Hamlet, Acts IV and V

External conflict External conflict is simply a conflict between two outside forces
four types of external conflict: • a struggle against another person• a struggle against society• a struggle against nature• a struggle against fate or destiny
Character development Character development is the way a character changes from the beginning of a story to the end
Complex characters Complex characters such as Hamlet are known as round characters. Round characters are multifaceted. They rarely have just one source of motivation and often experience internal conflict.
flat characters. Not all characters are complex, or round. Relatively uncomplicated characters are called flat characters.
Hamartia Hamartia is the misstep, poor judgment, or error through which the fortune of a hero in a tragedy is reversed. It is not exactly a character flaw but the result of a character flaw.
Which of these characteristics could be considered Hamlet’s tragic flaw?1. indecisiveness2. morality3. obedience4. greed 1. IndecisivenessExplanation:Hamlet had several opportunities to avenge his father’s death by killing Claudius, but he lost out on them because of his indecisiveness. If he had killed Claudius at an early opportunity, Claudius would not have been able to carry out his scheme to have Laertes kill Hamlet in a duel.
Motif A motif is an idea that is repeated throughout a play and helps to develop a theme.
In what way does the following line from Hamlet describe one of the main themes of Shakespeare’s play?Something’s rotten in the state of Denmark.1. Actions have complex consequences.2. It is impossible to be certain of anything.3. The country is sick, similar to a diseased body.4. Incest and incestuous desire are immoral. 3. The country is sick, similar to a diseased body.Explanation:This line encapsulates the idea that Hamlet’s world is riddled with political corruption, and his uncle’s taking over the throne by murdering his own brother is at the heart of that corruption. The word “rotten” is used metaphorically to apply the state of rot of a living being to that of a political body.
foil character a foil is a character who serves as a contrast to the protagonist or another important character
Next, read act IV of Hamlet, and then answer the following question.In literature, a foil is a character who serves as a contrast to the protagonist or another important character. This contrast often helps to emphasize certain traits in the central character. How does Laertes serve as a foil for Hamlet in act IV, scene V, of Hamlet? The fathers of both Laertes and Hamlet have been murdered. Yet the young men’s reactions to these events stand in sharp contrast. Laertes reacts immediately to the news of his father’s death. In act IV, scene V, he breaks into Claudius’s castle and confronts him. However, Claudius eventually convinces Laertes that he did not kill Laertes’s father. Laertes gets manipulated rather easily and complies with Claudius.Hamlet, on the other hand, chooses to procrastinate and dwell on the murder, even testing his uncle’s guilt through a play. While Laertes is easily swayed into believing Claudius is innocent, Hamlet is harder to convince. Laertes seems rather rash in his decision-making. This character trait allows Claudius to control him, eventually leading to his downfall. In contrast, Hamlet is slow to act and delays the revenge he seeks; his indecision also leads to his downfall.
Read act V of Hamlet and answer the following question. How do the scene with the gravediggers and Hamlet’s scene with Yorick’s skull illustrate the broader theme of Hamlet’s preoccupation with death? The scene with the gravediggers illustrates the play’s broader theme of mortality. In the first part of the scene, two gravediggers discuss the burial of people who have taken their own lives and how the Christian system is flawed in disallowing suicide. Hamlet and Horatio then look at the remains of the many dead bodies and reflect on the certainty of death for all people. In death, we are all the same. For example, a woman may go to great ends to beautify herself in life, but her remains after death may look like any ordinary person’s remains. Hamlet and Horatio also discuss how a person’s greatness ceases to matter when he or she dies. Hamlet refers to Alexander the Great being buried and becoming one with the sand.Yorick’s skull acts as a symbol of death. With the skull in his hand, Hamlet reminisces about the time he spent with Yorick. Now, in death, Yorick is nothing more than a pile of bones, with no wit, humor, or intelligence. Earlier in the play, Hamlet spent much time mulling over death and wondering what came after death. Yorick’s skull answers that question for Hamlet. The skull and the graveyard directly contrast with the life Hamlet led in the castle. In Elsinore, Hamlet’s mother and Claudius tried to make him forget about his father’s death. In the graveyard, he has the freedom to contemplate death.
The table lists the major characters in William Shakespeare’s Hamlet. Briefly describe each character in the table. Make sure you note the relationships between the characters.HamletGertrudeClaudius Polonius Ophelia Laertes Hamlet: Hamlet is the protagonist of the play. He is the only son of King Hamlet and Queen Gertrude, and the nephew of Claudius. He is sarcastic, bitter, cynical, and introspective. He is very indecisive and spends much of his time analyzing his motives, choices, and actions. Hamlet’s hatred of women is evident in his interactions with his mother and Ophelia. For much of the play, Hamlet seems to be obsessed with thoughts of revenge and suicide.Gertrude: Gertrude is Hamlet’s mother and formerly King Hamlet’s wife. After King Hamlet’s death, she marries his brother, Claudius. She is very fond of her son, and his pretended madness hurts her deeply. However, she is not trustworthy: she is quick to remarry after her husband’s death, even though she swore to him that she would not marry again.Claudius: Claudius is King Hamlet’s brother and Hamlet’s uncle. He marries his brother’s wife, Gertrude, after secretly murdering King Hamlet. Claudius is a shrewd and ruthless schemer. He will not hesitate to kill his own relatives to ensure his safety (as revealed by his plot to kill Hamlet) or for the sake of power (as his murder of his brother shows).Polonius: Polonius is a lord in the king’s court. He is the father of Laertes and Ophelia. He is a rather proud man. He is quick to jump to conclusions, as is evident in his belief that Hamlet’s madness was caused by his unrequited love for Ophelia. He is mistakenly killed by Hamlet.Ophelia: Ophelia is the beautiful daughter of Polonius and is in love with Prince Hamlet. She is very obedient to her father and brother. However, she is unable to deal with Hamlet’s rejection of her and goes mad following her father’s death.Laertes: Laertes is the son of Polonius and brother of Ophelia. He cares for his sister and looks after her. At Ophelia’s funeral, Laertes jumps into his sister’s grave to be with her. In contrast to Hamlet, Laertes is rash and easily manipulated. He makes decisions quickly, sometimes without weighing all the options.
Examine the theme of moral corruption in Hamlet and write an essay of about 200 words on the subject. Be sure to include examples of moments in the play when this theme is apparent, and state why it is one of the central themes of the play. Moral corruption is evident throughout Hamlet. The statement “Something is rotten in the state of Denmark,” made by Marcellus in act I scene IV, sums up the moral corruption in the play.You may have used these other instances of moral corruption in your answer:Claudius eyeing his brother’s wife, Queen GertrudeClaudius murdering his brotherClaudius marrying his brother’s wifeClaudius and Gertrude attempting to convince Hamlet to move on from his father’s death and accept his stepfatherPolonius’ treatment of Ophelia and his willingness to do the bidding of ClaudiusPrince Hamlet plotting to kill his uncle ClaudiusPrince Hamlet abusing his mother and calling her promiscuousHamlet killing Polonius instead of ClaudiusClaudius ordering the king of England to put his nephew, Hamlet, to deathClaudius poisoning Laertes’s sword before his duel with HamletHamlet stabbing Claudiusthe death of all the morally corrupt characters of the play (Hamlet, Polonius, Laertes, Claudius, Gertrude, and even Rosencrantz and Guildenstern), which may mean that corruption will lead to deathYou may also have used quotes from the play similar to the one below, in which Hamlet laments his mother’s sudden marriage to his uncle:O God! a beast that wants discourse of reason,Would have mourn’d longer—married with my uncle,My father’s brother…
Many interpretations of Hamlet exist, from long to short, from serious to humorous, and each calls attention to different aspects of the work. Watch this one-minute video, which has a decidedly comic tone. Describe what elements of the play the video captures, as well as the ones it omits. This video presents only the most important points in the plot:the appearance of Hamlet’s father’s ghostClaudius’s efforts to determine the cause of Hamlet’s strange behaviorHamlet’s soliloquyHamlet’s rudeness to Ophelia, which leaves her heart-brokenthe staging of the play, after which Hamlet is certain of Claudius’s guiltthe scene in which Hamlet loses an opportunity to kill Claudiusthe scene in which Hamlet rebukes his mother and then accidentally kills PoloniusClaudius’s plan to kill Hamlet, which he shares with Laertesthe scene in the graveyard, in which Hamlet holds Yorick’s skullthe scuffle between Laertes and Hamlet when Ophelia is buriedthe duel between Laertes and Hamlet, followed by Gertrude’s death, Hamlet’s killing of Claudius, and Hamlet’s deathThe quick succession of events in this video seems to suggest that the sequence of events in the play is rather unlikely.The major themes of the play, such as appearance versus reality, moral corruption, the complexity of action, and the mystery of death are not evident in this adaptation. Other important aspects of the play that the video does not address are the question of Hamlet’s madness, his internal conflict, and his inaction. The video ignores characterization in Hamlet and the treatment of philosophical ideas throughout the play.
Plot exposition, rising action, climax, falling action, resolution
Use your knowledge of the elements of a plot diagram and your reading of Hamlet to fill in the play’s major plot elements in the table. exposition: King Hamlet is dead, and Denmark is in a tense, uncertain state. The play opens on a scene that is dark and spooky. The guards are obviously nervous, and they are shaken when the ghost appears.inciting incident: King Hamlet’s ghost appears to Hamlet. The ghost tells Hamlet that he was murdered by Claudius and asks Hamlet to avenge his death.rising action: Many events are included in the rising action. Hamlet contrives a plan to prove Claudius is guilty of murdering King Hamlet. Hamlet begins to act like he is insane. He rejects Ophelia. He decides to show his uncle a play that is similar to how Claudius supposedly killed King Hamlet.climax: The play in the castle proves Claudius’ guilt. However, instead of killing Claudius, Hamlet mistakenly kills Polonius in Gertrude’s room.falling action: Like the rising action, there are many events in the falling action. Hamlet is exiled, and his companions, Rosencrantz and Guildenstern, have been ordered to make sure he is killed. Hamlet contrives to have Rosencrantz and Guildenstern killed instead. Hamlet plots his return to Elsinore Castle to kill Claudius. Ophelia kills herself. Laertes swears he will have revenge. Claudius sets up a duel between Laertes and Hamlet in which Hamlet will be killed.resolution: Hamlet stabs Claudius fatally with the poisoned sword. Laertes, Hamlet, Gertrude, and Claudius all die. Hamlet says that he wishes Fortinbras to be king of Denmark. Fortinbras enters and takes the throne.
It is often debated at what exact point the play Hamlet reaches its climax. Some people believe that the climax is the play that Hamlet presents to test his uncle. Others believe that it is the moment when Hamlet kills Polonius. Take a stance on which of these events you feel is the true climax and support your answer with details from the text. If you feel the climax occurs when the play that Hamlet devises proves Claudius’ guilt, then you should include the following points:Hamlet contemplates killing his uncle.Hamlet does not go through with the murder, as he is unsure of his uncle’s guilt.Hamlet tests his uncle’s guilt through a reenactment of the murder of King Hamlet.Claudius reacts to the scene in which the King’s murder is performed.Hamlet finally realizes that his uncle is guilty, and from this point on, Hamlet puts to rest any doubts he had about his uncle’s innocence.As Hamlet’s doubts are put to rest at this moment, this point in the play can be considered the climax.If you feel the climax occurs when Hamlet stabs Polonius, then you should include the following points:Hamlet contemplates killing his uncle.Hamlet does not go through with the murder as he is unsure of his uncle’s guilt.Hamlet spends much time contemplating whether to kill his uncle and procrastinates over the deed.He doesn’t act and only tests his uncle’s innocence through the performance of a play in which a king is murdered in a manner similar to King Hamlet’s murder.Even after Claudius appears guilty, Hamlet refuses to kill his praying uncle and postpones the deed even further.In Queen Gertrude’s room, Hamlet believes Claudius is hiding behind the tapestry and impulsively stabs his sword in that direction, killing Polonius.Because Hamlet finally acts upon his desire to kill Claudius, this point in the play can be considered the climax.

You Might Also Like