Hamlet Questions Act 3 Scene 4: Why does Polonius hide behind the Queen’s curtain
- Why does Polonius hide behind the Queen’s curtain? Does she know that he is there?
- Why does Hamlet kill Polonius?
- Whose portraits does Hamlet show Gertrude? Why?
- When the Ghost reappears in Gertrude’s room, how does she react? What does the Ghost tell Hamlet?
2. Polonius hides behind the Queen’s arras. Hamlet doesn’t know who is behind the arras, he thinks that it is Claudius. He is striking out at a hidden person, a spy, who has started to shout for the palace guards. Hamlet reacts instinctively, without thought. His blood is already boiling because of his enraged confrontation with Gertrude.
- In Gertrude’s chamber the queen and Polonius wait for Hamlet’s arrival. Polonius plans to hide in order to eavesdrop on Gertrude’s confrontation with her son, in the hope that doing so will enable him to determine the cause of Hamlet’s bizarre and threatening behavior.
3. Quickly forgetting about Claudius, Hamlet seats his mother down and presents her with two portraits, one of her first husband and the other of Claudius. He describes the two as opposites, the one all nobility and virtue, the other all deformity and vice. Gertrude is deeply affected by this comparison and seems to comprehend the enormity of her sin.
4. While in the middle of the speech, the Ghost appears in the third time, telling Hamlet to stop torturing his mother and to remember his duty to kill Claudius. At the ghost’s command, Hamlet consoles his mother. Gertrude, unable to see the ghost, sees Hamlet talking to thin air and resolves that he is indeed insane. The ghost exits.