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Hamlet becomes bitter, admitting that he is upset at his situation but refusing to give the true reason why, instead commenting on "what a piece of work" humanity is.Rosencrantz and Guildenstern tell Hamlet that they have brought along a troupe of actors that they met while traveling to Elsinore.Polonius blames love for Hamlet's madness and resolves to inform Claudius and Gertrude.As he enters to do so, the king and queen finish welcoming Rosencrantz and Guildenstern, two student acquaintances of Hamlet, to Elsinore.After the court exits, Hamlet despairs of his father's death and his mother's hasty remarriage.Learning of the ghost from Horatio, Hamlet resolves to see it himself.
Shakespeare may also have drawn on an earlier Elizabethan play known today as the Ur-Hamlet, though some scholars believe he himself wrote the Ur-Hamlet, later revising it to create the version of Hamlet we now have.
They vow to tell Prince Hamlet what they have witnessed.
As the court gathers the next day, while King Claudius and Queen Gertrude discuss affairs of state with their elderly adviser Polonius, Hamlet looks on glumly.
Privately, however, he remains uncertain of the ghost's reliability.
Soon thereafter, Ophelia rushes to her father, telling him that Hamlet arrived at her door the prior night half-undressed and behaving crazily.