Hamlet Act II Review

1. What does Polonius ask of Reynaldo? How does he propose that Reynaldo go about this task? He is asking Reynaldo to spy on Laertes and says to simply ask around about him vaguely and see what people say about Laertes as well as see what he is up to with his own eyes.
2. What does this scene reveal about Polonius’s character? He is very controlling and feels the need to know everything; is not very trusting
3. What does Ophelia tell Polonius? How does he interpret her story? She tells him of her encounter with Hamlet, which Polonius interprets to mean Hamlet is crazily in love with Ophelia.
1. Why does Claudius ask for Rosencrantz and Guildenstern to come to Denmark? He asks for them to come and find out what is going on with Hamlet.
2. What does Polonius suggest they do to determine the depth and truth of Hamlet’s love for Ophelia? To spy on Hamlet while he has a conversation with Ophelia
3. What does Hamlet’s language during his exchange with Polonius reveal about his state of mind? Hamlet doesn’t seem to recognize Polonius, which shows his antic disposition.
4. Hamlet states, “I am but mad north north-west; when the wind is southerly, I know a hawk from a handsaw.” What does he mean? -He means to say that he is only crazy some of the time; the rest of the time he is fully aware of what is going on.
1. There are several references in this scene to women’s wearing makeup. Claudius describes “the harlot’s cheek, beautied with the plastering art,” and Hamlet says to Ophelia, “God has given you one face, and you make yourselves another . . . .” How do these images relate to one of the play’s major themes? Appearance vs Reality
2. What is Hamlet considering in his soliloquy that begins “To be or not to be”? Whether or not he should commit suicide
3. What does Ophelia mean when she says to Hamlet, “Rich gifts wax poor when givers prove unkind”? Nice gifts lose their value when their givers turn out to be unkind.
4. How does Hamlet treat Ophelia? Why do you think he behaves this way? Rudely because he realizes that she is betraying him.
5. Why do you think Hamlet says to Ophelia, “Or, if thou wilt needs marry, marry a fool, for wise men know well enough what monsters you make of them”? He is saying that she will only be able to marry a fool because wise men are too smart to fall for her act/they know she will deceive them.
6. Hamlet says, “I say, we will have no more marriages. Those that are married already, all but one, shall live”? What does he mean? What is the danger in this statement? He means that there will be no more marriages; the people who are already married will remain married, except for one person. He is referring to the fact that he is planning on killing Claudius, which is dangerous because Claudius is eavesdropping.
7. What does Claudius conclude about Hamlet’s love for Ophelia and his state of mind? What does he resolve to do? He thinks that Hamlet’s love for Ophelia is not the reason for his state of mind and resolves to send Hamlet back to England.
8. Polonius, Claudius, and Ophelia are all absorbed in completely different thoughts after Hamlet leaves. Describe what each is thinking. Polonius still thinks Hamlet’s madness is due to being in love with Ophelia; Claudius thinks that there is another reason for Hamlet’s state of mind and wants to watch him closely; Ophelia is miserable in seeing who Hamlet has become and the way he has started acting and treating her.

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