Hamlet Exam Review

What is Hamlet’s point in comparing Rosencrantz to a sponge? He absorbs everything the King says
Hamlet says that “a knavish speech sleeps in a foolish ear.” Given that knavish means dishonest, who is the knave and who is the fool? Claudius, Rosencrantz
At the beginning of the scene, what’s ironic about Claudius’s criticism of the Danish people?
According to Hamlet, why does he think worms are the most powerful when it comes to the food chain? They eat the kings
When Claudius asks Hamlet about the location of Polonius’s body, Hamlet says that Polonius is in “heaven. Send hither to see. If your messenger find him not there, seek him i’ th’ other place yourself.” What is Hamlet really saying to Claudius here? Go to hell
Why does Hamlet call Claudius “mother” instead of “father”? Mother and father are man and wife, and and wife is one flesh
Claudius has written a letter to the King of England. What is Claudius’s command? Kill Hamlet
What is Hamlet’s opinion of the battle about to be struck between Fortinbras and the Polish soldiers over an undesirable stretch of land? Impressive, respectable, commendable
Queen Gertrude doesn’t want to see Ophelia, but relents. Why? It would be good if she was spoken to so she won’t spread dangerous thoughts in evil minds
What are the two subjects of the songs Ophelia sings for Gertrude and Claudius? What does Claudius think has caused her mental illness? Her father and Hamlet; her father’s death, Laertes in France, and Hamlet’s rejection
Explain what happened while Hamlet was at sea, sailing to England. Had Rosencrantz/Guildenstern killed, sailed back to Norway with some pirates
What are the two reasons that Claudius gives to explain his inaction in punishing Hamlet? Laertes, Ophelia?
What sport is Laertes particularly good at? Fencing
Just in case the first plan doesn’t work, what is Claudius’s back-up plan? Poison his drink
What lie doe Claudius tell Gertrude at the end of this scene? What idea does this reinforce? He had to calm Laertes rage; rebellions might start again
At the beginning of the scene, two “clowns” or gravediggers, are talking about Ophelia’s death. Why is one of the gravediggers irritated that Ophelia will be given a Christian burial in the graveyard? She might have killed herself
Who was Yorick? What is his connection to Hamlet? Jester; his caregiver
How was Polonius wrong about his advice to Ophelia that Hamlet was out of her league/social class? Gertrude was thinking they’d get married
What is the priest’s attitude about giving Christian burial rights to Ophelia? What is Laertes’s response? He’s not fond of it; he wants more
What lead to Rosencrantz and Guildensterns’ demise? They tried to get Hamlet killed
How does his willingness to fight Laertes prove to us that Hamlet is ready to be a tragic hero? Laertes is a lot more skilled than he is at fencing
At what point does Gertrude realize Claudius’s treachery? Right after he drinks the poison/before her death
What is Laertes’s dying request of Hamlet? Forgive me and I forgive you
What is the means of Claudius’s death? Hamlet forces him to drink the poison
What is Hamlet’s dying request of Horatio? Tell Fortinbras he wants him to be the next king of Norway
What is Claudius’s reaction when he’s told of Polonius’s death? What does this show us about his feelings toward Polonius, one of his closest allies? “Oh heavy deed!”
When does King Claudius plan to launch Hamlet’s ship to England? Why the hurry? He’s a threat to everyone cause he’s mad
What unpleasant task does the King give to Roesncrantz and Guildenstern? Bring Polonius’s body to the chapel
Why can’t Claudius announce to everyone that Hamlet killed Polonius and have him put on trial? There would be a lot of backlash that would ultimately be worse

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