Date of Award

Summer 1941

Document Type

Thesis - Restricted

Degree Name

Master of Arts (MA)




There are many problems in the "Mouse Trap Scene" in Hamlet. Those which will be discussed in this paper were singled out because they were the subject of study and special controversy on the part of those who commented on this scene, and because they bear in every case but one directly on the catching of the King in Hamlet's "mouse trap". The first chapter, the exception to this, was included as fundamental because of the attempt on the part of some critics to solve the whole difficulty of the scene by saying that there should be no dumb show, that there was none in the play as Shakespeare wrote it. The modern acting of Hamlet without the dumb show emphasizes this position. The text from which all quotations were taken is that of Dover Wilson (Cambridge, 1934). It should be remembered that some of the acting directions quoted are according to his interpretation of the scene, and need not be accepted, e.g. "(The King very pale, totters to his feet" after line 264 in Act Three, Scene Two.



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