Hamlet Act 3

Hamlet is a tragedy written by William Shakespeare, marking one of his most iconic works.

In this post, I will provide a comprehensive plot summary of Hamlet Act 3, broken down by scene with corresponding questions and answers for each section.

Daily Test - Attempt Now
Hamlet Act 3

Hamlet Act 3 Scene 1

In front of Polonius and Ophelia, King Claudius and Queen Gertrude ask Rosencrantz and Guildenstern about their talk with Hamlet. They say Hamlet admitted to being troubled but didn’t share the reason, acting strangely. Hamlet seemed happy about the actors visiting and planned a performance, inviting the King and Queen. The two friends leave.

Claudius asks Gertrude to leave to avoid meeting Hamlet, whom he secretly wants to see. He plans for Hamlet to accidentally meet Ophelia. Gertrude hopes Ophelia’s love might calm Hamlet down and advises her to act like she’s reading when Hamlet arrives. Claudius and Polonius tell Ophelia to act like she’s praying. They leave as Hamlet enters.

Hamlet contemplates life and death in his famous speech “To be, or not to be.” He argues about the struggles of life versus the unknowns of death. He sees Ophelia and asks her to pray for his sins. She mentions returning some things he gave her, but he denies it. He tells Ophelia to go to a convent, saying all men are dishonest and marriage is a bad idea. Then he leaves, and Ophelia is upset by his behavior.

Polonius and Claudius come out from hiding. Claudius thought Hamlet’s words didn’t sound like love or madness. He decides to send Hamlet to England for a change of scenery, hoping it’ll help him. Polonius agrees but suggests trying one more time to find out what’s bothering Hamlet after the play. If that fails, he tells Claudius to either send Hamlet to England or keep him under close watch. They leave, agreeing that they can’t ignore the madness in powerful people.

Questions on Hamlet Act 3 Scene 1

1. Who questions Rosencrantz and Guildenstern about their conversation with Hamlet?

  • King Claudius and Queen Gertrude question Rosencrantz and Guildenstern about their discussion with Hamlet.

2. What information do Rosencrantz and Guildenstern provide about Hamlet’s state of mind?

  • They mention that Hamlet admitted to being troubled but did not share the reason, behaving strangely.

3. What did Hamlet seem pleased about, according to Rosencrantz and Guildenstern?

  • Hamlet appeared pleased about the actors’ visit and planned a performance, inviting the King and Queen.

4. What do Claudius and Gertrude plan in regards to Hamlet’s meeting with Ophelia?

  • They plan for Hamlet to accidentally encounter Ophelia, hoping her presence might affect him positively.

5. What advice does Gertrude give to Ophelia before meeting Hamlet?

  • Gertrude advises Ophelia to act as if she’s reading when Hamlet arrives.

6. What does Claudius instruct Ophelia to pretend to do when Hamlet enters?

  • Claudius tells Ophelia to act like she’s praying when Hamlet arrives.

7. What famous soliloquy does Hamlet deliver upon entering the scene?

  • Hamlet delivers the famous soliloquy “To be, or not to be,” contemplating life, death, and the uncertainties between them.

8. How does Ophelia react to Hamlet’s behavior after their interaction?

  • Ophelia is upset by Hamlet’s behavior after their interaction.

9. What do Claudius and Polonius think of Hamlet’s behavior towards Ophelia?

  • They discuss that Hamlet’s words and behavior towards Ophelia didn’t seem like love or madness.

10. What plan do Claudius and Polonius devise after observing Hamlet’s behavior with Ophelia?

  • They plan to send Hamlet to England for a change of scenery in hopes it might help him.

11. What plan does Polonius suggest before sending Hamlet to England?

  • Polonius suggests trying one more time to uncover the reason behind Hamlet’s behavior after the play.

12. What does Polonius propose if their next attempt to understand Hamlet’s behavior fails?

  • If their next attempt fails, Polonius advises Claudius to either send Hamlet to England or keep him under close observation.

13. What is the intention behind sending Hamlet to England, according to Claudius?

  • Claudius hopes a change of scenery in England might assist Hamlet.

14. What strategy do Claudius and Polonius agree upon regarding Hamlet’s mental state?

  • They agree not to ignore signs of madness in powerful individuals, recognizing the importance of addressing it.

15. What plan does Claudius devise regarding Hamlet and Ophelia’s accidental encounter?

  • Claudius plans for Hamlet to accidentally meet Ophelia in the hopes of a positive influence on Hamlet.

16. What advice does Gertrude offer to Ophelia about her behavior when encountering Hamlet?

  • Gertrude advises Ophelia to act as if she’s reading when she meets Hamlet.

17. What does Hamlet ask Ophelia to do upon their encounter?

  • Hamlet asks Ophelia to pray for his sins.

18. What does Hamlet advise Ophelia to do in response to her concerns about returning his gifts?

  • Hamlet denies asking for his gifts back and suggests Ophelia go to a convent, criticizing marriage.

19. What do Claudius and Polonius decide to do after observing Hamlet’s behavior towards Ophelia?

 

Copyright Notice:📚 Teachers and students are granted permission to use, reproduce, and distribute this content solely for educational and non-commercial purposes. 🚫 Unauthorized copying, distribution, or reproduction for commercial purposes is strictly prohibited. Any infringement may result in legal action. 

 

  • They decide to send Hamlet to England for a change of environment, hoping it will help his mental state.

20. What action does Polonius recommend if their next plan fails to understand Hamlet’s behavior?

  • If the next attempt to understand Hamlet fails, Polonius suggests either sending Hamlet to England or keeping him under close watch.

Hamlet Act 3 Scene 2

Hamlet instructs the actors on how to perform the speech he prepared for the play. Polonius enters with Rosencrantz and Guildenstern, telling Hamlet that Claudius and Gertrude will attend the play. Hamlet asks them to hurry the actors and calls for Horatio. He confides in Horatio about scrutinizing Claudius during a crucial scene related to his father’s death.

During the play, Hamlet refuses a seat next to his mother, choosing to sit by Ophelia instead. The play starts with a silent enactment of a king being poisoned, followed by a brief introduction. The actors portraying the Player King and Queen discuss love, death, and remarriage. They debate about remarrying after the first spouse’s death and the uncertainties of emotions and fate in relationships.

As the play progresses, Hamlet tells Claudius that the performance is harmless. However, when the actor portraying the murderer pours poison, Claudius becomes unsettled and abruptly leaves. The play is stopped, and only Hamlet and Horatio remain. They believe they’ve caught Claudius’s reaction, supporting the Ghost’s words.

Rosencrantz and Guildenstern ask Hamlet to see his mother before bed, trying to get him to reveal what’s bothering him. Hamlet avoids their questions and feels they’re trying to manipulate him. Polonius arrives and repeats Gertrude’s request. Hamlet agrees but decides not to harm his mother despite his anger.

Questions on Hamlet Act 3 Scene 2

1. Whom does Hamlet instruct about the play’s performance, and what does he want them to do?

  • Hamlet instructs the actors about the play’s performance, detailing how he wants the play to be enacted.

2. Who enters with Rosencrantz and Guildenstern to inform Hamlet about Claudius and Gertrude attending the play?

  • Polonius enters with Rosencrantz and Guildenstern, informing Hamlet about Claudius and Gertrude attending the play.

3. Whom does Hamlet call for and confide in about scrutinizing Claudius during the play’s crucial scene?

  • Hamlet calls for Horatio and confides in him about watching Claudius’s reactions during the crucial scene in the play.

4. How does Hamlet position himself at the beginning of the play’s performance?

  • Hamlet refuses a seat next to his mother and chooses to sit by Ophelia instead at the start of the play.

5. What is the central theme discussed by the actors portraying the Player King and Queen in the play within the play?

  • The actors debate love, death, remarriage after a spouse’s death, and the uncertainties of emotions and fate in relationships.

6. What is the subject of the silent enactment at the beginning of the play within the play?

  • The silent enactment portrays a king being poisoned.

7. What reaction does Claudius have during the play’s performance?

  • Claudius becomes unsettled and abruptly leaves when the actor portraying the murderer pours poison.

8. Who remains in the room after the play is stopped?

  • Only Hamlet and Horatio remain in the room after the play is stopped.

9. What does Hamlet believe they have achieved by Claudius’s reaction during the play?

  • Hamlet believes they have caught Claudius’s reaction, supporting the Ghost’s words about the murder.

10. What are Rosencrantz and Guildenstern trying to do by asking Hamlet to see his mother before bed?

  • They are attempting to get Hamlet to reveal what is troubling him by asking him to see his mother before bed.

11. How does Hamlet perceive Rosencrantz and Guildenstern’s attempts to interact with him?

  • Hamlet feels that Rosencrantz and Guildenstern are trying to manipulate him with their questions.

12. Who arrives after Rosencrantz and Guildenstern, repeating Gertrude’s request for Hamlet to see her?

  • Polonius arrives after Rosencrantz and Guildenstern, repeating Gertrude’s request for Hamlet to see her.

13. What decision does Hamlet make despite agreeing to see his mother upon Polonius’s request?

  • Hamlet decides not to harm his mother despite his anger, despite agreeing to see her.

14. What is the objective of Hamlet’s plan during the play’s performance?

  • Hamlet’s objective during the performance is to observe Claudius’s reaction during a pivotal scene, related to his father’s death.

15. What is the purpose of Hamlet choosing to sit near Ophelia during the play?

  • Hamlet chooses to sit near Ophelia at the beginning of the play, distancing himself from his mother and perhaps intending to observe her reaction.

16. Who stays in the room after the play is halted?

  • Only Hamlet and Horatio remain in the room after the play is stopped.

17. What response does Claudius have during the crucial scene in the play within the play?

  • Claudius becomes unsettled and abruptly leaves the room when the actor portraying the murderer pours the poison.

18. What is Hamlet’s response to Polonius repeating Gertrude’s request to see her?

  • Hamlet agrees to see his mother as requested but decides not to harm her, despite his anger.

19. Why does Hamlet instruct the actors in such detail about the play’s performance?

  • Hamlet meticulously instructs the actors to enact a specific scene to observe Claudius’s reactions and confirm the Ghost’s words about the murder.

20. What does Hamlet believe they have achieved through the play’s performance?

  • Hamlet believes they have captured Claudius’s reaction during the play, supporting the Ghost’s claims about the murder.

Hamlet Act 3 Scene 3

Claudius enters with Rosencrantz and Guildenstern, believing Hamlet, in his “madness,” poses a threat. He plans to send Hamlet to England for safety, along with Rosencrantz and Guildenstern, to protect himself. They agree, acknowledging that the actions of a king affect many others.

Polonius arrives, informing Claudius that Hamlet is on his way to speak with Gertrude privately. He plans to eavesdrop on their conversation behind a tapestry, thinking Gertrude may favor Hamlet’s words due to their mother-son relationship.

Claudius reflects on his guilt for murdering his brother and regrets his inability to pray for forgiveness. He believes his gains from the crime prevent him from finding mercy and fears he cannot be forgiven for his sins.

Hamlet enters and finds Claudius apparently praying. He decides not to kill him while praying, fearing it would send Claudius to heaven. He plans to wait for a time when Claudius is engaged in a sinful act to avenge his father’s murder.

As Hamlet leaves, Claudius reveals his struggle to pray genuinely. He feels that his words don’t align with his thoughts and worries his prayers won’t be heard.

Questions on Hamlet Act 3 Scene 3

1. Who does Claudius plan to send to England for safety, alongside Hamlet?

  • Claudius plans to send Hamlet to England for safety, along with Rosencrantz and Guildenstern.

2. Why does Claudius believe Hamlet poses a threat, leading to his decision to send him to England?

  • Claudius sees Hamlet’s “madness” as a potential threat, prompting his decision to send Hamlet to England for safety.

3. What does Polonius plan to do upon hearing about Hamlet’s intent to speak with Gertrude?

  • Polonius plans to eavesdrop on the conversation between Hamlet and Gertrude behind a tapestry.

4. What is Claudius’s reflection about his guilt in the murder of his brother?

  • Claudius reflects on his guilt for murdering his brother and regrets his inability to pray for forgiveness.

5. Why does Claudius believe he cannot seek forgiveness for his sins?

  • He believes his gains from the crime prevent him from finding mercy and fears he cannot be forgiven for his sins.

6. What does Hamlet decide regarding killing Claudius when he finds him apparently praying?

  • Hamlet decides not to kill Claudius while he’s praying, fearing it would send Claudius to heaven.

7. What is Hamlet’s plan regarding avenging his father’s murder after observing Claudius’s apparent prayer?

  • Hamlet plans to wait for a time when Claudius is engaged in a sinful act to avenge his father’s murder.

8. What does Claudius reveal about his prayers after Hamlet’s departure?

  • Claudius reveals his struggle to pray genuinely. He feels his words don’t align with his thoughts and worries his prayers won’t be heard.

9. Who does Claudius plan to send to England alongside Hamlet for safety?

  • Claudius plans to send Rosencrantz and Guildenstern to accompany Hamlet to England for his safety.

10. Why does Claudius feel troubled about his prayers after Hamlet’s departure?

  • Claudius expresses his concern that his prayers lack sincerity and worries that they might not be heard.

11. What is Claudius’s internal conflict regarding his prayers?

  • Claudius struggles with the authenticity of his prayers, feeling that his words don’t reflect his true thoughts or intentions.

12. What is the main reason Hamlet decides against killing Claudius while he is apparently praying?

  • Hamlet fears that killing Claudius while he is praying might send him to heaven, so he decides against it.

13. What drives Claudius’s decision to send Hamlet away to England?

  • Claudius perceives Hamlet’s madness as a potential threat, motivating his decision to send him to England for safety.

14. What internal conflict does Claudius express about his prayers after Hamlet’s departure?

  • Claudius expresses a sense of inner turmoil about the authenticity of his prayers, doubting if they will be heard due to his conflicted thoughts and words.

Hamlet Act 3 Scene 4

Polonius advises Gertrude to scold Hamlet for his behavior. Then, he hides behind a tapestry as Hamlet comes in. Hamlet speaks directly to his mother, accusing her of upsetting his deceased father and discussing revealing her innermost secrets. Startled, Gertrude cries out, mistaking his actions for a threat. This prompts Polonius to speak from behind the curtain. Believing it’s Claudius, Hamlet thrusts his sword through the curtain, inadvertently killing Polonius.

Hamlet scorns Polonius for his nosiness and then insists that his mother listen to him. She reprimands him for his rude behavior and denies understanding what he’s referring to. Hamlet presents images of his father and uncle, comparing their virtues, astonished that his mother could forget her first husband, who seemed exemplary in every way.

He accuses Gertrude of marrying a vile man and a murderer, which upsets her. Suddenly, the Ghost appears, visible only to Hamlet. He asks if the Ghost is there to scold him for delaying revenge. The Ghost instructs Hamlet to comfort his mother, who’s disturbed by his words and actions.

Gertrude believes Hamlet is mad, but he insists it’s her actions that speak. He advises her to repent for her sins and not to sleep with Claudius that night. He also warns her not to reveal that he’s not truly mad. Hamlet plans to outsmart Rosencrantz and Guildenstern, whom he doesn’t trust.

Afterward, Hamlet removes Polonius’s body, commenting on how he’s now quiet in death, in contrast to his incessant chatter when alive.

Questions on Hamlet Act 3 Scene 4

1. Whom does Polonius advise Gertrude to scold for his behavior?

  • Polonius advises Gertrude to scold Hamlet for his behavior.

2. What action does Hamlet take upon entering Gertrude’s chamber?

  • Hamlet confronts his mother directly, accusing her of upsetting his deceased father.

3. What prompts Polonius to speak from behind the curtain?

  • Startled by Gertrude’s cry, Polonius speaks from behind the curtain, mistaking Hamlet’s actions for a threat.

4. What happens when Hamlet thrusts his sword through the curtain?

  • Hamlet inadvertently kills Polonius by thrusting his sword through the curtain, believing it to be Claudius.

5. How does Hamlet react upon realizing he has killed Polonius?

  • Hamlet scorns Polonius for his nosiness and then insists that his mother listen to him.

6. What comparison does Hamlet draw between his father and uncle during the conversation with Gertrude?

  • Hamlet compares his father’s virtues with his uncle’s vices, expressing astonishment that his mother could forget his exemplary first husband.

7. What advice does Hamlet give to Gertrude during their conversation?

  • Hamlet advises Gertrude to repent for her sins and not to sleep with Claudius that night.

8. What appearance does the Ghost make during Hamlet’s conversation with Gertrude?

  • The Ghost appears but is visible only to Hamlet, instructing him to comfort his mother, who’s disturbed by his words and actions.

9. What does Hamlet advise Gertrude not to reveal to others?

  • Hamlet advises Gertrude not to reveal that he is not truly mad.

10. Whom does Hamlet plan to outsmart following the conversation with Gertrude?

  • Hamlet plans to outsmart Rosencrantz and Guildenstern, whom he doesn’t trust.

11. What warning does Hamlet give his mother regarding her actions with Claudius?

  • Hamlet warns Gertrude not to sleep with Claudius that night and to repent for her sins.

12. How does Gertrude interpret Hamlet’s behavior during their conversation?

  • Gertrude believes Hamlet is mad due to his erratic behavior during their conversation.

13. Whom does Hamlet see and interact with that is only visible to him during the conversation with Gertrude?

  • Hamlet sees and interacts with the Ghost, who is only visible to him during the conversation with Gertrude.

14. How does Hamlet describe Polonius after he accidentally kills him?

  • Hamlet remarks that Polonius is now quiet in death, unlike his incessant chatter while alive.

15. What does Hamlet advise Gertrude about her revelation of his true mental state?

  • Hamlet advises Gertrude not to reveal that he is not truly mad to others.

Also, Read

hamlet act 1

Hamlet Act 1

Hamlet Act 2

Hamlet Act 2

Hamlet Act 4

Hamlet Act 4

Hamlet Act 5

Hamlet Act 5

Daily Reading Comprehension Test - Attempt Now

Discover more from English Luv

Subscribe now to keep reading and get access to the full archive.

Continue reading