Hamlet Study Questions (updated as the story progresses)

(Act I) Describe the political situation in Denmark using the previously discussed topic between Horatio and the guard King Hamlet dies, then his brother, Claudius becomes king and Young Fortinbras of Norway wants revenge for his father’s death.
(Act I) Why is the ghost of Old Hamlet denied his eternal rest? Since he was murdered, he never got to confess and be forgiven for his sins.
(Act I) What delicate issues are at the very top of Claudius’s agenda for the meeting of his court? He needs to address his marriage and is sending a letter to the king of Norway about young Fortinbras.
(Act I) Would the king rather have Hamlet stay at Elsinore or return to Wittenberg? Why? He wants Hamlet to stay at Elsinore to offer him the throne, but only wants him to look after him.
(Act I) Where is Laertes going? What advice does Polonius give him? He is going to France. Polonius says to listen to opinions, but don’t agree with all of them. Don’t lend or borrow money because that leads to trouble.
(Act I) How does Polonius tell Ophelia to behave towards Hamlet? Don’t trust him or his words of love
(Act I) How did Hamlet die? What is the official account of his death? He was bit by a snake (“Stung by a serpent)
(Act I) What task does the father, from beyond the grave, set for his son Hamlet? What strategy does Hamlet decide to adopt at once, in order to reveal the truth and to set things right? “…to put an antic disposition on.” This means to act crazy.
(Act II) Who is Reynaldo, and what is his job? Polonius’s servant. His current job is to go to Paris to question Laertes’s acquaintances about his outings, doings, and overall being.
(Act II) Examine the line: “Your bait of falsehood take his carp of truth” (Scene I). Who is fishing? For what? What kind of bait is being used? Polonius sent Reynaldo to Paris to “fish” for info about Laertes by suggesting that he is a wild party animal.
(Act II) How is Ophelia’s report to her father concerning Hamlet’s behavior evidence of his “antic disposition”? Not good. He is distraught, unkempt, and non-conversant. He is seemingly crazy.
(Act II) Who are Rosencrantz and Guildenstern? How is Claudius’s speech to them like Polonius’s speech to Reynaldo? Rosencrantz and Guildenstern are 2 childhood friends of Hamlet sent to spy on him from a distance, which is exactly what Polonius told Reynaldo to do with Laertes.
(Act II) How is the attitude of the uncle to Fortinbras like that of Claudius to Hamlet? Both uncles act as father figures and want control over their nephews behavior. Fortinbras’ uncle rebuked his desire to go against Denmark.

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