Hamlet Questions and Answers
by William Shakespeare

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Act II Scene 2, What use does Hamlet plan to make of the players? Act II Scene 2

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Gretchen Mussey eNotes educator | Certified Educator

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At the end of act 2, scene 2, Hamlet describes how he plans on using the actors to confirm that Claudius murdered his father. When the group of actors arrive, Hamlet plans for them to perform the play The Murder of Gonzago in front of King Claudius and Gertrude in the hopes that the king will reveal his guilt. In act 3, scene 2, the actors perform the "mousetrap" scene, in which they recreate King Hamlet's murder in the orchard. While the actors are recreating King Hamlet's murder, Hamlet and Horatio closely watch Claudius's reaction to the events on stage in order to determine whether or not he displays signs of guilt. As soon as Claudius watches the actor pour poison into the king's ear on stage, he gets up and leaves the theater. Claudius's reaction confirms that he killed Hamlet's father. Unfortunately, Hamlet continues to hesitate and does not act upon his emotions until it is too late.

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juhlissa eNotes educator | Certified Educator

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Hamlet sees an opportunity with the arrival of the players.  He plans for the players to enact The Murder of Gonzago with a few changes/additions. The play will mimic what the ghost has told Hamlet happened to him at the hands of Claudius.  Hamlet plans to watch Claudius for his reaction during the performance of the play. Should Claudius watch the play with little reaction, he will believe the ghost is an evil spirit hoping to damn his soul.  However, if Claudius reacts strangely to the play, Hamlet will take it as proof that the ghost tells the truth and will feel more justified in pursuing action against Claudius.

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