Hamlet Discussion Questions

Some people believe that Ophelia is the only innocent person who dies in the play. Do you believe this? Is she tainted like everyone else? Could be innocent because she could not stick up against societal roles.
What is Hamlet’s tragic flaw? A coward because he was indecisive. He lets his emotions take control.
Do you think it is appropriate that Fortinbras is the new kin? Why or why not? Fortinbras respected Hamlet after his death.
Do you think Hamlet is an admirable character? What traits are respectable? What traits are not? Loyal, smart, truthful.
What is the essence of Hamlet’s delay in his action against Claudius? He is a coward and always second guesses himself.
Does Hamlet (or Shakespeare) ever answer the reason for existence? Talks about it in to be or not to be speech. There is no love from his family, and since Ophelia he no longer feels loved.
What sends the play on its course of inevitability? The play inside a play. When the ghost is first spotted. There are multiple instances.
In what ways is Hamlet responsible for what happens and in what ways is he a victim of circumstance? His indecisiveness prevents him from killing Claudius.
Is everyone responsible for the cloud of corruption over Elsinore? Everyone is responsible in some fashion.
One question all viewers have in watching the play is “why?” We want to understand characters’ rationale for their actions. However, the play is full of what one scholar deemed “a lack of logic” in the characters’ choices. Why is the play so full of this lack of logic? They are easily persuaded and let their emotions take full control.
Are the admirable characters throughout the play who show strength and resolve of the human spirit? Why do the majority of the character highlight varying human weaknesses and frailties? There are not any admirable characters. Greed weakness, revenge.
What do you think Shakespeare’s central message is (or messages)? Don’t let emotions take control: rationality.
What is Gertrude’s role in all of this? Marrying Claudius starts the tragedy.
What do you make of Polonius? Is he a fool? a wise father? a counselor to the king? a sycophant? Fool. Bad father. Double faced since he lied to the king.
Why does Hamlet waffle in terms of seeking revenge for his father’s murder? What do you think suggests about his nature? It is difficult for him to kill someone. He is very indecisiveness.
At what point … and why … does Hamlet accept that he is going to die? What does the line “There is a special providence in the fall of a sparrow” mean? When speaking to Horatio about the fencing match with Laertes.