Hamlet Act 2 Study Guide

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.
What is Hamlet’s mood as he describes it in lines 283-298? ???
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 Jephthah to Polonius 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 actor can conjure up emotions and tears from fiction while he can’t and he is living actual Hell.
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.

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