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“Hoist With His Own Petard”: Hamlet, Act III, scene 4: Brush Up Your Shakespeare: 015

The tension mounts as Hamlet’s mother, Queen Gertrude, summons Hamlet to her chambers after the “Mousetrap” play to demand of her son what he thinks he is up to.

Hamlet quickly turns the tables on her, causing her to cry out for help. This causes Polonius, hidden behind the arras in the same room, to cry out. Hamlet quickly stabs Polonius through the arras, apparently thinking it is the King.

This is the first onstage death we have witnessed in Hamlet. But there will be plenty more to follow as Hamlet moves us toward the climax!


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