Hamlets Speech to Players

Hamlet’s Speech to the Players

The truth is something that everyone looks for at any particular point in time. It can be as simple as an answer to a question, or as complicated as a search for clues and answers in a murder. Whatever the situation may be, one must investigate, interrogate, or do anything else possible to find the truth. In William Shakespeare’s Hamlet, the death of Hamlet’s father was a mystery, until a ghost told the prince to avenge his father’s murder. Hamlet then suspected his uncle, King Claudius, of being the murderer of his father. Since the court was then going to watch a play, Hamlet found that as the best opportunity to reveal his uncle as the one responsible for the death of his father. He gives the players a new speech to recite and advises them how to “act,” so that the King can unveil himself by his own actions and expressions toward the play.
In Hamlet’s speech to the players he tells them, “Suit the action to the word, the word to the action, with this special observance, that you o’erstep not the modesty of nature; for anything so o’erdone is from the purpose of playing, whose end both at the first, and now, was and is, to hold as ‘twere the mirror up to nature, to show virtue her own feature, scorn her own image, and the very age and body of the time his form and pressure.” What Hamlet wants is for the actors to be moderate and natural in their depiction of life, not exaggerated, and not dull. The speech shows us the significance of how the fictional reality of art, can bring out the reality that Hamlet seeks in his uncle. He also believes that the theater exists to “hold the mirror up to nature” and hopes that Claudius will see his evil nature reflected in the performance.
The actions of Hamlet have changed up to the performance. Hamlet’s behavior of being mad and depressed changed with the players because they are not involved with his “real” life and feels at ease and at his best, a prince reminding artists of the ideals their art is meant to uphold. The meanings of words have also changed. The meaning of “acting” plays a great role in the performance, not only by the observation of the entire audience, but by a more private and personal meaning or understanding of the play by Hamlet and the King. The King is watching himself, or his “reflection,” on stage as the performance is going on because the players are acting out the reality of his role and this is how the players and the Mousetrap “hold a mirror up to nature.”
Hamlet’s actions changed from being neurotic, passive, and depressed, to a man with honor, passion, and action such as Fortinbras. They both differed dramatically in the beginning but were put together very well with Hamlet’s changes. However, the one major similarity that the both had uncontested was that of vengeance.
When in search for the truth, one cannot stop until finally revealing the entire reality of what one wants to find out. Hamlet’s destiny was linked to the theme of revenge. He knew that he couldn’t rest until he avenged his father’s death and until he found out exactly what happened for him to be lead to such vengeance. By Hamlet setting up a “Mousetrap” and “holding a mirror up to nature,” he found what he was searching for; the final evidence of his father’s murder.