Hamlet Study Guide

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Play Information:
Name: Hamlet
Date Written: around 1600
Setting: Denmark in the late medieval period
Who is the play Good For:
1. Good for anyone having trouble figuring things out
2. Good play for anyone who isn’t having trouble figuring things out... yet Story Overview:
The story of a Danish prince whose uncle murders his dad, and marries his mother and claims the throne so he takes revenge Parts Added to the Play: Shakespeare adds; Ophelia’s madness and hamlets questions triggered by events FIVE ACTS:

1. beginning : ghost orders revenge
2. rising action: hamlet acts mad
3. climax: hamlet does things (puts on a play, berates his mother, kills Polonius) 4. counterstroke: events conspire against hamlet while he sails to England 5. resolution: hamlet apologizes, kills king, dies

Character Information:
Hamlet:
Is the prince of Denmark, the title character and is the protagonist. About 30 years old at the start of the play. Hamlet is the son of Queen Gertrude and late king Hamlet, and the nephew of the present king, Claudius. Hamlet is melancholy, bitter, and cynical, full of hatred for his uncles scheming has a disgust for his mother’s sexuality. A reflective and thoughtful young man who has studied at the University of Wittenberg. Hamlet is sometimes indecisive and hesitant, but at other times to prone to rash and impulsive acts.

Some Questions to Think About:
Why should his mother remarry her dead husbands brother and why so quickly? What does the appearance of his father’s ghost mean?
Why has he lost his mirth?
Why doesn’t he kill his uncle right away?
Why do woman behave the way they do?
Important Quotations by Hamlet:
"Oh, that this too sullied flesh would melt" (1.2.129)
upset by his mother’s remarriage to his nasty uncle hamlet contemplates suicide and see the world as an "unweeded garden"

"what a piece of work is man. how
noble in reason, how infinite in faculties" (2.2.304)
- hamlet tells R and G that he is melancholy, does not exercise, the world seems diseased, however noble seem the heavens - man delights not me--no, nor woman neither, though by your smiling you seem to say so

"oh, what a rogue and peasant slave am I!" (2.2.55)
- hamlet berates himself for doing nothing, even when motivated by a ghost, in comparison to the player whose emotions run away with him due to nothing but a fiction. So he plans the trap.

"Speak the speech, I pray you. as I pronounced it, trippingly on tie tongue"(3.2.1) - hamlet instructs the actors
- relevant to theme of play (words, appearances, exposure of Claudius) but not to hamlets state of mind

"tis now the very witching time of night"(3.2.387)
- hamlet is in the mood for
murder (having exposed Claudius’s guilt) when on the way to his mother

"how all occasions to inform against me"(4.4.33)
- just as he was moved by the player to berate himself, hamlet is moved but Fortinbras to take action, even for nothing. - Yet he meditates om tie difference between men and beasts (unsaid: sense of right and wrong, which ales the play soo powerful)

to what bas uses we may return, Horaio! Why may not imagination trace the noble dusty of Alexander (5.1.204) hamlet raises issue that too much thinking is bad for anyone. (He thinks so much) Claudius:

The new king of Denmark, Hamlets uncle, and the plays antagonist. The villain of the play, Claudius is a cunning, ambitious politician, driven by his sexual appetites and his lust for power, but he occasionally shows his signs of guilt and human feeling - his love for Gertrude for example, seems sincere, and his guilt is seen when he is praying for forgiveness. Gertrude:

The Queen of Denmark, Hamlets mother, recently married to Claudius, Gertrude loves Hamlet deeply, but she is a shallow, weak woman who seeks affection and status more urgently than moral rectitude or truth. Important Quotations by Gertrude:

"ay, that incestuous, that adulterous beast,...
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