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Act III Scene 1 of Hamlet, in line 2, Claudius says, "...he puts on this confusion"....

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law222 | Student, Grade 11 | Honors

Posted October 18, 2012 at 2:16 AM via web

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Act III Scene 1 of Hamlet, in line 2, Claudius says, "...he puts on this confusion". What does this show about Claudius?

Act III scene 1

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accessteacher | High School Teacher | (Level 3) Distinguished Educator

Posted January 30, 2013 at 7:19 AM (Answer #1)

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This is a very interesting comment that Claudius makes, as the wording suggests that he feels Hamlet is deliberately acting as if he were mad rather than actually being mad. This scene opens as Claudius is questioning Rosencrantz and Guildenstern about what they have found out about Hamlet, and whether they have managed to work out what is behind his apparent madness. Note what he says in full:

And cna you by no drift of circumstance

Get from him why he puts on his confusion,

Grating so harshly all his days of quiet

With turbulent and dangerous lunacy?

The phrase "puts on his confusion" strongly suggests that Hamlet's madness is a choice he makes rather than a natural condition that he can do nothing about. It could be argued that Claudius therefore suspects Hamlet of deliberately acting mad for his own purposes. This does present an image of Claudius as being very suspicious.

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