Hamlet Discussion Questions

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Hamlet Questions Act 2

1. Pyrrhus resembles Hamlet in that his mission is to kill a king in revenge for his father's death. He also resembles Claudius in that he is the murderer of the rightful king of Troy.

2. He wants to be worked up to act like Pyrrhus; or he wants to be worked up to kill the Pyrrhus in his own plot.

3. Hamlet's fear of and fascination with death and his repulsion from sex. This attitude towards death has been present since the start of the play, but his mission to kill Claudius is likely to have made death far more of a real concern to the prince, less of an academic interest. The 'Fishmonger' line at II.ii.172 has got nothing to do with death or sex.

4. Suspicious: Polonius believes that it is likely that his son is up to no good in Paris. Forgetful: Polonius forgets his plan to trap his son halfway thorough explaining it to Reynaldo. Gullible: Polonius is completely taken in by Hamlet's act of madness. Arrogant: Polonius believes himself to be a genius.

5. When Hamlet says that he thinks the ghost that he has seen 'may be a devil' in the last lines of this act, the audience may be justifiably surprised. Nowhere previously in the act has Hamlet doubted the ghost's words or identity. In a way, it is convenient for Hamlet to believe that the ghost is a devil.

6. Hamlet says to Polonius: 'Use every man after his desert and who shall 'scape whipping' (II.ii.485). This is a casual remark and is in part an insult to Polonius, suggesting that if he were treated according to what he deserves then he would be whipped.

7. When he visits Ophelia shortly before II.i., Hamlet's madness is supposedly that of melancholy unrequited lover. He is pale, mournful and silent, seemingly driven to distraction by the loss of Ophelia, according to Polonius.

8. When the King greets Rosencrantz and Guildenstern at the start of the act, he says he isn't sure of the reason for the prince's madness. What he is sureof,...
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