When the players arrived in Denmark, prince Hamlet greeted them. Hamlet asked them to perform a play called The Murder of Gonzago. He also asked them to perform a dumb show preceding the play. The players accepted and prepared for the performance.
Prince Hamlet asked the players to act out The Murder of Gonzago because it was parallel to what actually happened with his father, King Hamlet and his uncle, Claudius.
The dumb show that precedes The Murder of Gonzago shows a king and queen who are deeply in love with each other. The king falls asleep in a bed of flowers and the queen departs. Another man enters, removes the king?s crown and kisses it, pours poison into the king?s ear, and leaves. The Queen returns to find her husband dead, and shows an expression of grief and loss. The murderer returns and the king?s body is carried away. He tries to woo the queen, but at first she resists, and then soon accepts his love.
After the dumb show, the players began the prologue of the play. It was brief, but to the point. The player king asked the player queen if she would ever remarry if he were to die. But the queen assured him that she would not. He asked her several times and each time she said that she would not. The king then told her that he wanted to go to sleep.
Ophelia?s reaction to the play was that the lady protests too much. Hamlet replies with one of his smart remarks, ?O, but she?ll keep her word.?(l.225)
Claudius was alarmed by the show. He rose up and cried out ?Give me some light, Away!?(l.295). He was nervous that Hamlet had found out that he murdered King Hamlet. Hamlet was very happy with the king?s outburst and he was excited that he finally knew the real truth, that what the ghost of his father had said was really true.
The players stopped the play. Everyone was confused about what was going on, and the castle went into a complete panic. The entire castle was in a state of panic and confusion except for Hamlet, who was perfectly calm and happy.
The players had given a very good performance. Everything went exactly as Hamlet had planned and it depicted what was going on perfectly.