Hamlet ~ Act IV Scene IV

Hamlet  ~  Act IV  Scene IV

Hamlet comes upon the captain of Fortinbras’ army who has arrived to pass through the kingdom on their way to Poland.  Upon questioning the captain, Hamlet discovers that the piece of Polish land being fought over is really worthless, and Hamlet laments the loss of money and lives over such a trivial thing.

Hamlet then sinks into a fantastic soliloquy, comparing Fortinbras’ venture to his own poor inaction.  Fortinbras’ is prepared to go to his death with an army of twenty thousand over an illusion, yet Hamlet has cause to fight, but is so far showing himself a coward.  He spurs his thoughts on to violence.

Hamlet tries to show his mother, Gertrude, his
father’s ghost (1778)
Nicolai A. Abildgaard
source Wikipedia


Hamlet is still appearing very sane and reasonable.  He questions the captain with great astuteness and judges the situation with a rational insight.

His soliloquy is quite wonderful.  I wonder however …….. at the beginning of his speech, he ridicules over-thinking without action, yet at the end he says, “From now on, if my thoughts aren’t violent I’ll consider them worthless.” Hamlet is still focused on his thoughts, and for all his blustering for action, again appears unprepared to act.  However, by concentrating on violence, perhaps he is slowly moving towards the culmination of his desire.  All in good time, Hamlet.

Hamlet Read-Along Posts

2 thoughts on “Hamlet ~ Act IV Scene IV

  1. Just 5 more updates…then Hamlet is done!
    Will you finish this play before Christmas?
    I wonder….how many plays of Shakespeare use 'ghosts' as symbol or messanger. Good trivia question! Keep up the good work! Hope life is slowly getting back to normal (..it takes time, I know).

  2. Thanks, Nancy. I'm slowly getting back into things again after going away for a little while.

    Yes, I am determined to finish before Christmas. Ghosts are such good characters because they add an element of fear and uncertainty. I'm planning to step up my reading of Shakespeare's plays in 2016, so we'll see if I can eventually answer your ghost question!

Thanks for visiting. I'd love to hear from you and have you join in the discussion!