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Hamlet as Puppet ShowHamlet bitterly says to Ophelia:  "I could interpret between...

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Jamie Wheeler | College Teacher | eNotes Employee

Posted March 1, 2008 at 3:43 PM via web

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Hamlet as Puppet Show

Hamlet bitterly says to Ophelia:  "I could interpret between you and your love if I could see the puppets dallying" (3.2.270-71).  How could one argue that the entire Tragedy of Hamlet is a puppet show?

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clane | High School Teacher | (Level 3) Educator

Posted March 1, 2008 at 4:36 PM (Answer #2)

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I lovethis topic because I've often thought the whole play was kind of like a puppet show. Who is pulling the strings? The ghost. The ghost is the driving force behind it all even though only Hamlet knows it to be true. If it weren't for the ghost pulling the proverbial strings the whole thing would never have taken place. Hamlet would not have ever known about the murder plot against his father so that Claudius could become king and marry Gertrude. He would not have enjoyed his new step father/uncle, but he would not have driven to seek murderous revenge. Polonius would not have died by accident, Ophelia would not have committed suicide (maybe she would have), Gertrude would not have drunk the poisoned wine, Laertes and Hamlet would not have died at the hands of each other.

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cybil | High School Teacher | (Level 1) Educator

Posted March 1, 2008 at 7:55 PM (Answer #3)

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Yes, the Ghost is definitely the driving force.  However, I think Polonius is also somewhat of a puppeteer because he manipulates Ophelia, tries to control Laertes, and even attempts to guide the king and queen so that he can garner more attention. His "hands" are involved in spying on Hamlet and Ophelia, on Laertes, and on Hamlet and Gertrude; in fact, he originates this devious approach to securing information in each instance. 

As much, however, as he'd like to be the master puppeteer, the strings get tangled in Gertrude's closet, and he's metaphorically strangled by being the wrong place at the wrong time. Oh, that part of the analogy was just too much! : )

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