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An entourage consisting of the king and queen, and , and enters to begin the Act. asks Rosencrantz and Guildenstern what they have learned about ’s malady. The two reply that they have not been able to find its cause. They do mention, however, that Hamlet was very enthusiastic about the players’ performance that night, which prompts Claudius to agree to attend the play. Rosencrantz and Guildenstern leave. Polonius and Claudius then begin their plan to loose Ophelia on Hamlet and mark their encounter, hoping to find the root of his madness. They instruct Ophelia to pretend that she is simply reading a book and withdraw behind a tapestry.

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