HAMLET, Act 1 Review

Hamlet Son of a murdered Danish king and nephew of present king (Claudius) Suffers mental anguish over death of his father, marriage of his mother to his uncle (and quite possibly suffers from an Oedipus complex) Torn by desire to enact revenge and his moral sense of right and wrong
Claudius King of Denmark, Hamlet’s uncle Becomes king after Hamlet’s father’s death Hamlet suspects him of murdering his father
Gertrude Queen of Denmark; Hamlet’s mother and widow of the former king Her marriage to Claudius so soon after her husband’s death causes Hamlet to be emotionally disturbed
Ophelia Daughter of Polonius Lost her mother at a very young age (possibly at birth) She is in love with Hamlet Driven mad by his rejection of her Manipulated and emotionally abused by the men in her life (brother, father, Hamlet)
Polonius Lord Chamberlain to King Claudius
Horatio Hamlet’s best friend Remains loyal to Hamlet throughout the play
Laertes Ophelia’s brother Hamlet’s foil
Rosencrantz and Guildenstern Hamlet’s friends from school They work as spies for the king Hamlet is quick to question their loyalty
Setting Most of the play takes place in Elsinore Castle in Denmark Some of the action takes place in a graveyard near Elsinore, a plain in Denmark, and a ship bound for England from Denmark
Themes Paralysis (Hamlet’s inability to act) Corruption based on inherited sin (“sins of the fathers”) Revenge vs. redemption Loyalty vs. betrayal Futility of life Madness beneath the mask of sanity
The 4 humors Blood- sanguine Phlegm- phlegmatic Yellow bile- choleric Black bile- melancholy
What season is it? Winter
Where are the guards? Outside of Castle Elsinore
Why are the guards nervous? They saw a ghost
Why does Horatio attempt to speak with the ghost? Because he’s scholarly
Who is attempting to invade Denmark? Norwegians
Why is the ghost wearing armor? He died and is now coming back to Earth to finish unfinished business
Who is the current king? Claudius
Why does Claudius send 2 messengers? Deliver papers to the ruler of Norway
Who asks permission to return to France? Laertes
Who gets permission to return to school and who does not? Laertes; Hamlet
In Hamlet’s first soliloquy, what does he compare? Mother to a sager
What does Horatio tell Hamlet? That the ghost looks like Hamlet’s father and he must see it for himself
What relationship do Hamlet and Ophelia have? Romantic
What does Laertes say to Ophelia about Hamlet? His love for her is only temporary because it isn’t true love; he wants her to guard her heart
What does Polonius advise Laertes? How to conduct himself in the world
What does Polonius say to Ophelia about Hamlet? He is not telling her the truth no matter how sweet he seems to be
When the scene opens, what’s going on? There’s a party in Castle Elsinore (Denmark)
What are Horatio and Marcellus doing at the party? They’re supporting Hamlet and being his good friend; they function as the voice of reason
Who does Hamlet threaten? Specifically Horatio, but everyone

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