Hamlet Act 2

Brevity is the soul of wit… PoloniusKing and QueenP is telling K&Q that H is crazya good piece of writing should be brief and concise
More matter, with less art Queen GertrudePoloniusP is rambling to K&Q that H is crazy”get the the point”
Though this be madness, yet there is method in’t. PoloniusHimselfwhile talking with Hamletsuggesting Hamlet is only pretending his insanity
What a piece of work is a man! HamletRosencrantzthe first time R&G talk with HMan is the noblest of all God’s pieces of work
…there is nothing either good or bad but thinking makes it so HamletRosecrantz and GuildensternHamlet sees Denmark as his prisona person decides whether something is good or bad
I am but mad north-north-west…I know a hawk from a handsaw. HamletRosecrantz and Guildensterntelling R&G that everyone thinks hes crazyhe is not always crazy, he sometimes knows whats happening
What’s Hebuca to him, or he to Hebuca / That he should weep for her? HamletTo himselfafter the actor recited a piece of the play for him with full emotionH wonders how the actor could express the emotion when the actor has no connection to Hebuca
For murder, though it have no tongue, will speak / with most miraculous organ. HamletHimselfthinking to himself how to reveal Claudius’ actionsfacial expressions reveal the truth
… the devil hath power T’assume a pleasing shape Hamlet Himselfthinking about the devil/ghost’s honestyit is possible that the ghost was actually the devil in disguise trying to trick him
The play’s the thing / Wherin I’ll catch the conscience of the King HamletHimselfafter he devised his strategy to find the truththe play will show on Claudius’ face whether he killed the king or not
Why does Polonius send Reynaldo to Paris? to spy on Laertes and gather information
Briefly describe the how Polonius suggests that “by indirection” Reynaldo might seek “directions out.” That is, how does Polonius suggest that Reynaldo gather information? by making up stories about Laertes so people who do know him will either agree/disagree and tell him the truth
What has frightened Ophelia? Hamlet came into her room looking like he came back from hell
How was Hamlet dressed? no hat, unbuttoned shirt, dirty stockings around his ankles
What did Ophelia think was wrong with Hamlet? she is afraid Hamlet has gone mad due to his love for her
How does Polonius explain this incident? Hamlet is love crazed
Why does Polonius set off to see the King? to tell the king about Hamlet’s “condition”
Why has the King sent for Rosencrantz and Guildenstern? to spend time with Hamlet and to see if they can get him back to normal/observe what is wrong with him
Compare the beginning of the scene with the beginning of the previous scene. How are they alike? people asking to spy on people
What reward does the Queen suggest that Rosencrantz and Guildenstern may receive? (lines 25-6) they will be “thanked royally”
From line 43, does Claudius seem to value Polonius or to disregard him? value — says something about bringing only good news
To what causes does Gertrude attribute Hamlet’s “distemper” or “lunacy”? his father’s death or her marriage to Claudius
Old Norway thought young Fortinbras was preparing to fight the ________? Polish
Fortinbras, however, was actually preparing to fight____________? Denmark
What is old Norway’s state of age, health and power? old and sick but still very powerful
What request does Norway make of Denmark? to march their troops through Denmark on the way to Poland
What is Polonius’ definition of madness? mad is mad
What does Gertrude mean when she says “more matter with less art”? get to the point
To what does Polonius attribute Hamlet’s madness? Ophelia shut him out, driving him mad
Compare Hamlet’s conversation with Rosencrantz and Guildenstern with his preceding conversation with Polonius. What do you conclude about Hamlet’s madness? he does not act crazy around them
Why does Hamlet suspect that Rosencrantz and Guildenstern were sent for? to spy on him to determine his sanity
Hamlet is familiar with the players Rosencrantz mentions in line 301+. Why are these players traveling? they don’t get enough business in the city
According to Hamlet, what do those who used to make faces at Claudius do now? beg to paint portraits of him
Why does Polonius consider it significant that Hamlet brings of Jephthah and his daughter? Is he correct? he compares J to P because of their daughters — yes
What concerns does Hamlet have about the boy-actress’ voice and height? they will grow too old for their parts
Hamlet asks the player to speak a speech from a play . What is the subject of that speech, which Hamlet begins and the Player King completes, and why is it significant? What does it indicate about Hamlet’s values and state of mind? murder
What play does Hamlet ask the players to perform on the following night? What does he want added? The Murder of Gonzago, a speech of 12-16 lines he composed
What contrast does Hamlet make between himself and the Player King? The Player King acts with lots of emotion while Hamlet, who is actually going through terrible circumstances is emotionless.
What is Hamlet’s plan “to catch the conscience of the king.”? have the actors perform the murder of his father
Why does he need proof that the ghost is honest? to assure that Claudius is the true killer
With what famous words does Act II end? Why is this couplet important? The play’s the thingWherein I’ll catch the conscience of the king — it shows Hamlet’s plan for the next scene
Polonius on Laertes being hard to control ‘he’s very wild’
Possible actions of Laertes that Polonius tells Reynaldo to spy on ‘drinking, fencing, swearing/ Quarrelling, drabbing’
Exchange between Polonius and Reynaldo revealing Polonius’s calculated way of speaking (routinely attempts rhetoric) ‘Where did I leave?”At ‘closes in the consequence”’closes in the consequence’. Ay, marry’
Ophelia describes in what way Hamlet had entered her chamber ‘As if he had been looked out of hell/ To speak of horrors’
What Ophelia tells Polonius that he told her to do with regard to Hamlet ‘repel his letters”denied/ His access to me’
Polonius’s ‘wisdom’ about what must be done in old age ‘By heaven it is as proper to our age/ To cast beyond ourselves in our opinions’
What Claudius calls the sudden change in Hamlet’s disposition ‘Hamlet’s trasformation’
Claudius keeps making reference to acting, performing and putting on a face to the rest of the world ‘Sith nor th’exterior nor the inward man/ Resembles that is was’
What R+G are instructed to do ‘glean,/ Whether aught, to us unknown, afflicts him thus’
Gertrude shows concern for Hamlet’s transformation ‘my too much changed son’
Brief interlude during scene when R+G are instructed by Claudius and Gertrude that gives a brief pretence on stability – the Norwegian Ambassadors have… ‘joyfully returned’
Polonius claims that speaking concisely is the basis of true wit ‘brevity is the soul of wit’
Polonius decides to send Ophelia to Hamlet. Language reiterates her being used as a pawn ‘I’ll loose my daughter to him’
Gertrude expresses more sympathy for Hamlet when he comes in with a book ‘the poor wretch comes reading’
Hamlet insults Polonius directly ‘you are a fishmonger’
Hamlet expresses the view that old men lack wit ‘a plentiful lack of wit’
Polonius says a line that reiterates the idea (unknown to him) that Hamlet is using his madness ‘method in the madness’
Hamlet compares Polonius to a child ‘that great baby you see there is not yet out of his swaddling clouts’
Rozencrantz on old men being like children ‘they say an old man is twice a child’
Hamlet notices R+G are hiding something – they cannot pretend and deceive like Hamlet can (he speaks in prose but with the movement of a soliloquy, perhaps a reflection of his disposition and his honesty in disclosing it) ‘there is a kind of confession in your looks’
Reveals to R+G ‘how weary, stale, flat and unprofitable’ the world seems to him ‘this goodly frame the earth seems to me a sterile promontory’
He cannot see the world’s beauty ‘How like a god! The beauty of the world’
Hamlet suggests he’s close to sanity but can still think clearly to some extent ‘I know a hawk from a handsaw’
Hamlet obsesses over appearance vs reality in the Hecuba soliloquy ‘but in fiction, in a dream of passion’
How can he cry over this woman when in reality she’s nothing to him! ‘what’s Hecuba to him, or he to Hecuba’
Examples of self-hatred and frustration at his own reluctance to act ‘Am I a coward?”But I am pigeon-liver’d and lack gall”What an ass am I!’
Suggestion that women (whores) are manipulative in the Hecuba soliloquy ‘must like a ***** unpack my heart with words’
In his burst of negativity he doubts the intentions of the ghost ‘the spirit that I have seen/ May be a devil’
Polonius “Though this be madness, yet there is method in it.”
Hamlet “The play’s the thing…”
Hamlet “What a piece of work is a man.”
Polonius “Mad for thy love.”
Hamlet “You are a fishmonger.”
Hamlet “Words, words, words.”
Hamlet “There is nothing either good or bad, but thinking makes it so.”
Rosencrantz and Guildenstern “We were sent for, my lord.”
Rosencrantz and Guildenstern “On Fortune’s cap, we are not the very button.”
Gertrude “More matter, less art.”
Hamlet “O, what a rogue and peasant slave am I.”
Ophelia “O my lord, my lord. I have been so affrighted.”
Polonius “Brevity is the soul of wit.”
perusal a careful examination, review
afflict to cause great suffering and distress
adhere to stick to something
lunacy insanity; madness
commission an instruction, command, or duty given to a person or group of people.
dominion control; rule; area of influence
brevity briefness
wit cleverness; quick humor
tediousness long and tiresome
“Your bait of falsehood…find directions out…” Polonius to Reynaldo: using lie as a bait fishes out the truth.
“My lord,…he comes before me.” Ophelia to Polonius: Ophelia is describing Hamlet’s distracted and maddened state.
“He falls to such… would draw it.” Ophelia to Polonius: Hamlet stares at Ophelia like how a painter draws a picture.
Come, go with me;…alflict our natures.” Polonius to Ophelia: Polonius believes Hamlet is acting crazy because of love. Love might make him self-destruct.
“I doubt it is…our o’erhasty marriage.” Queen to Claudius: the Queen believes the reason for Hamlet’s madness is the death of his father and their hasty marriage.
“Therefore, since brevity is the soul of wit…/I will be brief.” Polonius to King and Queen: Polonius says that wise people do not talk too much and are straight to the point yet he is the oppposite of this
More matter, with less art.” Queen to Polonius: the Queen asks Polonius to speak with more material and less flourish.
“Doubt thou the stars…doubt I love.” Polonius to King and Queen: in Hamlet’s letter, he descirbes that Ophelia may doubt natural phenomena but he should not doubt his love for her.
“For if the sun…god kissing carrion.” Hamlet to Polonius: Maggots were thought to be created by the sun. The quote echoes the idea that the sun can create new life.
“Though ths be sadness, yet there is method in’t.” Polonius to audience: Polonius comments on how Hamlet’s madness seems rational.
“How pregnant sometimes…be delivered of.” Polonius to audience: Hamlet’s madness leads to meaningful replies that sane people wouldn’t have a talent for.
“Why, then,…it is a prison.” Hamlet to Rosencrantz and Guildenstern: Hamlet is saying that things are not good or bad in itself, it is what the person’s conscience that makes it seem so. To him, Denmark is a prison.
“…this most excellent canopy,…congregation of vaopours.” Hamlet to Rosencrantz and Guildenstern: the sky is beautiful and decorated with golden sunlight yet Hamlet thinks it is disease-filled air.
“What a piece of work…you seem to say so.” Hamlet to Rosencrantz and Guildenstern: Hamlet describes how humans are beautiful intelligent beings and surpass all other animals, yet he believes they are nothing but dust. He is interested in neither women or men.
“I am but mad…hawk from handsaw.” Hamlet to Rosencrantz and Guildenstern: Hamlet is only mad sometimes and when he isn’t, he can distinguish one thing from another.
“O Jephthah,…treasure hadst thou!” Hamlet to Polonius: Hamlet is reminded of Polonius sacrificing his daughter Ophelia.
“Od’s bodykins,…is in your bounty.” Hamlet to Polonius: Hamlet orders Polonius to take care of the actors as he would for his honour and dignity.
“What’s Hecuba to him,…That I have.” Hamlet to self: the actor could peform more brilliantly if he had the motive Hamlet has.
“O, what a rogue and peasant slave I am!” Hamlet to self: Hamlet rebukes himself for being a low life.
“But I am pigeon liver’d,…With this salve’s offal.” – Hamlet to self: Hamlet berates himself for his cowardice.
“The play’s the thing…the conscience of the king.” Hamlet to self: Hamlet believes the play will reveal the truth about the King.
Mad for thy love Polonius
As you did command, I did repel his letters and denied his access to me Ophelia
Something have you heard of hamlets transformation King Claudius
But we both obey…to lay our service freely at your feet, to be commanded Guildenstern (about him and Rosencrants, to Claudius and Gertrude)
I have found the very cause of hamlets lunacy Polonius
Therefore, since brevity is the soul of wit. Polonius
You are a fishmonger… Then I would you were so honest a man. Hamlet
You cannot sir, take from me anything that I will more willingly part withal – except my life, except my life, except my life. Hamlet
Denmark’s a prison Hamlet
I have of late, but wherefore I know not, lost all my mirth Hamlet
I am but mad north north west. When the wind is southerly I know a hawk from a handsaw. Hamlet
You could, for a need, study a speech of some dozen of sixteen lines, which I would set down and insert in it, could you not? Hamlet (to first player)
What would he do, had he the motive and the cue for passion that I have Hamlet (aside)
Am I a coward Hamlet (aside)
The spirit that I have see may be the devil, and the devil Hath power to assume a pleasing shape. Hamlet (aside)
The plays the thing wherein I’ll catch the conscience of the King Hamlet (aside)
assay a test of a substance to determine its components
purport have the often specious (superficially plausible, but actually wrong) of being or intending
fetter a shackle for the ankles of feet
entreat ask for or request earnestly
vouchsafe grant in a condescending manner
gentry the most powerful members of a society
beseech ask for or request earnestly
liege a feudal lord entitled to allegiance and service
rebuke an act or expression of criticism and censure
expostulate reason with for the purpose of dissuasion
brevity the attribute of being brief
carrion the dead and rotting body of an animal; unfit for human food
contrive make or work out a plan for; devise
tedious so lacking in interest as to cause mental weariness
strumpet a promiscuous woman
mirth great merriment
promontory a point of high land that juts out into a body of water
firmament the sphere on which celestial bodies appear to be projected
paragon a perfect embodiment of a concept
gratis without payment
sere having lost all moisture
rapier a straight sword with a narrow blade and two edges
ducat formerly a gold coin of various European counties
appurtenance equipment consisting of miscellaneous articles
indict accuse formally of a crime
rheum a watery discharge from the mucous membranes
diadem an ornamental jeweled headdress signifying sovereignty
visage the appearance conveyed by a person’s face
offal viscera and trimmings of a butchered animal
rogue a deceitful and unreliable scoundrel
Your ________ of falsehood takes this carp of truth bait
So piteous in purport as if he had been loosed out of ________. Hell
His father’s death and our o’er ________ marriage. hasty
Since ___________ is the soul of wit and tediousness the limbs and outward flourishes I will be brief. brevity
More ___________, with less art. matter
This in obedience hath my _______________ shown me. daughter
As a man faithful and _________________. honourable
Denmark’s a _____________ prison
I could be bounded in a ________________ and count myself king of infinite space, were it not that I have bad dreams. nutshell
It appeareth nothing to me but a foul and ________________ congregation of vapours. pestilent
What a piece of work is ________. man
My uncle father and my aunt mother are _______________. deceived
Though this be madness, yet there is _______________ in it. method
I am mad but north-north west. I know a _________ from a handsaw. hawk
O what a rogue and ____________ slave I am! peasant
The ________’s the thing wherein I’ll catch the conscience of the King! play

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