Hamlet Act V

cudgel (v) -to beat with a heavy club-to beat or strike, as with a heavy stick
mazard (n) a head
kibe (n) a small, itchy, blistering sore on one’s heel
flagon (n) a container with a spout and a handle
abhorred (adj) heated; disgusting
requiem (n) a funeral song; a Mass for the repose of the souls of the dead, especially in the Roman Catholic Church
baseness (n) a lack of moral character
sultry (adj) oppressively hot
perdition (n) eternal damnation; Hell
semblable (n) a counterpart or equal to someone
augury (n) a sign of what will happen in the future; an omen
aloof (adj) distant, especially in manner; unsympathetic; indifference; unapproachable
palpable (adj) capable of being felt; obvious; real; tangible
carouses (v) to drink merrily
treachery (n) -a willful betrayal of trust; deception-violation of allegiance, confidence, or faith; treason
circumvent (v) to go around or avoid
pate (n) the human head, especially the top of the head
equivocation (n) the use of ambiguous language to mislead or deceive
abhorred (v/adj) -to have regarded with horror or loathing-despised; hated
profane (v) to treat with irreverence; to desecrate
churlish (adj) rude or surly
prate (v) to babble on and on
amities (n) peaceful relations between nations
Cain Biblical reference to the first murder (fratricide)
Alexander historic reference to Alexander the Great. Greek king (BC) who was undefeated and is considered one of history’s most successful commanders
Caesar historic reference to Julius Caesar, a Roman general and statesman (100-44 BC). Also a clever allusion to Shakespeare’s own play, Julius Caesar, written two years earlier
Olympus mountain in Greek mythology
Pelion the home of the centaurs and was loved by many Gods known as the “healing mountain” because it had an abundance of healing and magical plants
Ossa the tallest mountain
Hercules Greek mythology hero known for his strength
diligence (n) steady effort
extolment (n) statement of high praise
dearth (n) scarce supply
ignorant (adj) lacking awareness of; uninformed
germane (adj) relative and pertinent
felicity (n) great happiness; bliss
potent (adj) of great strength
carnal (adj) relating to bodily appetites; sensual
What is the significance of the various skulls the gravedigger digs up during this scene? How do they contribute to the evolution of Hamlet’s understanding of death? First, the skulls emphasize the end of physical life on earth and physical decay that follows death. There is no sense of spiritual afterlife in this scene.Motif: “Something is rotten in the state of Denmark”The first several skulls are anonymous, and Hamlet can only speculate on the identities of the persons. He begins to recognize that none of their earthly deeds or accomplishments matters in the face of death.Death is the ultimate equalizer.The final skull is that of Yorick, someone Hamlet knew in life, and now Hamlet can contrast the person he knew in life with what he sees of the person in death.Death becomes personal.
How does the entrance of Ophelia’s funeral procession continue this evolution? With the knowledge that Ophelia has died, Hamlet admits he loved her. Now not only has Hamlet stared death in the phase (literally), his understanding of the ceasing of being that is death has gone from speculative anonymity to someone he knew, to someone he loved. Death has become much more personal.
What does Laertes and Hamlet’s fight in Ophelia’s grave foreshadow? The fight foreshadows the duel that is to come -the one Claudius and Laertes are planning, and the fact that they both jump into the grave foreshadows death.
Why is this scene in prose? As with the previous prose scenes, there is some humor and a good-deal of word play that Shakespeare does not want to obscure with blank verse.
How do Hamlet and the gravedigger view the sociological implications of death differently ? Hamlet is surprised at how everyone is equal in death. The Gravedigger is indignant that those of noble birth maintain their status even after death. If Ophelia hadn’t been a noblewoman, her suspected suicide would have have made her ineligible for a Christian burial in the churchyard.
How does Horatio learn about the real purpose for the trip to England? Hamlet tells Horatio about the letters Rosencrantz and Guildenstern were carrying to the English king. This is the first Horatio knew of the plot to kill Hamlet.
What is ironic about Rosencrantz and Guildenstern’s approaching deaths? From their standpoint, they merely obeyed the summons of their king and acted as friends to Hamlet, trying to ascertain the cause of his melancholy so that his family could fix it. Now they are delivering official communication from one king to another (as ordered to do). They have no idea that their deaths are near, nor do they have any understanding of what they would have done to merit their deaths.Dramatic and Situational Irony.
How does Shakespeare establish that Hamlet is indeed a noble gentleman? Hamlet expresses sincere regret that he fought with Laertes. He recognizes that Laertes has thesame cause for anger and desire for vengeance that he has. He also approaches the challengeto deal with Laertes as a sincere challenge. Being honest himself, he does not suspect others of being dishonest. But he has a bad feeling about it. Claudius uses his honesty against him.
How does the impending duel with Laertes complete Hamlet’s concept of death that has been developing through the play? As evidenced by scene 1, Hamlet now knows the nothingness that exists after physical life, and he has also faced the death of someone he loved. Since no one really understands or values life, it is not so difficult to leave it (he accepts Fate). He also realizes that death is inevitable: “…if it be not now, yet it will come…” The key to living well and dying nobly is “the readiness.”
Why does Hamlet apologize to Laertes? Hamlet is a gentleman and a man of integrity. He assumes Laertes is as well. Demonstrating the tension between Catholic and Protestant ideologies during the Renaissance, Hamlet does not seek absolution form a priest (Catholic), but he does not want to face possible death without clearing his conscience and seeking forgiveness.*They both forgive each other later.
Explain how each character dies in the end. -The Queen dies when she drinks the poisoned wine that was meant for Hamlet (irony)-Laertes and Hamlet change swords during the fight, and Hamlet wounds Laertes with the rapier that Laertes himself poisoned (irony)”Hoist on his own petard.”-The king dies after Hamlet stabs him with the poisoned rapier and forces him to drink the poisoned wine (irony)-Hamlet dies when Laertes wounds him with the poisoned rapier
Why does the play end with such bloodshed and death? -everything – or everyone – is rotten (or rotting) in the state of Denmark-it’s a Shakespearean tragedy
What is significant about the fact that Fortinbras delivers the last line of the play? In Shakespearean tragedy, the character who speaks the last lines is the character who will restore the shaken society to order. Hamlet has prophesied that Fortinbras will assume the throne,and he has spoken in favor of Fortinbras’ assumption. Fortinbras himself says he has a legitimate claim (based on the history bewtween Denmark and Norway).