Poison -The coward’s way to kill-Poured into the ear of the King to kill him-Symbolic of how words, which go in the ear, are poisonous and used as weapons as much as anything else.
Dagger -Used to kill-Used in reference to words; words are daggers that can be used as a fatal weapon.
Skull -As Hamlet speaks to the skull of the king’s former jester, he fixates on death’s inevitability and the disintegration of the body.-Hamlet realizes he will soon lose all he is and wonders if life was worth living. The skull is a physical representation of this feeling.
Gardens/Flowers -Denmark is an unweeded garden-“There’s rosemary, that’s for remembrance.Pray you, love, remember. And there is pansies, that’s for thoughts. […] There’s fennel for you, and columbines. There’s rue for you; and here’s some for me; we may call it herb of grace o’ Sundays. You must wear your rue with a difference. There’s a daisy. I would give you some violets, but they withered all when my father died” (4.5.199-201, 204-209).
Ears -Claudius pours poison into King Hamlet’s ear to kill him.-Poison poured in the ear is symbolism – words we hear can poison our minds; words are far more dangerous than poison. Ears are where we take those words in
Words -Words are used to communicate ideas but can also be used to distort the truth, manipulate people, and serve as tools for gaining/losing power. -Poison = words-Words are far more dangerous than daggers & poison.-Words can be describe as daggers because they can be hurtful or even fatal.
Death -Throughout the play, hamlet considers death from many different perspectives. -Hamlet repeatedly contemplates suicide. -Death is the great mystery. This manifests itself in what happens to someone when they kill themselves
Life Is life that is insignificant worth living? It is better to take action of one’s life than to be indecisive and to waste life.
Love -Underlying theme-The love between child and parent; juxtaposition in the role of a parent in a child’s life, seen in Ophelia and Laertes and Hamlet Jr. and Sr.-Love between Hamlet and Ophelia
What is Ophelia’s character flaw? She doesn’t speak up for herself
What is Hamlet’s character flaw? His inability to act
What is Claudius’ character flaw? His lack of remorse for his actions.
What is Gertrude’s character flaw? She is either extremely naive about what is going on around her or she was extremely involved and is absolutely evil.
What is Polonius’ character flaw? -Loyal to a fault; his loyalty ends up getting him killed-Polonius’ loyalty and Horatio’s loyalty are often juxtaposed-His pride & arrogance get him into trouble
What is Horatio’s character flaw? Blind loyalty to Hamlet, won’t interfere and tell his friend to make a decision.
What are Rosencrantz and Guildenstern’s character flaws? -Traitor to their friend-Rosencrantz and Guildenstern are both flawed by being the Everyman kind of people
Common Character Foils -Hamlet v. Fortinbras-Hamlet’s inaction v. Ophelia, and Laertes’ action-Claudius v. King Hamlet
How are Hamlet & Claudius character foils? -Hamlet hates deception; Claudius is really good at it.-Hamlet values honesty, truthfulness, and fidelity; Claudius is one of the biggest and most successful fakers. -Claudius is good at politics and managing people; Hamlet doesn’t seem to be very good at this at all.
How are Hamlet, Fortinbras, and Laertes character foils? -Both Fortinbras and Laertes also need to avenge their fathers, like Hamlet-Fortinbras tries to wage a war against Denmark, while Laertes runs home from Paris to stage a revolution in his dead father’s honor.
How are Polonius & Ophelia character foils for Gertrude & hamlet? Polonius’ misunderstanding of Ophelia reflects Gertrude’s misunderstanding of Hamlet
Ambiguities: Act 3 Scene 1 -Does Hamlet know that Polonius and/or Claudius are listening in on his “to be or not to be” soliloquy?-Rosencrantz & Guildenstern’s allegiance-Ophelia & Gertrude’s involvement in all that is going on (King Hamlet’s murder, mainly.)
Ambiguities: Act 3 Scene 4 -Oedipal Complex-How involved was Gertrude in king hamlet’s murder?
Ambiguities: Act 4 Scene 5 Is Ophelia actually crazy?
Ambiguities: Act 4 Scene 7 Ophelia’s death: suicide, accidental, or murder?

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