Hamlet Questions and Answers
by William Shakespeare

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What is the purpose of the brief scene iv in act IV of Hamlet?  

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Act IV, scene iv, in Hamlet highlights once more Hamlet's vacillation in gaining revenge on Claudius for the murder of his father. The sight of all those Norwegian soldiers heading off to risk their necks over a worthless piece of land in a far-off country shames Hamlet, making him feel like a complete coward for not having already settled accounts with his hated uncle.

But Hamlet's able to turn his sense of shame into a resolution to do what needs to be done. He's determined that there's no more time to waste; the death of his father must be avenged as soon as possible. From now on, his thoughts will be "bloody, or be nothing worth." In that sense, this scene is important as it shows a new sense of urgency taking root in Hamlet's tortured...

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