What feeling permeates the first part of Act III, scene 1 of Hamlet?

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englishteacher72 | High School Teacher | (Level 2) Assistant Educator

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In the beginning of this scene, Hamlet’s mom, Gertrude, and his uncle, King Claudius, are inquiring of Hamlet’s behavior to Rosencrantz and Guildenstern.  There is a concern about Hamlet’s supposed depression, but the two men claim they do not know what is bothering Hamlet.  They do, however, inform the king that Hamlet seems very excited to see the play that is supposed to be performed that evening.  This is something the king and queen find hopeful, and they are pleased to hear it.  After dismissing everyone, Claudius and Polonius, Ophelia’s father, hide in the room to spy on Hamlet.  After Hamlet enters, he delivers his famous “To be or not to be” soliloquy.

I would say that there is a feeling of concern that permeates this scene, but when looking at the character of Hamlet, the reader can see feelings of contemplation, depression, and self-doubt, as Hamlet is grappling with whether or not life is worth it.

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