Hamlet Act I-V

How does Shakespeare begin the play with an immediate sense of suspense? The guards are speaking of a figure they’ve seen in the night.
What probably important exposition is revealed in this scene? The ghost is the late king, Hamlet.
Why has Horatio been asked to join the soldiers in the night watch? What has he decided to do? Horatio was a scholar, and they wanted him to get the ghost to speak. He wants to tell Hamlet.
How does the reader/audience know this ghost is not a hallucination? They can all see the ghost.
What important exposition is revealed at the beginning of this scene? The return of Old Hamlet and the conflict with Norway.
What evidence of wrongdoing or corruption is evident in Claudius’ opening speech? He admits to the quick marriage and says while he’s a mourning brother, he is also extremely excited for his new marriage.
Compare Claudius’ treatment of Laertes with his treatment of Hamlet. With Laertes he is friendly and kind, while with Hamlet he is often condescending.
Why did Hamlet not become King when his father died? Denmark is an elective monarchy.
How is Hamlet physically and emotionally conspicuous in the public portion of this scene? He is asked why he is so gloomy and he responds extremely cynical and states his grief.
What is the significance of Claudius’ denying Hamlet permission to return to Wittenburg? To watch over Hamlet since he killed his father.
What aspect of Hamlet’s concept of death/desire for death is revealed in Hamlet’s first soliloquy? He wishes to be dead because he believes the world is like an unweeded garden that he doesn’t want to be in.
What aspect of Hamlet’s problem seems to bother him the most? Hamlet’s mother remarried to his uncle.
What important metaphor is introduced in Hamlet’s soliloquy that will be developed later in the play? Denmark is an unweeded garden.
Contrast Claudius’ and Laertes’ reasons for being in Denmark. Claudius was becoming king and Laertes was there for his coronation.
Explain the reasons that Laertes and Polonius give Ophelia to convince her not to trust Hamlet’s love. They say he may not have true intentions, and if he did, he’s a royal so he may not have a choice.
What is comical about Polonius? He tells Laertes that he should be leaving quickly, but rants on and on, stalling him.
Other than the fact of the ghost itself, why is this Ghost thought to be an evil omen? He tells Hamlet a secret about how he died. He made him completely obsessed with seeking revenge.
Marcellus states, “Something is rotten in the state of Denmark.” What does he mean? He’s referring to Hamlet following the ghost and saying how there’s something wrong with the situation.
In what region of the universe does the Ghost reside? Purgatory.
What possible theme is introduced by the Ghost’s afterlife? The theme of death and purgatory.
What does the Ghost warn Hamlet about his mother? Why? He says not to blame her and leave her to heaven when he gets vengeance.
What does Hamlet mean when he says, “The time is out of joint”? It wasn’t his father’s time to die.
What is ironic about Polonius’ attempt to learn about Laertes’ life in Paris? He will ruin his son’s reputation in the process.
Why would Polonius immediately jump to the conclusion that Hamlet is mad for Ophelia’s love? He believed his love was unrequited because of how rash he was.
Consider how the episode of Hamlet in Ophelia’s closet promises to contribute to the overall calamity of the tragic plot. She has sided with those against Hamlet, and both Hamlet and Polonius are exploiting her.
Are Rosencrantz and Guildenstern willing spies for CLaudius and Gertrude? They are good friends with Hamlet. They care about him, and they want Claudius and Gertrude to like them.
What effect is created by the scenes between Hamlet and Polonius being in prose? It changes how the character is portrayed.
What are some of the slang expressions and puns Hamlet uses in his first exchange with Polonius? Why are they significant? Polonius asks Hamlet what he’s reading and Hamlet pretends to be confused.
What is Hamlet’s initial reaction to the appearance of Rosencrantz and Guildenstern? He says something that suggests that he doesn’t car about them and is already on to them.
Why are Rosencrantz and Guildernstern hesitant to admit that they are in Elsinore because the king and queen sent for them? They don’t want him to realize they are spies.
How does Hamlet’s famous “What a piece of work is a man!” passage depart from typical Renaissance humanism? He doesn’t depict man as if it is the top of the hierarchy of creation.
Why does Shakespeare introduce a troupe of traveling players into the action of the play? The players will be the vehicle by which Shakespeare can evaluate various characters’ reactions t events and characters in the play.
What does Hamlet’s expression of concern about the child actors used in the city contribute to the development of his character? I don’t see how it affects the plot, but it shows how Shakespeare shows his own opinions through Hamlet.
What is unusual about the players’ monologue about the Fall of Troy? It is told from the Trojan’s view. Thus, the roles of good and bad are reversed.
What does Claudius admit to himself (and the audience) about his crime? He admits that he killed the previous king. He says it’s the biggest crime. He wants to pray for forgiveness, but doesn’t want to deal with the consequences.
List the personal grievances Hamlet expresses in his “To be or not to be” solilquy and explains what specific events in Hamlet’s life they refer to. He debates whether or not he wants to live through this pain. Death would be the easiest way out
What metaphor does Hamlet use in his “To be or not to be” speech to express his developing understanding of death? How does he further develop this metaphor? He compares death to a deep sleep. He says it’s crazy to try and live through all the pain instead of taking a long sleep.
What information does Ophelia provide about Hamlet’s character before the beginning of the play? She tells him he came to her dressed sloppily and he grabbed her by the wrist.
Explain the ambiguity of the nunnery scene. Hamlet goes crazy. He makes personal insults at Ophelia. He accuses her of being with other men.
What is the main thrust of Hamlet’s diatribe against Ophelia? He accuses her of being dishonest.
How has the play-within-the-play changed Hamlet’s situation and influenced the action of the play?
How does Polonius’s