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
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.