Hamlet: Part 1

Author of Hamlet? William Shakespeare
Shakespeare’s life dates? 1564-1616
When was Hamlet written? 1600-1601
What is going on during the time of Hamlet? Looking for who will be the next monarch after Elizabeth
Background on Hamlet Ur-Hamlet – Thomas KydAnolothi – story has origins in Norse legend
1st Possible Interpretation Hamlet, the victim of external difficulties; Claudius is too powerful
2nd Possible Interpretation Hamlet, motivated by ambition- he will do anything to be king
3rd Possible Interpretation Hamlet, misled by Ghost- not an honest ghost; revenge
1st Theme Appearance vs. Reality ex) Act I iv: outside – ghost, reality = dark, cold, many questions and inside – wedding reception = party and denial of honestyex) Aeniad- Trojan war; horse –> Greek soldiers, gift, death
2nd Theme Poison and Corruptionex)
3rd Theme
Six Elements of a Shakespearean Tragedy 1. Revenge Motive2. Internal and External Conflicts3. Comic Relief4. Tragic Hero / Flaw / Mistake5. Supernatural Element6. Chance Happenings
3 Steps for a Perfect Revenge 1. Victim must be tortured mentally and physically2. Victim must be damned after death3. Person who takes revenge must damn his/her own soul
Claudius’ 3 steps to gain the throne: 1. Murdered King Hamlet2. Married Queen Gertrude3. Held a fake election (swung by Polonius)
Soliloquy Speech given on stage alone- tells what their true feelings are
Aside Speech given directly to audience- characters don’t hear it
Oxymoron Using two opposite words to describe somethingex) Mirth in funeral and dirge in marriage
The Great Chain of Being Supernatural things will happen if you upset the chainex) Claudius murdered his brother, married the queen, and took the throne. He hasn’t been punished for it so odd things happen.(Allusion to Julius Caesar)
Claudius’ speech in Act I ii 1. Oxymoron – to please both sides of the court being happy and upset, he understands that there is a split. (Mirth in funeral and dirge in marriage)2. Laertes – returned to court from France for the coronation NOT the funeral. Asks to return to France and Claudius approves with Polonius’ permission.3. Hamlet – wearing all black to mourn and is depressed. He wants to go back to Germany, but Claudius asks him to stay so he cannot plot against him.
Elsinore Name of the castle
Ghost’s requests of Hamlet: 1. Avenge death – kill Claudius2. Gertrude – leave her to Heaven and her conscience3. Be careful for yourself
Entrapments 1 Polonius – sends Reynaldo to France to spy on Laertes’ life2. King + Queen – brought Rosencrantz and Guildenstern to Elsinore to spy on Hamlet3. Polonius + King – are going to watch Ophelia with Hamlet to see if it really is true love or not4. Hamlet + actors – catch the King in his guilt by changing the play slightly to see his reaction
The Murder of Gonzago – Hamlet asks them to do this play but change a few things- alludes to Julius Caesar
Shakespeare’s advice to actors – Don’t be overly dramatic- Don’t be boring- Act natural (ironic)
Flute Hamlet tries to make Guildenstern play the flute – he is playing Hamlet
Climax – King alone in church praying- Hamlet could kill him but doesn’t because he is praying- After he says “Words with out thoughts to Heaven never go” meaning he is not truly sorry
Dramatic Reverse An event that causes downfall of protagonist, Hamlet kills Polonius
What is the mousetrap scene? The play within the play scene; The Murder of Gonzago
Requests of Gertrude 1 Don’t sleep with Claudius anymore2 Don’t tell that he is pretending to be crazy
“A little more than kin and less than kind” Hamlet to audience about ClaudiusMore than kin – uncle now father, nephew now sonLess than kind – instinctual and unnatural
* “O, that this too too solid flesh would melt” Hamlet’s soliloquyHe wishes he could die and that God didn’t call suicide a sin
“Seems” Gertrude to HamletHe “seems” upset, he gets mad by saying he isn’t pretending to be mad he really is upset
* “Frailty, thy name is woman” Hamlet about Gertrude Frailty – she couldn’t be alone, without husband for two months
“To thine own self be true. Neither a borrower nor a lender be” Polonius to LaertesGiving him advice about not being too much on either side of any situation but be true to yourself
“Something is rotten in the state of Denmark” Marcellus to HoratioRotten – the ghost
“The serpent that did sting thy father now wears his crown” Ghost to HamletSerpent – Claudius
“There are more things in heaven and earth, Horatio Than are dreamt of in your philosophy” Hamlet to HoratioYou don’t know everything
“And thus do we… by indirections find directions out” Polonius to ReynaldoAbout going to Paris to find Laertes
“Brevity is the soul of wit” Polonius to KingBrevity – to be brief is to be smart (ironic)
“The play’s the thing” Hamlet (alone)The play is the trap to see if Claudius is guilty
“Though this madness, yet there’s method in it” Polonius (aside)There is reason and a plan behind the craziness
“There is nothing either good or bad but thinking makes it so” Hamlet to RosencrantzIt isn’t a good or bad situation until you think of a way to make it happen
“What a piece of work is man, How noble in reason how infinite in faculty” Hamlet to Guildenstern Piece of work is man – sometimes difficult, sometimes amazing
“O, what a rogue and peasant slave am I” Hamlet (alone)Contrasts himself to actor in play; calls himself a jerk because the actor can cry in a play and fake emotion and he can’t have any in real life
“To be or not to be” Hamlet to OpheliaHe is questioning whether or not e wants to be alive
“To the noble mind, rich gifts wax poor when givers prove unkind” Ophelia to HamletTo an honest good person, riches don’t matter
“Get thee to a nunnery” Hamlet to OpheliaTelling her to go to a convent to be a nun – no children, whorehouse
“Give me that man/ That’s not passion’s slave” Hamlet to HoratioUses Horatio as FOIL to Hamlet, because he is level headed, no passionate
“The lady doth protest too much methinks” Queen to HamletAbout the lady in the play who says it too much that she won’t remarry, but she will remarry
“Why look you now how unworthy a thing you make of Me! … the heart of my mystery …” Hamlet to PoloniusHe is saying Polonius is untrustworthy
“I will speak daggers to her but use none” Hamlet (alone)Talking about how he will talk to queen with harsh words but use no harm against her
“My words fly up, my thoughts remain below” Hamlet (alone)Speaks too much without thinking
“Oh, what a rash and bloody deed is this” Queen to HamletAbout Hamlet killing Polonius
“I must be cruel only to be kind” Hamlet to QueenTelling her the whole truth
“Let it work; For ’tis the sport to have the engineer hoise with his own petar and ‘t shall go hard…” Hamlet to QueenRosencrantz and Guildenstern will go to England with Hamlet and he will have them killed