Hamlet Test

What is the first line of the play? Why might it be significant? What does it suggest about the play? Briefly explain. “Who’s there?” It is significant because throughout the play there is a constant question of who people really are, whether the ghost is real, whether Hamlet is crazy, etc. Opening the play with this question sets the tone of the play. It suggests that the plot of the play may contain a lot of intrigue, plotting, and paranoia because immediately we are thrust into a situation where even the players don’t know what’s going on.
Why is there a watch at Elsinore? There is a watch at Elsinore because they have been rumors that Young Fortinbras will march on Denmark to recover land his father lost in a battle with Old King Hamlet.
What is the “fault” of which the king speaks in these lines:Fie, tis a fault to heavenA fault against the dead, a fault to nature,To reason most absurd… (1.2. 101-103) The “fault” is in mourning the dead because death is a natural progression of life.
What three tasks and/or duties does the Ghost give Hamlet? To avenge his murder, to leave Gertrude alone, and to remember him (the ghost)
What advice does Ophelia give to Laertes before he leaves? Briefly explain. To practice what he preaches. Laertes tells Ophelia to guard her heart against Hamlet and not get caught up in his pretty words; to know that Hamlet is probably just playing her because he’s a prince and will have to conform to his duties one day. Ophelia tells Laertes to do the same with all of the Parisian women he will meet when he goes to Paris.
What is the Ghost’s revelation to Hamlet? What is Hamlet’s reaction and response to the Ghost’s revelation? Briefly explain. The ghosts revelation is that Claudius murdered him while he slept in the orchard. Hamlet is angry and shouts that he knew Claudius was shady and had done something like that. Hamlet responds to the ghost by vowing to avenge the murder and kill Claudius.
Describe the opening scene of Act II involving Polonius and Reynaldo. Be sure to explain the significance of the scene. What major theme might this support? Explain. Polonius and Reynaldo are speaking about Laertes. Polonius wants Reynaldo to go to Paris to spy on Laertes to make sure he’s doing what Polonius told him to do and acting right. This is significant because Polonius was very supportive and proud of Laertes, giving him great advice and encouraging him to go to Paris, but now it seems like Polonius doesn’t trust Laertes and feels the need to check up on him. A major theme this might support is people not being what they seem; intrigue and spying; hypocrites and two-faced people.
What is the significance of the meeting between the royal couple and Rosencrantz and Guildenstern? Explain. What major theme might this support? Explain. The significance of the meeting between the royal couple and Rosencrantz and Guildenstern is the fact that Claudius is using Hamlet’s childhood friends to find out what’s wrong with him instead of just confronting Hamlet, further supporting the theme of intrigue and back-stabbing.
Identify the speaker, situation, and meaning: “…what is this quintessence of dust?” Speaker is Hamlet; situation is when he’s talking to Rosencrantz and Guildenstern about what’s bothering him; the meaning has to do with Hamlet’s reflections on the meaning of life and death as he’s still digesting his father’s murder.
Identify the speaker, situation, and meaning: “I doubt it is no other but the main, his father’s death and our o’erhasty marriage.” Speaker is Gertrude; situation is when she and Claudius are speaking about what’s bothering Hamlet; the meaning is Gertrude knows the reason for Hamlet’s behavior is that he’s upset over his father’s death and the fact that his mother remarried so quickly, and to his uncle.
What does Hamlet say he will use to “catch the conscience of the king?” Hamlet says he will use the play to catch the conscious of the king.
In Hamlet’s “To be, or not to be: That is the question” soliloquy, what arguments, pro and con, does Hamlet make about this question? List if necessary, briefly explain. Pro: killing yourself puts an end to all the suffering of life and all of the junk we have to deal with. Also, killing yourself takes back control of your life because you chose when it ends. Con: we don’t really know what happens after death, so killing ourselves is a huge gamble, Better the evil you know that the evil you don’t know.
Why does Hamlet decide not to kill Claudius when he sees him in Act III, Scene 3, just after the play within the play? Explain. Hamlet decides not to kill Claudius because Claudius is praying. If Hamlet kills Claudius while Claudius is praying then Claudius will go to heaven while Hamlet’s dad suffers in purgatory. To get true revenge, Hamlet has to ensure that Claudius suffers.
Briefly describe the bedroom scene involving Hamlet and his mother. What is significant about this scene? (Describe characters, their dialogue, and their reactions. Who dies? Why? Who appears? Why? What requests does Hamlet make of his mother while in her room? Significance?) In the bedroom scene, Hamlet tells Gertrude everything he’s been feeling and thinking. He goes after her for being a whor and disrespecting his father. The ghost appears, but this time only Hamlet can see and hear him. What’s more, the ghost appears at the wrong time, in the wrong place, and enters and exits out the door suggesting that the ghost this time isn’t real, and Hamlet has gone crazy. Hamlet also asks his mother to stop having sex with Claudius, suggesting an Oedipal situation. Additionally, Polonius, who has been hiding behind a tapestry, dies when Hamlet hears him, assumes it’s Claudius, and stabs the tapestry with his sword. Hamlet tells Polonius’ corpse that he got what he deserved for being so nosy and sticking his face in things that don’t concern him.
In his encounter with Ophelia, does Hamlet demonstrate his earlier conviction, “Frailty, thy name is woman?” Explain. Yes because he basically slams her for being a pawn to her father. He tells her it’s better for her to become a nun and stay away from men because as a woman she will become a whor anyway. He has a very low opinion of women, projecting Gertrude onto Ophelia.
What step does the King take to rid himself of Hamlet? Explain. Claudius sets up the trip to England to get Hamlet out of Denmark. Claudius believes Hamlet will calm down if he’s away from Denmark and the constant reminders about his father and mother.
Why is Fortinbras’s army on the march? Destination? What is Hamlet’s reaction to this encounter with Fortinbras’s army? Explain. Fortinbras’ army is on the march to Poland to fight for some land. Hamlet thinks it’s lame to risk soldiers on a piece of land that seems insignificant, but he also admires and respects Fortinbras for going after what he wants. It reminds Hamlet of his own shortcoming in not avenging his father’s murder.
Why does Claudius not put the “strong law” on Hamlet for Polonius’s death? Because the people love Hamlet, and Gertrude loves Hamlet. Claudius doesn’t want to risk angering the people and possibly losing the crown, and he doesn’t want to hurt Gertrude by punishing her son.
Identify speaker, situation, and significance: “To cut his throat I’ th’ church.” Speaker: Laertes. Situation: Speaking with Claudius about killing Hamlet in revenge for Hamlet killing Polonius. Significance: Laertes is so bent on revenge and killing Hamlet that he will even kill Hamlet in a church. Laertes will violate the sanctity of the church to get his revenge, something Hamlet wasn’t willing to do when Claudius was praying.
How is Hamlet kept in the readers’ and audience’s mind even when he is off stage?. Hamlet is kept in our minds even when he’s off stage by all of the other players constantly talking about him and referring to him.
What is Claudius’s solution for everything? Explain. Claudius’s solution for everything is to kill it. He murders his brother to take the thrown, and not he will have Hamlet murdered to get rid of him.
In Act IV, Hamlet’s first line is simply, “Safely stowed.” To what is he referring? Explain. Polonius’s body
Gertrude is most loyal to whom in Act IV? Explain. Claudius. She snitches on Hamlet to Claudius about Hamlet killing Polonius, and she tells Claudius that Hamlet is out of control crazy. She supports Claudius’s decision to send Hamlet to England.
What dramatic purpose is served by starting Act V with the graveyard scene? Explain. Comic relief, foreshadowing of future events.
What does Hamlet come to suggest about life as he examines the skull in the graveyard? Explain. Life ends the same way for all of us. It doesn’t matter how lowly or how high standing you are because in the end we all become bones. He also comments on death silencing everyone, and no matter how great you were in life, it will be forgotten when you die.
What does Hamlet suggest about his life’s philosophy when he responds to Horatio’s suggestion that Hamlet withdraw from the duel with Laertes? Explain. Hamlet leaves the outcome up to God, suggesting that Hamlet’s philosophy is what will be will be – it is already predetermined by God. It is finally at this point that Hamlet leaves everything up to God which he should have done from the beginning when the ghost appeared.
Just before he dies, whom does Hamlet ask to tell his story? Horatio
What news do the ambassadors bring from England? That Rosencrantz and Guildenstern are dead as the letter requested
In the few minutes that Hamlet is technically the King of Denmark, what does he accomplish? Name Fortinbras the new king and ask Horatio to tell his story
The appearance of the ghost in Act I appears at 1:00 AM at the watch. Shows something is wrong
Hamlet’s treatment of his mother (Oedipal Complex) Treats her poorly. Criticizes for quick marriage. Probably due to jealousy (oedipal complex)
Claudius’ speech in Act 1, Scene 2 Hamlet is still upset and is mourning his father’s death. Claudius tells him that it is okay to mourn, but he has to get over it because everyone dies eventually.
Polonius’ speech to Laertes Polonius tells Laertes to not say what he thinks and to not act too quickly. He also says to hold onto his friends. He also says to not be too quick to pick a fight and to hear everyones opinion. He also says to be true to himself. This is significant because it is some of the only intelligent things Polonius does/say. It is also significant because Laertes doesn’t end up doing most of these.
The dialogue between the ghost and Hamlet (Act I, Scene 5) Horatio and Marcellus take Hamlet to the wall and the ghost appears.The ghost tells him that he was killed by Claudius. Hamlet is not surprised. The ghost says to avenge him, leave gertrude alone, and remember him
Hamlet and Ophelia’s interaction (the times we see them together) Hamlet and Ophelia have feelings for each other. Hamlet warns ophelia that he will eventually go crazy but he still loves her. Hamlet then proceeds to talk down to Ohpelia at the play. He basically calls her a whor and tells her that she should go to a nunnery.
Hamlet’s To Be or Not To Be speech In Hamlet’s speech, he is considering suicide. He believes that it is good because he can just get rid of all of his issues and struggles, but it is bad because we are unsure of what happens after death.
Hamlet’s speech to Horatio (Act 3, Scene 2)
Claudius’ confession and Hamlet’s response to it
Gertrude’s Bedroom scene (Polonius’ death and the appearance of the ghost) Polonius tells Gertrude to talk to Hamlet one more time to see what is wrong. Polonius hides behind the tapestry. Gertrude thinks Hamlet is going to kill her and Polonius shouts from behind the tapestry. Hamlet kills polonius unknowingly. Hamlet then criticizes his mother for marrying Claudius. The ghost appears and Hamlet thinks its because he has strayed from his mission. Hamlet then tells Gertrude to not have sex with claudius. This is significant because: 1. Hamlet is doing what the ghost tells him not to do 2. Hamlet is telling Gertrude to do something she cannot do 3. The ghose does not appear at his usual time and place. (could infer that it is Hamlet’s imagination)
Claudius’ plans for Hamlet and how Hamlet turns the tables (both with the trip to England and the poisoned wine) Claudius believes hamlet is getting too wild. He plans to send Hamlet to get executed in England. Hamlet is sailing to England and finds the letter that instructs his execution. Hamlet then writes a new letter that instructs the execution of Rosencrantz and Guildenstern. With the wine, Claudius uses it as a backup plan in case the poisoned sword didn’t kill him. Hamlet refuses the drink, and then makes Claudius drink it.
Laertes’ reaction to his father’s death and Ophelia’s suicide When Laertes hears about Polonius’ death, he is infuriated. He leads a rebellion due to the lack of details he was given about the death. When Claudius reveals it was Hamlet who killed him, Laertes wants to get revenge. He becomes anxious to kill him. He is also angered and saddened by ophelia’s death because he believes Hamlet is responsible. This is foolish of Laertes. He is so caught up in his emotions that he becomes blind sighted. He refuses to forgive Hamlet when given the chance, which could have prevented several deaths, including his own.
The graveyard scene The graveyard seen takes place during Ophelia’s death. It acts as comic relief and foreshadowing. Gertrude is sad, but yet she wanted nothing to do with Ophelia and didn’t want to see her. Laertes is upset and goes into the grave. Hamlet then comes and wants to outdo Laertes and then they fight in the grave.
The duel scene and the deaths of everyone Laertes has the poisoned sword. They start to fence. Gertrude offers Hamlet the poisoned wine but he refuses. Gertrude refuses to listen to Claudius and drinks the poison. Laertes cuts Hamet. They get in a fight and accidentally switch swords. Hamlet cuts Laertes. Gertrude dies. Laertes confesses to everything and apologizes. Laertes reveals that everything was Claudius’ fault. Hamlet wounds Claudius and forces him to drink the poison.
Fortinbras’ entrance at the end of the play Everyone hears Fortinbras coming. Hamlet names Fortinbras king of Denmark and tells Horatio to tell his story.
The funerals