Hamlet Oral Questions

1) Comment on the dialogue between Hamlet and Polonius throughout the play. What significance does it have in terms of Hamlet’s character development? Hamlet is continually disrespectful to Polonius in the play. Polonius is clearly not versed with dealing with such a flippant character as Hamlet. However, we must understand that Polonius’ hands are tied – he is, after all, dealing with the Claudius’s nephew – the former King’s son – or simply Prince Hamlet. Hamlet to Polonius: “You are a fishmonger.” Hamlet is insinuating that Polonius is procurer for his daughter, Ophelia. Polonius’ reply: “Not I, my lord.” Hamlet’s conversation with Polonius also reveals Hamlet’s cynical side – Hamlet remarks “To be honest, as this world goes, is to be one man picked out of 10 thousand.” Hamlet’s conversation does develop his facade – his “antic disposition.” Polonius’ aside to himself is revealing – “[Hamlet] is far gone, far gone.”Hamlet’s conversations with Polonius also convince Polonius that Hamlet is insane. As a result, Polonius thinks that Ophelia’s rejection of Hamlet must have caused Hamlet’s insanity. Therefore, he lets Ophelia speak to Hamlet in private while he hides behind a tapestry (arras). As a result, Polonius is stabbed by Hamlet … and that has a huge impact on Hamlet’s character development. He simultaneously feels disgust at his own action and disgust at Polonius.
2) To what extent are words used as a kind of weapon in the play? How effective are they as a weapon? Hamlet’s weapon of choice is the pun. He feigns madness. He chooses to dispense words and not blows throughout the play … Hamlet plays a linguistic game of attack and counterattack in the Danish court … Hamlet prefers words as he is trying to cut his mother’s and uncle’s consciences deeply. Hamlet on Claudius’ speech: “a little more kin and less than kind” (I.II.67). Hamlet to Polonius: “Fishmonger.” Hamlet’s words are minimally effective on Polonius. Polonius deflects all of Hamlet’s silly remarks because Polonius isn’t the one to offend Hamlet, given that Polonius is the king’s advisor. In fact, Hamlet’s words cause Polonius to thoroughly believe that Hamlet is insane. Because of this, Polonius does not allow his daughter, Ophelia, to see Hamlet any longer.Hamlet also uses words to spar Claudius. Hamlet, for example, remarks that Polonius is “at supper” when Claudius asks Hamlet where Polonius is. Hamlet’s purpose is to .
3) Discuss the significance of paradoxical or conflicting statements in the play. http://shakespeare-navigators.com/hamlet/Pap.htmlHamlet’s paradoxes and conflicting statements showcase:1) His wit and maturity2) Helps establish his “antic disposition”3) Annoy Claudius: Hamlet is more of a talker and verbal sparring suits him well. “Not eating, but being eaten”He tells Claudius that Polonius is “at supper” partly to mess with Claudius and partly to portray his craziness. This leads us to why Hamlet wants to appear crazy; he appears crazy because 1) he wants to buy himself time and 2) a crazy person can’t be blamed for his actions. He wants to buy time because if he acted as if he knew perfectly of what happened between Claudius and the former King, then he would instantly be exiled or killed or circumscribed.—-“A little more than kin, and less than kind””speak daggers” (but use non) Attitude toward ghost: “truepenny” -> “may be a devil” “Where is your son”
4) How does the world of the play reflect a sense of disruption caused by the overthrow of a natural king? Marcellus, in act 1 scene 1, notably quips “Why such daily cast of brazen cannon / And foreign mart for implements of war, / Why such impress of shipwrights.” Marcellus duly notes the manufacture of war implements and the impressment of shiphands. This reflects the tensions within the court. The appearance of the ghost is also notable. Ghosts are harbingers of bad events. The ghost foreshadows foreboding events to unfold.Internal and external strife.
5) How fully is Fortinbras characterized as someone who is prepared to restore order at the end of the play? Fortinbras is not well characterized as someone prepared to restore order at the end of the play. From what we know about Fortinbras, he has been seeking Denmark’s territory out of honor – Fortinbras’ father was killed in a duel in which the stakes were entire countries. His desire to take all of Denmark were quelled by Claudius’ diplomatic efforts, but whether Fortinbras will restore order or forcibly take Denmark and cause civil unrest is debatable.
6) How is the function of a king explored through the depiction of the kings mentioned in the play? A key aspect to a successful king is diplomacy, and Shakespeare explores this issue through the side plot of Fortinbras. Fortinbras’s father, also known as Fortinbras, lost in a duel to the former king of Denmark. As a result of the duel, Fortinbras had to forfeit all his land to the king of Denmark. Horatio: “Our valiant Hamlet […] Did slay this Fortinbras, who, by a sealed compact / Well ratified by law and heraldry, / Did forfeit, with his life, all those his lands / Which he stood seized of, to the conqueror.”Now, the old Fortinbras’s son, Fortinbras, is agitating in Norway. A war seems imminent – the tragedy opens with the auspices of war. Marcellus, in act 1 scene 1, notably quips “Why such daily cast of brazen cannon / And foreign mart for implements of war, / Why such impress of shipwrights.” Marcellus duly notes the manufacture of war implements and the impressment of shiphands. Nevertheless, Claudius tactfully defuses this touchy issue not by storming Norway but by courting Fortinbras’ uncle, who manages to exert a tranquilizing influence on Fortinbras. Claudius’ diplomat, Voltemand, duly notes “Fortinbras […] receives rebuke from Norway, and in fine, / Makes vow before his uncle never more / To give the assay of arms against your Majesty.” Shakespeare portrays Claudius as a tactful diplomat who manages to prevent a war from happening. Nevertheless, Claudius does not seem to have the same sort of tact in dealing with civil strife – namely – the one between him and Hamlet.
7) Compare the scenes that occur inside the castle to scenes that occur elsewhere. What does setting contribute to the mood of the various scenes?
8) What are some of the techniques that Shakespeare uses to represent guilt in the play? One of the most notable examples would be Claudius’ reaction to The Murder of Gonzago … Ophelia turns insane … Horatio feels guilty – he wants to commit suicide at the end …Guilt is also manifested through prayer and the seeking of forgiveness. Sometimes, characters make tacit admissions. For example, Gertrude admits that she is guilty as charged by Hamlet.
9) Comment on the significance of some of the public scenes at court as opposed to private interactions between characters.
What are the effects of questions on an audience’s response to the play? What is this question saying?
What are some of the ways Shakespeare has represented moral or religious convictions in his play? Shakespeare is well-versed in religious matters.Hamlet’s famous “to be or not to be” speech is a contemplation of suicide. Hamlet rejects suicide because he does not know what lies beyond this realm of life … he rejects suicide not on religious grounds but on fear of the unknown. “But that the dread of something after death,The undiscovered Country, from whose bournNo Traveller returns, Puzzles the will,And makes us rather bear those ills we have,Than fly to others that we know not of.Thus Conscience does make Cowards of us all,And thus the Native hue of ResolutionIs sicklied o’er, with the pale cast of Thought,And enterprises of great pitch and moment, With this regard their Currents turn awry, And lose the name of Action.”Shakespeare also compares Claudius’ murder to the biblical story of Cain and Abel. Hamlet also avenges his father. In a way, we can interpret this as a … http://www.shmoop.com/hamlet/religion-quotes-all.html
How has Shakespeare presented philosophical thought? To what extent is it represented as productive? Shakespeare presents philosophical thought through his characters. Hamlet always questions. At first he questions Claudius’ guilt. Then, he ruminates over man, and his own vacillation. Hamlet’s soliloquy is also the perfect embodiment of suicide. But instead of taking a moral or philosophical stance against suicide, Hamlet takes a stance against suicide based on fear – fear of the unknown realm after this life. http://answers.yahoo.com/question/index?qid=20080330105324AAtmbukhttp://smu.edu/ecenter/discourse/ChaseZachary.htmhttp://www.apstudynotes.org/english/sample-essays/character-analysis-hamlet/Shakespeare thinks that philosophy is useless. Fortinbras, however, does not philosophize at all, but he is universally seen as a rash idiot. Hamlet never asks himself the rightness of his action; doesn’t show remorse for Claudius’ death.
How has Shakespeare represented insanity in the play? Ophelia – insanity; action and words Hamlet – fake insanity; words
In what sense, if any, can we read Hamlet as a hero? In the sense of medieval chivalry and honor, Hamlet may be read as a hero. After all, Hamlet has avenged his father’s wrongful death. In medieval times, honor was emphasized, and death was avenged through death. Now, wrongful deaths are merely court cases comprising verbal transactions. Before, wrongful deaths were court cases involving sword blows.He may also be read as a hero in the sense that he has disposed the throne of an illegitimate ruler – Claudius ascended to the throne through regicide – not through natural succession. So he is not victorious in his medieval revenge quest, but he was heroic in his longing for truth, meaning, beauty, love, reason. He was heroic for rejecting the brutal definitions of manhood imposed on him by his society. He is heroic because he represents the troubled birth of The Renaissance, fighting for dominance over the violent, superstitious middle-ages.—-Retributive justice. Everybody who has something to do with revenge dies at the end of the play; perhaps Shakespeare is conveying a message that revenge isn’t right.
What creates a sense of pacing within the play? Which parts seem to unfold quickly and which seem to unfold slowly? The rapid banter among characters create a fast pace, and the soliloquies slow down the pace.—-
“If it be not now, yet it will come. The readiness is all.” To what extent do any of the events of the play feel inevitable? Fatalism in Hamlet. Events to consider:1) Killing of Polonius. Inevitable: Hamlet disliked him from the start, calling him a “fishmonger.” Polonius is also set up as a villain: he isn’t exactly the most affable of people and is rather controlling of his daughter, Ophelia. Misogynist. 2) Drowning of Ophelia3) Return of Hamlet4) Deaths of Gertrude, Claudius, Hamlet, and Laertes.—-1) Claudius has to die: he is unquestionably evil. 2) Hamlet has to die after he kills Polonius. 3) Ophelia: she didn’t really do anything wrong … lists everyone’s wrongs and then she dies. 4) Gertrude: collateral damage. Audience back then: violated standards of morality. 5)—- Many of the events in Hamlet feel inevitable, although some events are somewhat unexpected. In Shakespeare’s plays, “even-handed justice” tends to prevail, so wrongdoing characters are expected to die. The death of Claudius was etched in stone from the beginning of the play: he is an unquestionably evil character. Claudius, one immediately learns in the first act, has killed Hamlet’s father and wed Gertrude. Claudius’ plot to poison Hamlet’s chalice completely seals his fate; as Shakespeare wrote in Macbeth, “This even-handed justice / Commends the ingredients of our poison’d chalice / To our own lips.” Similarly, Hamlet’s death becomes inevitable after he kills Polonius, a garrulous and sometimes annoying character, but otherwise innocent figure. Polonius may have been spying on Hamlet, but Polonius is spying on Hamlet to get to the root of why Hamlet appears insane. Polonius, in part, is looking to protect his daughter, Ophelia, from Hamlet. Gertrude’s death is similarly inevitable; she married Claudius not one month after her old husband died. By doing so, she violated the standards of morality back then – and perhaps even violated the current standards of morality.
How does Shakespeare create a sense of Hamlet’s thought processes? How do Hamlet’s thoughts compare to the thought processes of other characters? Shakespeare conveys Hamlet’s thoughts through mainly through soliloquies. Hamlet’s monologues and dialogues with other people also reveal Hamlet’s thought processes. Unlike the other characters, Hamlet is a deep thinker. He contemplates; he wrestles with decisions. One foil of Hamlet is Laertes. Laertes is not a deep thinker. He immediately avenges the death of Ophelia and Polonius. So eager is Laertes that Claudius has to temper his anger and thirst for revenge initially. “This even-handed justice / Commends the ingredients of our poison’d chalice / To our own lips.” Soliloquies:1) “To be or not to be”: suicide, the fear of the unknown, and thought vs. action2) “My thoughts be bloody”: thought vs. action3) “What a piece of work is man”
How far does the play support an ideal view of humanity? The play does not support an ideal view of humanity. Parents in the play are either controlling and misogynist, as in the case of Polonius, or unfaithful, as in the case of Gertrude. Polonius expects complete obedience to his daughter and orders his daughter to stop loving Hamlet immediately and also uses his daughter as a litmus test to see if Hamlet is crazy. Gertrude submits to carnal pleasures and remarries less than a month after the old king’s death. Justice in the play is also retributive, and therefore not supportive of an ideal view of humanity. Death in the play is avenged with more death. As a result, the play ends with massive carnage. Hamlet is also not a very good child. He wishes to “speak daggers” to his mother.
Do you think the function of this play was to entertain or to educate the audience? Entertain:1) The witty banter2) The intellectual food-for-thought in the soliloquiesEducate:1) “Even-handed justice” seems to be a motif in Shakespeare’s works. In Julius Caesar, Brutus commits suicide. In Macbeth, the title character is avenged by Macduff. And in Hamlet, Claudius fails in executing his plan to kill Hamlet and ends up dead himself.
Comment on the role of humor. When and for what reasons does Shakespeare joke in the play? Gravedigger scene – why is there this interlude?1) Comic relief (show of dazzling wit) 2) Suicide and death (motif)
How far do you see Hamlet fighting his fate? How far do you see him acquiescing to it? What is Hamlet’s fate? Hamlet’s fate was sealed after he killed Polonius. Hamlet also has no interest in ruling. Hamlet does not fight his fate. Claudius already tried to kill Hamlet once (Rosencrantz and Gildenstern) and Hamlet knows that Claudius is trying to get rid of Hamlet. However, Hamlet acquiesces to his fate; he seems to be almost apathetic: he fights Laertes even though Hamlet has just killed his father, Polonius.
Choose a key scene from the play. Comment on how you might stage it and why ………….
46) How mature do you think Hamlet is? What age range of actor might you cast in the role and why? Hamlet is fairly mature. I would cast an actor in his late 20s and early 30s for one, factual reasons and two, for the way he is characterized by Shakespeare. Hamlet is college-educated. He has just returned from college in Wittenberg, Germany, as his mother beseeches Hamlet not to return to Germany:”For your intentIn going back to school in Wittenberg,It is most retrograde to our desire” Hamlet’s intellect is also reflective of someone in his late 20s or early 30s. Cite soliloquy or monologue:1) “What a piece of work is man”2) “My thoughts be bloody”3) “Speak daggers” (cites Nero) 4) “To be or not to be”While intellect may characterize anyone in his or her 20s and beyond, Hamlet’s age is tempered by his rashness. His deeds betray someone who is rather young. We can
How do other sons and fathers in the play function as foils for Hamlet and his circumstances? Laertes and HamletLaertes is antithetical to Hamlet. Laertes, upon hearing the news of Ophelia and Polonius’ deaths, immediately moves to seek revenge. Hamlet, however, vacillates through the entire play until the very end. Laertes isn’t inclined to think much about his actions. Laertes, for example, doesn’t have long soliloquies.
29) How far do you think the play distinguishes between insanity and immorality? In what ways does it connect or differentiate the two? Insanity: OpheliaImmorality: ClaudiusOphelia likely does not realize her insanity. Claudius, on the other hand, is not insane – he realizes the immorality of his actions and reaches out to God to forgive him.
31) In what sense could you argue that this play is a tragedy? What does Shakespeare do to create a tragic mood in the play?
32) How far are we invited to sympathize with Hamlet? How far are we meant to dislike him? What has Shakespeare done to create either reaction within you? I sympathize with Hamlet to a large extent. He has human flaws that I can relate to: his flaw is his inability to will himself to action. Hamlet is a easy character to relate to; he is not a perfect human being. He is also very intelligent, which makes him easy to relate to. His soliloquies and witty banter all reflect his intellectual prowess. Contrast this with Anse, who can’t even think in coherent English.
32) In your opinion, is Hamlet sexist? How far does the play support or refute such a charge/

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