Does "The Murder of Gonzago" proceed as Hamlet intended?

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Hamlet invites a troupe of actors to Elsinore, where they are to perform a bloody revenge tragedy entitled "The Murder of Gonzago." Though the play is somewhat old-fashioned and the actors far from the standard that Hamlet expects of them, "The Murder of Gonzago" does, at least, have the advantage that it holds up a mirror to nature by containing a scene in which an old king is murdered by his brother.

This, of course, is exactly what happened to Hamlet's father. Old King Hamlet was murdered one day by his brother Claudius while he slept in the garden. Ever since he found out about this from his father's ghost, Hamlet has vowed revenge. But it's no secret that Hamlet has a wee bit of a problem with procrastination and still hasn't got round to settling accounts with his wicked uncle by the time the players arrive at Elsinore.

Instead of running Claudius through with a sword or dashing his brains out against a rock, as someone else in his situation might do, Hamlet tries an altogether more subtle tack when it comes to carrying out revenge. He's going to stage the play, complete with the murder scene, and gauge Claudius' reaction. Then, he'll know for certain whether or not Claudius is guilty of killing his father.

As it turns out, Hamlet's plan is a little too successful. Claudius is no fool, and once he sees the play's murder scene knows exactly what Hamlet's up to. He immediately resolves to have Hamlet killed, thus revealing his nephew's cunning plan to be way too clever by half. By staging the play, Hamlet unwittingly exposes himself to considerable danger.

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