Hamlet Study Guide Final (Kantor)

How do you know there are big preparations for war going on in Denmark? Why are they going on? Changing of the guard, Fortinbras wants to take back land lost from his father
Identify Bernardo, Francisco, Marcellus, Horatio, and King Hamlet. Bernardo, Fransisco, and Marcellus: GuardsHoratio: Hamlet’s BFFKing Hamlet: aka Ghost, young Hamlet’s father
What had Bernardo seen at a prior watch? A ghost, possibly King Hamlet
Why does Marcellus think Horatio should speak to the ghost? Marcellus sees Horatio as a “scholar” and an educated person.
What does young Fortinbras want to do? Take back land that was lost from his father
Who do the soldiers/guards want to tell about the ghost? Hamlet
What happens when Francisco and Bernardo meet at the beginning of 1.1? Where are we, and when? Why is there confusion over which one is supposed to challenge the other by asking “Who’s there”? Why is Horatio with Bernardo and Marcellus? Who is he? 1. Fransisco awaits for Bernardo to relieve him of duty after midnight 2. Elsinore, Denmark, medieval times3. They are both equally ranked guards, probably suspicious of the other and also apparitions have been seen, so they are weary4. They want Horatio to see the apparition that appeared, Horatio is again Hamlet’s BFF
What is Horatio’s initial response to the story of the apparition? What happens when the ghost appears for the first time? Notice that Horatio addresses it as “thou.” This is the form of address used with friends or inferiors. Shakespeare’s audience would have been much more attuned to the difference than we are. What is the effect of Horatio’s addressing the ghost as “thou”? 1. He dismisses it, doesn’t believe2. Bernardo account the ghost looks similar to King Hamlet3. The ghost leaves abruptly, and the guards point out that Horatio’s use of “thou” offended the ghost to leave
What does Horatio first assume the appearance of the ghost means? Why are there such intense war preparations in Denmark? (What does Horatio suggest by his discussion of Julius Caesar’s death? Why does he choose the example of Rome? Why is the passage set off and in italics? 1. Thinks that something bad is going to happen, (this refers to the “Chain of Being” its been corrupted 2. Believed that King Hamlet was challenged by King Fortinbras, thus killing him and taking his land. With young Fortinbras in rage, he claims to get the land back. 3. He connects this story Julius Caesar, because he thinks the fall of King Hamlet will lead the end of this land. Both Caesar and Hamlet are prideful in nature which causes them to take risks.
What happens when the ghost appears for the second time? Why does it leave so abruptly? The questions Horatio asks it represent, according to the thought of the time, the reasons why a ghost could appear. 1. Horatio asks why the Ghost has come 2. It begins to leave and the guards begin to throw their weapons at it. They claim the ghost left because they used violence, but Horatio mentions it was the cry of the rooster.
What is the purpose of the two discussions of the crowing of the cock, Horatio’s pagan one and Marcellus’ Christian one? Horatio’s pagan story: The god of daylight comes and the ghost are forced to hide Marcellus’ Christian story: Christ resurrected, which caused no evil to roam during that time
What do we know so far about the nature of the ghost? Do we know yet if it is a “good” ghost (i.e., “really” the spirit of the person it appears to be) or a “damned” ghost (a devil or evil spirit in the shape of the person it appears to be)? 1. All we know is the ghost appears after midnight and leaves at dawn when the rooster crows2. There is no possible way at this point we know the ghost is evil or good.
What are the ambassadors to Norway supposed to tell the king of that country? Why is Hamlet angry at Claudius and Gertrude? How do you know there’s some problem and some potential danger associated with the appearance of the Ghost? 1. Not to attack Denmark2. Their quick marriage 3. With the death of the king, hasty marriage, and preparations for war; all characters are in risk of endangering themselves
Identify King Claudius, Queen Gertrude, Laertes, and Polonius. King Claudius: King Hamlet’s bro, Hamlet’s uncle.Queen Gertrude: Hamlet’s momLaertes: Polonius’ sonPolonius: Advisor to king
Where does Claudius send Cornelius and Voltemand? To Norway to deliver a letter to the king, the king is Fortinbras’ uncle, so he’ll talk him out of attacking them
What does the King tell Hamlet? Not to be sadden by his Father’s death and move on, think of him as his father now.
Hamlet is upset for two reasons. What are they? 1. Marriage between Claudius and Gertrude 2. His father died
What news does Horatio bring Hamlet? About seeing a ghost believed to be his father
What does Hamlet decide to do after he hears Horatio’s news? To go see the ghost tonight and talk to it
What is Claudius telling the court in the first part of his speech? What does he say about young Fortinbras and his uncle the king of Norway? How is Claudius responding to the threat? (You may also want to keep in mind that the name “Claudius” appears only in the opening stage direction for 1.2. The name is never spoken in the play. He is simply “the King.”) 1. Tells how sorrowful he is about using his brother 2. Young Fortinbras reminds him of his own ignorance and refuses his demand to reclaim back his lands3. He responds by sending a message to the King of Norway (Fortinbras uncle) about his plan and to stop Fortinbras to move any further
What does Laertes want from the King? How does Claudius respond to him? Based on his first 64 lines in office, how would you rate Claudius as a ruler? In what ways does he already differ from Old Hamlet as king? (Consider how Old Hamlet would have responded to Young Fortinbras.) 1. To return back to France 2. Claudius agrees and also gets approval from Polonius 3. The big difference is that King Hamlet was very prideful and warlike as to Claudius who takes the Fortinbras issue into diplomatic measures by forcing someone else to do the dirty work instead of physically confronting Fortinbras himself.
What do Claudius and Gertrude want Hamlet to do that he doesn’t want to do? What won’t they let him do it? How does he respond to them? How do they respond to the way he responds to them? (You probably know three names associated with the University of Wittenberg in Germany: Martin Luther, Doctor Faustus, and Hamlet. Can you see any connections among the three?) Claudius and Gertrude ask him to stay in Elsinore, and not go back to the University of Wittenberg. Hamlet only responds to his mother. Claudius then responds to Hamlet how kind is he (despite being degraded) and a feast will take place in honor of his marriage to Gertrude. Martin Luther created a whole new religion after being separated from Catholicism. This connects to Hamlet following the ghost orders while trying to keep faith to his own religion, not to kill.
How seriously do you take Claudius’ argument against Hamlet’s “prolonged” mourning ? How long has Hamlet been mourning? (The normal mourning period of a noble or gentle woman for a dead husband at this time [ca. 1600] was a year or more.) Claudius statement to Hamlet’s mourning is ridiculous. Hamlet has been mourning for 2 months
Read Hamlet’s first soliloquy carefully. What is it that is really bothering him about what has happened since his father’s death? How would you describe the tone of his feelings detached, impassioned, rational, ironic, or what? Hamlet is more confused than angry. He debates whether he should be happy or upset about his mother’s marriage, he’s too uncomfortable to respond to it, so he uses his father’s death as a reason to be upset
What is Hamlet’s response to the news from Horatio, Marcellus, and Bernardo? Notice the way Hamlet questions them. How much do we know about how his mind works at this point of the play? What does he suspect as the reason for the ghost’s appearance? 1. Hamlet doesn’t need any persuasive, quickly believes, and asks very specific questions 2. Hamlet is very responsive to the supernatural despite having second thoughts about the ghost’s motives, 3. Hamlet then suspects foul play as the reason.
Paraphrase briefly Laertes’ advice to his sister as well as the reasons he gives for the advice To be weary of Hamlet, falling in love with him can have its consequences
What is Laertes’ advice to Ophelia? Stay away from Hamlet, he might take advantage of her. And don’t believe when he says he loves her
What is Polonius’ advice to Laertes? Not to say what he is thinking and to think before he acts. He should hold onto his friends and not to be quick to make new friends. Don’t pick fights, but if you are in one, fight well. Listen to many people, but talk to few.
At the end of Scene III, Ophelia agrees to “obey.” What will she do? She’ll stay away from Hamlet for now
What does Laertes warn Ophelia about? What, apparently, has been the relationship between Hamlet and Ophelia since his return from Wittenberg? Not to be too attached to Hamlet for falling in love with him will end in heartbreak, to keep Hamlet at arms length. Hamlet seems to love her but have not made it publicly known.
How seriously do you take Polonius’ precepts? Consider especially the last one. Polonius advice to his son seems brief and quick and they are virtues he should apply to his life and learn by. His last piece of advice mentions how people in France judge others how they dress and he should pick clothes with thought, his statement seems so materialistic.
How willing is Ophelia to discuss with her father what she has discussed with Laertes? What is his response to Hamlet’s interest in her and her response to him? How seriously should she take their warnings about Hamlet’s lack of seriousness and his inability to choose his own wife? 1. Ophelia is reluctant to have this conversation but remains dutiful to him2. He demands information about their relationship and calls her naive and ignorant 3. Ophelia should take their advice seriously, since Hamlet is more concerned about family matters than her
What do we know about Laertes, Polonius, and Ophelia by the end of 1.3? What sort of people are they? What sort of family are they? Who is missing from this family? How strong-willed in Ophelia? 1. They are all trying to protect Ophelia for her own sake.2. Ophelia and Laertes have a strong bond w/ each other while Polonius is the strict one protecting their honor3. They are simply a family that looks out for each other4. The mother figure is missing 5. Ophelia is strongwilled but only away from father, she develops a rebellious stage despite being what’s told of her.
How (specifically) and by whom was Hamlet’s father killed? What does Hamlet make Horatio and the guards swear after he’s visited with the ghost? 1. Claudius poured a poison in King Hamlet’s ear called hebenon while he was sleeping in the garden2. Everything that they hear or see will stay between them and they shall remain truthful
Why do the trumpets and cannons sound, according to Hamlet? What does Hamlet think of the custom? 1. This signifies “drinking the night away” for the celebration of Claudius and Gertrude’s marriage. 2. He treats this custom in a negative way, Denmark’s drunken behavior is the reason for its deteriorating reputation by foreign countries.
Is Hamlet surprised when the Ghost asks him to revenge his father’s murder? Is he surprised when he learns who the murderer is? 1. Hamlet quickly promises revenge despite knowing the whole story 2. Hamlet knew beforehand that Claudius was a villain so he takes credit for this realization
Do father and son have the same opinion of Claudius? Would others in the court, not knowing about Claudius’ crime, see Claudius as this much below his dead brother? 1. Both think of him as a selfish, wicked person, so yes2. With King Claudius being the only one who knows about his murderer and Hamlet as the only who despises the marriage, the court would see Claudius above his brother.
What does the Ghost tell Hamlet to do about his mother? Leave his mother alone and let her face justice after she dies, then she will know the full extent of her guilt.
Hamlet’s second soliloquy. What does Hamlet say he has learned? In other words, what general piece of wisdom does he want to save from this encounter? Is this shockingly new information to us? Or is Hamlet just becoming “grown up”? (When did you first learn that you couldn’t always trust people?) ] Compare the same movement he makes from the specific person Gertrude to “frailty, thy name is woman.” Given this soliloquy, how soon would you expect Hamlet to go for his revenge? 1. Claudius is the cause of his father’s death 2. He repeats over again to remember the words of his father and this encounter3. Nope, seeing how Claudius is villainous and the fast marriage (lots of red flags) 4. He damns his mother for marrying her husband’s killer (but we still don’t know if Gertrude was in the know)5. Rather quickly to go for revenge, consider his mourning over his father and his fascination with the supernatural
What happens when the others find Hamlet? What does he ask them to swear? What does his mention of an “antic disposition” suggest about his future plans? How might you expect Hamlet to be acting when next we see him? 1. Hamlet has changed moods completely to one of excitement and madness 2. Swear by the sword not to mention of this night 3. Hamlet believes he will act irrationally when avenging his father’s death, which attributes to the madness
With what does Polonius charge Reynaldo? Why? He asks Reynaldo to travel to France to ask around and spy on Laertes, he is only doing this to see how he is doing.
What is Polonius’s explanation for Hamlet’s weird behavior with Ophelia? Rosencrantz and Guildenstern are sent to do what? 1, His love for Ophelia 2. R and G are supposed to keep Hamlet preoccupied and spy on him
What reply from Norway does the now-returned ambassador convey? The King of Norway successfully rebuked Fortinbras to invade Denmark and rewarded him with a huge allowance and tells him to invade Poland instead. Now they asked Claudius to let Fortinbras pass peacefully through Denmark to invade Poland
What do Rosencrantz and Guildenstern decide is the reason for Hamlet’s unhappiness? The recent affairs happening in Denmark and bad dreams
What is Polonius’ plan for testing his theory that Hamlet is love-crazy? To spy on Ophelia when she is alone with Hamlet
Rosencrantz and Guildenstern finally meet with Hamlet, and Hamlet discoversthey were sent for by the King. How does Hamlet describe his personal problems to them? What does he tell them? 1. He once thought the world was a wonderful place to be in2. People don’t interest him anymore (reason for this, he feels betrayed by everyone, people spying on him, Claudius killing dad, his mother so oblivious to the situation)
What arrangement does Hamlet make with Player 1? Hamlet changes one part of the script by adding a few extra lines to reenact how his father died
After Rosencrantz and Guildenstern leaven Hamlet, what does he basically say in his soliloquy? He is a coward and dreamer and hasn’t made legit plans to kill Claudius (again he is a prisoner of his own revenge) So he come s up with a plan to reveal how his father died in the play in hopes of getting Claudius to confess.
How much time has passed between Act 1 and Act 2? How do you know? About 5 months. It was winter last time he visited Ghost, and its close to the part where Ophelia turns mad and picks flowers. For her to be picking flowers means its spring.
What is Polonius telling Reynaldo to do? What does this tell up about Polonius and his way of thinking and acting? Tells Reynaldo to ask around about his son Laeretes, You can tell that Polonius has trust issues and is the very overprotective type
Why is Ophelia so upset when she enters? What has happened to her? Does Hamlet’s appearance (in her telling) as a madman (a distracted lover) come as a surprise after what we last heard him say? Why would he appear in this sort of madness to her? Is there any possibility he really is a distracted lover responding to Ophelia’s apparent rejection of him? How well has she obeyed her father’s orders? 1. She is distraught about the why Hamlet has been acting 2. Hamlet appeared in her sowing room all dirty and looked bewildered and insane 3. It doesn’t come to a surprise, because Hamlet just meet the spirit of his apparent dead father, which would freak anyone out4. Hamlet knows Claudius and Polonius are spying near by witnessing this and puts up an act5. He’s more interested into avenging his father than giving time to Ophelia6. Despite being thrown under the bus by her father to test out his theory and has no idea what’s going on, Ophelia rejects him bluntly.
What is Polonius’ response to what Ophelia tells him? Where are they going? Polonius sas he will go to the king and tell him of his suspicious, but also feels guilty of forcing Ophelia to abruptly deny Hamlet, he lets his curiosity get to him
Why have Rosencrantz and Guildenstern come to court? What is their relation to Hamlet? What use does Claudius have for them? Does this remind you of Polonius’ use for Reynaldo? Are there any significant differences? King Claudius asks them to check on him because of his strange behavior. They are childhood friends of Hamlet. Polonius’ use of Reynaldo is no different when Claudius asks for their help. This shows how cowardly they are not to face problems themselves.
How effective is Polonius as a bearer of news? How convinced are Claudius and Gertrude that Polonius has found the answer? How do they plan to test this answer? Does Polonius’ plan sound like his normal way of operating? 1. Polonius still repeats Hamlet has gone mad but is still vague about his reasoning and makes up bs to suck up to the king and queen2. Gertrude seems convinced, but the King demands proof to his theory 3. They observed the interaction between the two 4. Polonius is putting his daughter at risk of direct confrontation
Why does he call Polonius a fishmonger? (It may help to know that fishmongers’ wives, and daughters, apparently because of the fish, were assumed to be extremely fertile and thus able to conceive easily.) Hamlet knows who Polonius is and why his uncle was sent to go check on him. He degrades Polonius by calling him a fisherman which is the lowest of the low and Polonius is quite offended.
Why are the players traveling? These players or actors are traveling to put up shows for people to watch, this provides Hamlet with the plan to test out his theory
What is the significance of Hamlet’s referring to Polonius as Jephthah. Jephthah promises a burnt sacrifice to God of the first person who comes to his door to win over the Ammonites, the first person was his only virgin daughter, relating to Polonius stripping his daughter of her pride and freedom
What is unusual about the speech Hamlet begins to recite and the First Player continues Hamlet tries to get into character by reciting it, but he can’t finish it, and so the First Player takes over. The scene foreshadows Hamlet’s indecision regarding the nature of revenge.
Why is suicide tempting to Hamlet, and what holds him back? In his interaction with Ophelia, what is behind all his harping on women’s putting on make-up? Hamlet is keeping faith to his religion as he mentions before how God doesn’t allow suicide. He thinks women are putting on a false show by putting “makeup” themselves b/c they don’t express themselves fully
What does Polonius give Ophelia to read? Polonius gives Ophelia a book of devotions so it will seem like she is alone because she is reading and meditating
How does Claudius respond to what he has seen and heard? Is he convinced that love is the cause of Hamlet’s madness? What does he plan to do about Hamlet? Claudius is slightly shocked and threatened, but thinks its more than this forbidden and therefore Polonius gives up his answer and of course he thins of spying on Hamlet again.
What is the point of the performance? To accuse King Claudius for killing his father
What is the king’s reaction and (presumably) why? Shocked, so surprised by the events happening his forces himself out of the throne room where the performance was held
How does Hamlet put down Rosencrantz and Guildenstern? Changes to letters to England to sentence R and G to death instead of Hamlet (as it was previously stated)
What advice does Hamlet have for the actors? Why? Don’t overdo, use discretion and start building up tension and suspense
What function is served by the discussion of Polonius as an actor Jokingly saying he played the part as Julius Caesar foreshadows his death by the sword of Hamlet. Like Brutus to Caesar, Hamlet trusted Polonius
How does the play-within-the-play reflect the issues bothering Hamlet? The play-within-a-play with a king and a queen mirrors the reality of King Claudius and Queen Gertrude’s actions.
What message do Rosencrantz and Guildenstern have for Hamlet? His mother wishes to speak him
What does Hamlet give as his reason for not killing Claudius after the play incident He can’t kill Claudius while he’s praying and confessing his sins
Who does Hamlet hope is behind the tapestry when he stabs through it? What’s his reaction to the death of Polonius? Polonius, he shows no remorse and is rather disappointed for he thought he killed the King Claudius
What message do Rosencrantz and Guildenstern carry to the King? Most importantly, no matter what he does to/for you (ie: kiss, touch, caress,etc.), don’t tell him that I’m not actually crazy but just plotting against him.”
What device does Hamlet use to force Gertrude to consider what she has done? portraits
How successful is the first part of the interview between Gertrude and Hamlet? Gertrude’s belief that Hamlet is insane further contributes to Hamlet’s ability to make the other characters believe he is insane. (the is after he sees the ghost and asks if his mom sees it)
After the Ghost leaves, does Hamlet succeed in what he came to do? He wants his mother to confess her sins and beg for forgiveness so that she might be saved. That does not seem likely.
What does Hamlet think of his upcoming trip to England? He realizes he is headed toward some ‘knavery’ or trap.

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