Hamlet: Act I Study Guide with Terms

Define: Emulate to act like (mimic, copy actions of, challenge, compete, ditto)
Define: Esteem respect, admiration, appreciation, favour, honor
Define: Vanquish defeat soundly (bear down, conquer, subjugate)
Define: Portentous ominous warning, threatening, unfavourable
Define: Harbinger indication (augury, forerunner), declare arrival, predictor (to be an omen of)
Define: Malicious spiteful, nasty, hurtful, mischievous, unkind
Define: Hallowed holy, revered (anointed, divine, consecrated) (a. adored, worshiped, treasured)
What is the setting of Hamlet? Approx. 1000 A.D. late at night, winter, Denmark, sometime after midnight
Why has Horatio joined Marcellus and Bernardo in Act I? He joins because he is a nobleman and lends them the opportunity for the ghost to speak.
Why are the soldiers on watch in Act I? Because Norway, under Fortinbras Jr.’s control, will take back what they lost during the battle between Hamlet Sr. and Fortinbras
Name 5 things done by the State of Denmark in Act I: 1. Making them watch2. Casting cannons3. Shipwrights – forced to work4. War implements5. Working on Sunday / 24 hours
What are three things Horatio prompts the ghost to reveal? 1. If there is anything good for you or me, let me know2. If you know something that’ll happen to our country, hit me up bbg3. If there is treasure, let me know.
Why do Horatio and Marcellus decide to tell Hamlet what is happening? They know the ghost resembles Hamlet Sr. and if he will not to his son, then who will he speak to?
Define: mirth with great joy, amusement, or cheer
Define: dirge sad song, chant, grief, complaint, hymn
Define: petition appeal, plea, address, application
Define: obsequiousness false praise, compliments, adulation, applause
Define: obstinance strength of mind or will, backbone, decidedness, decisiveness,
Define: beseech beg, adjure, appeal
Define: truant absent, AWOL, astray
Define: countenance appearance, usually of the face, aspect, self-control, approval
What does King Claudius announce at the beginning of Scene 2? Announces the marriage to Hamlet Jr.’s mother
In Act 2, why does Claudius send Cornelius and Voltimona to Norway? To deliver a letter to Fortinbras’ uncle to stop Fortinbras’ subversive plan to attain the land his dead father lost to Halmet Sr.
According to Claudius, why should Hamlet not “…persevere in obstinate condolement?” Your Dad is already dead. He lost his father, his father lost his father, etc. It is not manly or kind to continue mourning the loss of your father. It is a crime against heaven. It shows you’re vulnerable and weak. Think of me as your new father and move on.
Why does Claudius want Hamlet to remain at court (at home)? Because, albeit strange circumstances, Claudius loves Gertrude and wants his “son” to do whatever she wants him to. She wants him to stay, so therefore he does as well.
From Scene 2, About how long has Hamlet’s father been dead? Approximately a month
Explain why Hamlet says, “Frailty, thy name is woman!” He is calling his mom weak. Within a month, she had already remarried; meaning in turn no time to mourn, grieve, etc. about the death of her former husband. According to Hamlet Jr., she has “no fortitude nor backbone”.
Define: prodigal wasteful, luxurious person who spends a lot
Define: imminent at hand, on the way, forthcoming, brewing
Define: dalliance dawdling love affair or fling
Define: grapple grab, wrestle (confront, contend, clutch)
Define: perilous dangerous, delicate, treacherous
Why does Laertes warn his sister Ophelia not to place too much hope in Hamlet’s attentions to her? Because although Hamlet may seem courteous and chivalrous towards her, it could put her reputation at risk if anything were to happen (such as a romantic “fling”, etc.) There is a lot to lose for a woman.
What does Laertes say must govern Hamlet’s marriage choice? Whatever is best for the state; he may have to marry a foreign queen in order to improve Denmark’s relations with another country or state.
In Lines 53-80, Polonius gives a great deal of advice to his son Laertes. In this speech, Polonius covers many items. Summarize them. 1. Don’t say what you’re thinking2. Don;t be too quick to act on what you think.3. Be friendly to people, but don’t overdo it.4. Once you’ve tested out your friends & found them trustworthy, hold on to them.5. Din’t waste your time getting too close to new guys that you meet.6. Don’t be quick to pick a fight, but if you’re in one, “hold your own”.7. Listen to everyone, but talk to few. 8. Hear everyone’s opinion, reserve your judgement.9. Spend lots on clothes – quality, not gaudy (clothes make the man in France).10. Don’t borrow or lend money – you’ll lose it AND the friendship. 11. Be true to yourself, above all. You know you best. Follow your dreams.
What are Polonius’ instructions to Ophelia about Hamlet? He only wants you to… “fulfill his desires.” He’s using you and you’ll be forgotten by him in to time. Stay away from him.
Define: canonized sanctify, idolize
Define: interred to be placed in a grave or tomb with funeral rites
Define: fathom understand, comprehend, make sense of
Define: petty of little importance; trivial. small-minded concern for individual manners (i.e. wanting to get revenge, etc.)
Why does Hamlet denounce the custom of drunken celebration? He claims it is a problem that mankind has, one flaw could be the ruin of a person. It only takes one thing to change your life.
What happens at the end of scene 4? Hamlet follows the ghost. The guards state their disapproval of him following but he proceeds anyways; despite the fact that their heads could be on the chopping block if anything were to happen. One of the guards claim that, “Something is wrong in the State of Denmark”
Define: apt suitable or appropriate behaviour (suitable, fitting, appropriate) – suitable in the circumstances. A tendency to do something – inclination
Define: enmity the state of being actively opposed or hostile to someone or something (hatred, animosity, disgust)
Define: disposition personal temperament, arrangement/management of a situation. (inclination or tendency, way something is placed or arranged, dealing with something as one pleases)
What does the ghost reveal about the manner of his death? He was murdered by a potion administered through his ear by Claudius that caused his blood to clot, leading to a painful death. The ghost (presumably Hamlet) was killed by his brother, Claudius.
What tasks do the ghost tell Hamlet to undertake? “Remember me – get revenge, and in taking revenge, other tasks such as confronting the king, mother, etc. As well as swearing the guards & himself to secrecy.
What does Hamlet imply he may decide to do? During the swearing, he announces that he may preform crazy acts with “antic disposition” in order to keep others from knowing what he is really planning. While pretending to be mad, Hamlet is buying time. He is awaiting the right moment to avenge his father’s death.

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