In Act 3, Scene 1, Rosencrantz and Guildenstern say they have been unable to find the cause of Hamlets weird behaviour. They report this to the king and queen and discuss Hamlet’s behavior together. Rosencrantz and Guildenstern tell Claudius and Gertrude about Hamlet’s enthusiasm for the players. Gertrude and Claudius then come to agree that they will see the play that evening. Claudius and Polonius, now alone, intend to spy on Hamlet’s confrontation with Ophelia. Polonius tells Ophelia to walk around the lobby. Directly after this, Polonius hears Hamlet coming, and hides from Hamlet with Claudius
Then Hamlet enters talking to himself about whether or not he should commit suicide to end the pain of experience. He says that lifes miseries are too hard to bear, and no one would do so willingly.Hamlet says that since we don’t know what to expect in the afterlife, we would rather bear it now, then to learn of something worse.
Hamlet then sees Ophelia approaching, since she had received orders from Polonius, she tells him that she wishes to return the tokens of love he has given her. Hamlet is mad about this and denies having given her anything, and claims to have loved Ophelia once and never to have loved her at all.
Hamlet then criticizes women for making men behave like monsters and for contributing to the world’s dishonesty by making them appear more beautiful than they really are. Hamlet gets extremely angry and starts critisizing Ophelia, women and humankind in general. He says that he wants to end all marriages.
Claudius and Polonius then emerge from behind the tapestry. Claudius says that Hamlet’s strange behavior has not been caused by love for Ophelia and that he doesn’t sound insane at all. He says that he fears what is really going on with Hamlet. The King then decides that he will send Hamlet to England, in the hope that a change of scenery might help him get over his troubles. Polonius thinks this is a good idea, however he still believes that Hamlet’s problem comes because he loves Ophelia. He asks Claudius to send Hamlet to Gertrude’s chamber after the play, this way Polonious can eavesdrop again and is hopeful to learn why Hamlet is really mad. Claudius thinks that madness in great ones needs to be watched careully.
Act 3 scenes 1 develops the plot of hamlet by creating the way hamlet is looked upon as hamlets famous soliloquy “to be, or not to be” makes hamlets act of being crazy into a possible reality this is because hamlet is thinking about to live or not to live as he is carrying a burden, he also may believe that it is easier to take his life then to continue on with such a burden.
Another element in the plot that is developed is Hamlets love for Ophelia. Hamlet treats Ophelia very harshly which may because of his hate towards his mother, but will most likely take a toll on their relationship. Another element is that the king uses Ophelia as a spy to figure out hamlets creative imagination.
There are two main themes present in Act 3 Scene 1 of Hamlet. The two main themes are, Appearance vs. Reality and Action & Inaction. Appearance vs. Reality is apparent in line 47 in which Polonius tells Ophelia that people use appearance to “sugar o’er the devil” Following this line in like 52 Claudius privately admits that he is feeling guilt, which proves that Polonius cant tell the difference between Appearance and Reality.
Action & Inaction is present in this scene when the famous soliloquy “to be or not to be” is said. He is unable to act on what he feels is right. Secondly when Claudius realizes that Hamlet doesn’t love Ophelia nor does he angry, and thus suspects Hamlet knows about the murder and sends him to England. Claudius wastes no time think of possibilities but immediately acts upon his instincts.