disguise into the interior motives. He forces them to reveal that they

have been sent by the King to find out what is causing Hamlet’s “transformation”

( 2.2.5). Hamlet admits his sanity by telling his good friends that his “uncle-

father and aunt mother are deceived.” (2.2.348) Why does Hamlet admit his

sanity to Rosencrantz and Guildenstern? Is it an another attempt to at deception,

or is it to implant a sense of trust between Hamlet and his old friends? Hamlet

could possibly be furthering his plans for revenge by admitting his sanity.

Hamlet’s friends would relay the message to the King and Claudius may think that

Hamlet really is mad for admitting that he was supposedly feigning madness. On

the other hand, at the conversation with the Players, his behavior is

spontaneous. He welcomes his “good friends” (2.2.431) and it seems that he is

“glad” (2.2.430) to see them again. He is friendly, funny and very open in his

communication with the Players. Hamlet notices that one of the young players who

plays female roles has grown a beard and he makes a joke about it. It also

indicates that Hamlet has known them for a long time. The young Prince Hamlet

also demonstrates his sanity when meeting with the Players. Hamlet shows that he

is still capable of reasonable thought when he recites the lines to a play that

he has heard only once. Hamlet reestablishes his friendship with the Players and

shows his sanity to the Players so that he can further his plan for revenge.

Hamlet outlines his plan for verification of foul play in his final soliloquy of

the scene:

I’ll have these players

Play something like the murder of my father

Before mine uncle. I’ll observe his looks,

I’ll tent him to the quick. If a do blench,

I know my course. (2.2.606-610)

Hamlet knows that the players can be trusted and therefore he is willing to use

their service to find out the truth of his father murder. Shakespeare has shown

us a variety of emotions and different aspects of Hamlet by comparing with his

reactions to the arrival of his old friends to his reaction to the arrival of

the Players. In doing so, we are able to see the world through the eyes of

Hamlet and able to appreciate the strengths in the character and understand his

weaknesses. After all, Hamlet is not an one-sided character. Shakespeare has

created a complex character who is capable of different shades of emotions and

feelings like us.

a

3e3


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