Explain how, in Act l of Hamlet, scene ll is a contrast to Scene l. What do we learn about Gertrude, Claudius, and Hamlet in this scene?  

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Both scenes are quite similar in that they both convey a somewhat somber mood. What contrasts the two is that scene l opens up with a sense of alarm and danger being expressed. It seems that there is some threat against the kingdom in the form of young prince Fortinbras, a fact which Horatio so eloquently explains to his fellow Danes, whilst scene ll begins with king Claudius expressing both pain and pleasure. Pain for the untimely death of the erstwhile king and pleasure for having married his widow. The mood is much lighter than that of the first scene.

Scene two also differs from the first scene in that the focus is on Hamlet, who is distraught about his father's death and his mother's quick betrothal to his uncle who now occupies the throne. The focus in scene one is on a spirit which we discover later, is the ghost of young Hamlet's father. The watchers on the platform are surprised and frightened out of their wits by its appearance.

We learn that King Claudius is quite happy with himself....

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