Act IV, Scene 5 Summary and Analysis
Horatio, Gertrude, and a Gentleman enter. At Horatio’s urging, the Queen finally agrees to speak with Ophelia, who the Gentleman reports to be in a distracted, pitiable state, babbling nonsense about her dead father. Ophelia enters singing of a dead man, and a maid deflowered. Claudius enters, and seeing her state, orders Horatio to “Follow her close; give her good watch.” Alone with Gertrude, Claudius relays all the bad news from court: Polonius’ murder and hasty burial, Hamlet’s “remove” to England, public unrest at Polonius’ death, Ophelia’s madness, and Laertes’ secret return from France and his suspicions that Claudius is somehow responsible for Polonius’ death. Claudius...
(The entire section is 671 words.)