Hamlet Acts I-III Study Questions
Hamlet is a complex character. Identify one aspect of his character
which prevents him from taking action. Support your opinion with examples.
Hamlet undergoes many forms of stress throughout the play, and, as a result, his complexities are quite apparent. While some of Hamlet's attributes work in his favour, others, such as his strange relationships with women and ever present insanity, only act to hurt him. Hamlet's studying at Wittenburg also serves to his disadvantage. While attending this progressive school, Hamlet has obviously gained vast amounts of knowledge, as illustrated in his Pyrrhus speech (II:ii:455). A result of Hamlet's advanced education is his desire to obtain proof of Claudius' guilt before he takes action. Rather than act quickly, as was the case with Fortinbras' actions, Hamlet would much rather establish guilt in a (relatively) calm and collected manner. While Hamlet could have easily taken Claudius' life, he instead wrote new lines for the play "The Murder of Gonzago" and stated he would observe Claudius' looks (II:ii:601). A special type of individual is required kin order to develop such a plan, and had Hamlet not been so well educated, he might have acted quickly or without thought. Hamlet's plan is carried off and Horatio "did very well note" (II:ii:294) that Claudius showed
signs of guilt. Having established the evidence his Wittenburg education would require for action, Hamlet now felt he could now enact revenge on Claudius. Any action against his uncle was postponed for sometime, but the complexities of Hamlet's character necessitated the delay.
Explain how Polonius' personal failings and questionable values compromise his worth as Principal Secretary of State and thus, reflect adversely upon the court of Claudius.
The character of Polonius holds a position of power within Hamlet, and therefore is expected to hold a similar measure of responsibility. A corrupt and unfit...
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