Hamlet Prenotes and Act I Conrad

When was Hamlet written? during the first part of the 17th century (1600-1601)
When was Hamlet first performed? July 1602
When was Hamlet first published? printed form: 1603enlarged edition: 1604
The story takes place in which country? Denmark in the late medieval period
The prince of Denmark, the title character, and the protagonist Hamlet
About thirty years old at the start of the play Hamlet
The son of Queen Gertrude and the late King Hamlet, and the nephew of the present king, Claudius Hamlet
melancholy, bitter, and cynical, full of hatred for his uncle’s scheming and disgust for his mother’s sexuality Hamlet
A reflective and thoughtful young man. Sometimes indecisive and hesitant, but at other times prone to rash and impulsive acts. Hamlet
The King of Denmark, Hamlet’s uncle, and the play’s antagonist. The villain of the play Claudius
A calculating, ambitious politician, driven by his sexual appetites and his lust for power, but he occasionally shows signs of guilt and human feeling- his love for Gertrude, for instance, seems sincere. Claudius
The Queen of Denmark, Hamlet’s mother, recently married to Claudius Gertrude
Loves Hamlet deeply, but is a shallow, weak woman who seeks affection and status more urgently than moral rectitude or truth Gertrude
The Lord Chamberlain of Claudius’s court, a pompous, conniving old man. The father of Laertes and Ophelia Polonius
Hamlet’s close friend, who studied with the prince at the university in Wittenberg Horatio
Loyal and helpful to Hamlet throughout the play Horatio
After Hamlet’s death, he remains alive to tell Hamlet’s story Horatio
Polonius’s daughter, a beautiful young woman with whom Hamlet has been in love Ophelia
a sweet and innocent young girl, who obeys her father and her brother, Laertes Ophelia
Dependent on men to tell her how to behave, she gives in to Polonius’s schemes to spy on Hamlet Ophelia
Even in her lapse into madness and death, she remains maidenly, singing songs about flowers and finally drowning in the river amid the flower garlands she had gathered Ophelia
Polonius’s son and Ophelia’s brother, a young man who spends much of the play in France Laertes
Passionate and quick to action, is clearly a foil for the reflective Hamlet Laertes
The specter of Hamlet’s recently deceased father. Who claims to have been murdered by Claudius, calls upon Hamlet to avenge him The Ghost
It is not entirely certain whether _____________ is what it appears to be, or whether it is something else The Ghost
Hamlet speculates that ____________ might be a devil sent to deceive him and tempt him into murder, and the question of what ___________ is or where it comes from is never definitively resolved The Ghost
Two slightly bumbling courtiers, former friends of Hamlet from Wittenberg, who are summoned by Claudius and Gertrude to discover the cause of Hamlet’s strange behavior Rosencrantz and Guildenstern
Themes of Hamlet Misogyny: dislike/distrust of womenMortalityRevengeCertainty
“Frailty, thy name is woman!” Hamlet
“Something is rotten in the state of Denmark” Marcellus
“The serpent that did sting thy father’s lifeNow wears his crown.” The Ghost
“Therefore our sometime sister, now our queen” Claudius
What had Bernardo seen at a prior watch? King Hamlet’s Ghost
Why does Marcellus think Horatio should speak to the ghost? Horatio was a scholar who should know the proper way to address a ghost.
What does young Fortinbras want to do? Young Fortinbras wants to regain the lands his father had lost.
Where does Claudius send Cornelius and Voltimand? He sends them to the King of Norway with letters asking the King to try to keep young Fortinbras from going to battle.
Hamlet swears Horatio to two things. What are they? He swears him to secrecy about the events of this evening (seeing the ghost) and to go along with him should he pretend to be crazy.

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