Hamlet Questions Answered

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Act One
What? Why? How?

The Plot: Bernardo. Hamlet. France. Frailty. Unnatural.
Question 1: Laertes and Polonius provide several explanations of their reasons for Ophelia to stop seeing Hamlet. Both their opinions appear to be unreasonable, which is evident through their oppressive and restrictive attitudes. Laertes believes Ophelia is beneath Hamlet on social level, therefore he voices that the prince’s, “choice must be circumscribed.” This is unreasonable as Laertes is diminishing Ophelia’s confidence by referring to the fact that Hamlet’s partner will be chosen for him, and Ophelia would not fit this role, or be considered for it. Laertes continues to refer to Hamlet in a negative matter, stating that his, “love,” is, “not permanent,” and, “the perfume and suppliance of a minute,” meaning it is brief, and temporary. Polonius also presents unreasonable arguments as to why Ophelia should stop seeing Hamlet. The hypocritical nature of Polonius is evident through his commands to Ophelia: “To thine own self be true,” which is later followed by, “you’ll tender me a fool.” It is clear that Polonius is only concerned with sculpting Ophelia to act a specific way to ensure that his own reputation is not tainted. Polonius states, “give every man thine ear, but few thy voice.” This also acts as a contrast to the previous statement, as Ophelia cannot be true to herself if she has to, “reserve,” her true self. Evidently, Polonius offers an unreasonable opinion to encourage the discontinuation of Ophelia’s relationship with Hamlet. Question 3: Both soliloquies voiced by Hamlet contain similar ideas and concepts, which are crucial to understanding the nature of his character. The two soliloquies present Hamlet as an isolated figure, which is seen by the language such as, “and thy commandment all alone shall live,” and, “break, my heart, for I must hold my tongue.” These statements express the mental anguish Hamlet is experiencing in his, “distracted globe,” a metaphor...
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