Hamlet Study Guide

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Hamlet, Prince of Denmark
Study Guide

Act I Questions

Act I Scene 1 : Horatio’s opinion of the ghost before and after he sees it, is that the ghost is Old Hamlet, the dead king. He looks just like Hamlet’s father that was supposedly bitten by a poisonous snake. This ghost was dressed in armor, head to toe.

Act I Scene 1 : Claudius announced that he is the new king of Denmark when the beloved king Hamlet is dead and also stated that he is now married to Hamlet’s Mother, old Hamlet’s wife. Before Old Hamlet past, his great rival Fortinbras, King of Noway dared him to battle and Old Hamlet killed Old King Fortinbras. Now that Old King Fortinbras is dead, young Fortinbras is now the new king of Norway, he is tough and unproven and he now wants to take over Denmark.

Act I Scene 1 : Horatio’s fear about the Ghost is “something to worry about”, he talked about the emperor Julius Caesar, and how the corpses rose out of their graves and ran through the streets. There were threatening signs and now Horatio believes that the ghost of Hamlet was sent down here as if heaven and earth has joined together to warn them what is going to happen.

Act I Scene 2 : Claudius’ comments to Hamlet regarding his father’s death was not sympathetic, he basically told him not to mourn over his father’s death because in a way he is betraying God. Hence, Claudius’ advice was not to mourn, because once upon a time it happened to every son and father out there, and it wouldn’t make a difference, the father would still be dead.

Act I Scene 2 : Hamlet feels weak because his father’s death and Mother’s marriage breaks his heart in silence, since he can’t mention his feelings aloud. Now that everything happened, life is pointless to him, he then uses a metaphor of “a garden that no one’s taking care of, and that’s growing wild. Only nasty weeds grow in it now.” Hamlet looked up to his father, an excellent king. Hamlet is more hurt not because of the death of his father, but not only two months later, after his father’s death his mom got remarried and even worst to his own father’s brother, incest.

Act I Scene 3 : Both Laertes and Polonius agree that Hamlet is young, and foolish and the “love” he promises Ophelia is either an act or will soon be gone. However, Laertes’ advice to Ophelia is calm and understanding, he believes that Hamlet is within the royal family; therefore, his words only mean as much as the state of Denmark allows them to mean. On the other hand, Polonius is furious at the thought that Hamlet and Ophelia are together, he demands Ophelia not to see him and that Hamlet is just a young boy that can still fool around. Polonius’ advice was not much advice, he just continued to put down Ophelia by calling her a foolish baby for believing the words that are coming out from Hamlet’s mouth.

Act I Scene 5 : Hamlet means when he says he will “put on an antic disposition” is to “act a little crazy in the near future”. I think Hamlet is going to pretend to go mad because it’ll give the others something to question and think about.

Act II Questions
Scene 1

Reynaldo is being sent to Paris by Polonius to spy on Laertes, finding out what Danish people are like - who they are, where they live and how much money they have, who their friends are.

Hamlet went “mad”, he went up to Ophelia while she was sewing with no hat on his head, his shirt unbuttoned, and his stockings dirty, undone, and down around his ankles. Hamlet grabbed Ophelia by the wrist and held her hard, moved back to arm’s length and stared at her for a long time. He sighed his last breath and left the room.

Polonius’s conclusion at the end of this scene is that Hamlet is definitely love-crazy. Polonius believes that Hamlet has gone mad and acted this way because Ophelia rejected him by sending back his letters and wouldn’t let him visit her.

Scene 2

Rosencrantz and Guildenstern are King Claudius’ courtiers, and they were...
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