In Act 5, scene 2, of Shakespeare's Hamlet, pretend you are an actor playing one of the characters in the scene.Tell how the character feels about himself/herself, about other characters, and about...

In Act 5, scene 2, of Shakespeare's Hamlet, pretend you are an actor playing one of the characters in the scene.

Tell how the character feels about himself/herself, about other characters, and about the situation of the scene.

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litteacher8's profile pic

litteacher8 | High School Teacher | (Level 3) Distinguished Educator

Posted on

I would choose Hamlet, since this is hypothetical anyway! Hamlet spends most of the play trying to figure out what to do. He is torn by his feelings for his father and his mother, and also his duty to his kingdom. He has to think about the consequences of his decision, for himself and for his kingdom. He is the heir to the kingdom, and that is a big responsibility. His duty to his father and his kingdom conflict with the feelings a son naturally has for his mother, no matter what he's done. I imagine a combination of grief and relief.
booboosmoosh's profile pic

booboosmoosh | High School Teacher | (Level 3) Educator Emeritus

Posted on

If I were to play the part of one of the characters in Shakespeare's Hamlet, Act Five, scene two, I would choose Gertrude.

If I were Gertrude, I would be feeling relieved that I have finally been able to reconnect with my son after so much emotional distance since I married Claudius. I would be nervous knowing that the King murdered my first husband, I would be amazed and stunned that my dead husband has appeared to my son as a ghost, and ashamed for my behavior in marrying Claudius in the first place.

I might not be as suspicious of Claudius as Hamlet is, believing that he would never harm my son in the presence of so many witnesses, even though Hamlet has told me that he murdered my first husband and wanted him killed by the English.

I would be delighted to see my son joking and acting silly while competing with Laertes, a young man very much like him—that he has known for many years. It would be such a relief to see him acting like his old self and I would find a great deal of pleasure while feeling as if I have gotten my son back.

When I go to drink the wine, Claudius tells me not to, but I ignore him, thinking that he doesn't want me to show favoritism of Hamlet in this contest. And since he does not insist, I expect it is no big deal. This is my son, so I don't listen to him. At first I probably don't notice anything, and when I do, I might explain the strange feelings away, blaming them on my excitement of the event taking place, and nerves of the recent death of Polonius, my son's return from England, and Ophelia's death.

When I cannot ignore the strange and most likely painful symptoms of the poison any longer, and based upon what Hamlet has told me of Claudius, I won't be able to keep from looking at my husband. The likely look of guilt on his face will tell me all I need to know. My life may actually flash before me, remembering my childhood, perhaps, and then my husband and my child (now grown); and I am sure in a split second I would realize that I am dying. With my flagging strength, I make sure to tell Hamlet that I have been poisoned. I don't want to leave him, but in that moment I must warn him, hoping to save him. As I fall, I may utter a prayer, grasp my son's arm, and feel life leaving me until I can no longer see, and then my breathing stops.

 

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