| Quote #4
If the player can conjure up such intensity and "passion" for a fictional character, why can't Hamlet move himself to action against the man who killed his father? By the end of the passage, Hamlet tries to place himself in the position of this stage actor and wonders what the player would do if he had Hamlet's "motive" and "cue for passion" (that is, the knowledge that Claudius has killed his father). In other words, maybe we could all benefit from a few acting lessons.
| Quote #5
Hamlet wants the traveling players to put on a play, so when King Claudius watches a murder take place on stage, his emotional response will reveal whether or not he's guilty of murdering Old King Hamlet. This may sound a bit wacky to us, but Elizabethans believed that theater was a very powerful place. (If you've ever cried all the way through a Nicholas Sparks movie, you probably agree.)
It could also be dangerous. In 1601, the Earl of Essex's rebel faction asked Shakespeare's theater company to perform Richard II (a play in which Henry Bolingbroke usurps the throne from the corrupt King Richard II). The very next day, Essex stormed the queen's court. Okay, sure, he failed. But the point is that the play seems to have gotten them riled up enough to actually move.
| Quote #6
Speak the speech, I pray you, as I pronounced it to you, trippingly on the tongue: but if you mouth it, as many of your players do, I had as lief the town-crier spoke my lines. Nor do not saw the air too much with your hand, thus, but use all gently; for in the very torrent, tempest, and, as I may say, the whirlwind of passion, you must acquire and beget a temperance that may give it smoothness (3.2.1).
Everyone—we mean, no one—loves an armchair director. Here, Hamlet "helps" the actors prep by telling them to hold back. More cable drama, and less daytime soap.