Mrs. P’s Hamlet Review

Tragedy a dramatic composition, often in verse, dealing with a serious or somber theme, typically that of a great person destined through a flaw of character or conflict with some overpowering force, as fate or society, to downfall or destruction.
Tragic Hero the protagonist of a tragedy that suffers a catastrophe due to a flaw of character (Hamlet’s inability to take action)
Exposition the introductory section of a play in which time, place, characters, and situation are presented (Set in the castle Elsinore in Denmark. Old King Hamlet, who killed Old King Fortinbras of Norway, has just died, and Claudius is now married to his wife, Gertrude, and is now King of Denmark.)
Inciting or Exciting Force Something happens to get the action going (The ghost of Hamlet’s father tells him he was murdered by his brother, Claudius, and wants Hamlet to take revenge.)
Rising Action series of events leading up to the climax; usually covers more than one act (Laertes goes to France, the play within the play)
Climax the highest point of action in the play. change in the protagonist, who seems now to be following a downward path (Act 3, scene 4- Hamlet kills Polonius)
Falling Action series of events following the climax; the conflict is the essence of the play; most events go against the protagonist (Ophelia goes mad and drowns, Laertes returns to get revenge, Fortinbras is marching with an army to get back his father’s lands)
Moment of Final Suspense near the end of the play, it begins to look as if things will go the way of the protagonist after all (Hamlet is winning the duel with Laertes)
Catastrophe the complete downfall of the protagonist, either through death or some other devastating experience (Hamlet dies.)
Aside words spoken by an actor in such a way that they are heard by the audience but supposedly not by the other actors. These words usually represent the inner thoughts of the speaker. (Polonius’s aside, while talking to Hamlet, is “Though this be madness, yet there is method in it.”)
Soliloquy lines in a play in which a character reveals thoughts to the audience, but not to the other characters; it is usually longer than an aside and not directed at the audience. (Hamlet’s famous “To be or not to be speech” is a soliloquy.)
Apostrophe words addressed to an imaginary or absent person (Claudius says, “Do it, England.” Hamlet is talking to his mother and calls out, “Oh Shame! Where is they blush” and “Frailty, thy name is woman!”)
Blank Verse unrhymed lines of poetry written in iambic pentameter–10 syllables with the stress on every other syllable. (“My WORDS fly UP, my THOUGHTS, reMAIN beLOW.”)
Foil a character whose qualities or actions usually serve to emphasize the actions or qualities of the protagonist by providing a strong contrast. (Fortinbras and Laertes are foils to Hamlet because they take action immediately.)
Imagery an author’s use of vivid and descriptive language to add depth to his or her work, and it appeals to human senses to deepen the reader’s understanding of the work. (Claudius frequently refers to Hamlet as a sickness that needs to be cured–“Diseases desperate grown by desperate appliance are relieved, or not at all.”)
Dramatic Irony the audience or reader knows more about a character’s situation than the character does and knows that the character’s understanding is incorrect. (Hamlet is acting crazy, but the other characters do not know that.)
Situational Irony a situation where the outcome is incongruous with what was expected, but it is also more generally understood as a situation that includes contradictions or sharp contrasts. (the poisoned sword used by Laertes gets switched and kills Laertes too)
Verbal Irony a discrepency between what is said and what is really meant; sarcasm. (When Hamlet tells the king he is “a little more than kin, and less than kind.” and “I am too much in the sun.”)
Metaphor a comparison between two things that are basically dissimilar in which one is described in terms of the other (Hamlet calls Rosencrantz a “sponge”.)
Simile a comparison between two different things using either “like” or “as” (When Gertrude tells Hamlet, “Speak to me no more! These words like daggers enter mine ears.”)
Symbol a figure of speech where an object, person, or situation has another meaning other than its literal meaning. The actions of a character, word, action, or event that have a deeper meaning in the context of the whole story. (Ophelia’s flowers symbolize different things, such as rosemary given to Laertes so he can remember his father.)
Ophelia dies by drowning
Hamlet apologizes to Laertes
Claudius kills his brother
Horatio Hamlet’s loyal friend
Laertes avenges the death of his father and sister
Gertrude drinks poisoned wine
Fortinbras becomes King of Denmark at the end of the play
“To die, to sleep. To sleep, perchance to dream. Ay, there’s the rub.” Hamlet wonders what happens after death. That’s the catch. That’s what makes people afraid to commit suicide–the fact that no one really knows what the afterlife is like.
“Too much of water hast thou, poor Ophelia.” Laertes says this when he learns that Ophelia drowned. She was crazy and probably committed suicide. She “drowned” in her sorrows.
“Forty thousand brothers could not, with all their quantity of love, make up for my sum.” Hamlet says this to Laertes while they were at Ophelia’s grave to prove that he did love Ophelia and did not mean to cause her to suffer from his actions.
“Revenge should know no bounds.” Claudius says this to Laertes when Laertes tells him he would even cut Hamlet’s throat in church to get his revenge for his father’s death.This is ironic because Hamlet had the chance to kill Claudius in church but chose not to because he worried that would send him to heaven if he was praying.
“My words fly up, my thoughts remain below.” Claudius was kneeling and trying to pray, but he didn’t really mean what he was saying so he knew that God would not forgive him.
“Gertrude, do not drink.” Claudius tries to stop Gertrude from drinking the wine to celebrate Hamlet’s success in the fencing match against Laertes. He knows that the drink is poisoned because he is the one who put the poison in the drink, intended for Hamlet to drink and die.

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