Hamlet; Answering Questions

This assignment is based on the novel Hamlet: Second Norton Critical Edition by William Shakespeare and edited by Robert S. Miola. Pay close attention to when one scene starts and ends so that you know exactly where you are, and this will make the citing accurate. When it comes to citing…

*** Your response must incorporate direct evidence from the text, formatted in MLA style. When citing from Hamlet, list ACT, SCENE, and LINE(s), separated by periods, enclosed in parentheses (page numbers not included), at close of quoted sentence. Example: In stating “Frailty, thy name is woman,” Hamlet emphasizes his anger and disgust with his mother over her hasty marriage to his father’s brother (I. 2.146).****

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You must answer all eight questions I have listed below. You don’t have to go crazy answering them, but make sure you include quotes in each answer for each question to support your words. Answer the question well and fully developed, backed up with quotes.

Most of the questions are focused on ACT 5 SCENES 1-2, but I also added pdf’s of ACTS 1, 2, 4 – to guide your comprehension of the story. Please answer all aspects of the eight questions, with quotes supported and cited from act 5.

1. Act IV, Scene 7: a. What specifically is Laertes so angry about? (more than one reason); b. Find specific lines in this scene that show Claudius’ manipulation of Laertes; c. What specific plots do Laertes and Claudius decide upon with regards to Hamlet?

2. Act V, Scene 1: a. What do we learn from the gravediggers about Ophelia’s death and burial? What does this reveal about class? b. What do you feel is the point of the gravedigger’s riddles and songs? Are they just comic relief or is there a deeper message? c. Consider Hamlet’s attitude towards the jester, Yorick? Why does he allude to Alexander the Great and Julius Caesar here?

3. Act, V, Scene 1: a. How does the violent argument between Hamlet and Laertes at Ophelia’s gravesite develop their characters and the plot? b. What prompts Laertes to jump into Ophelia’s grave? c. In this scene, Hamlet talks of his great love for Ophelia. Is his reaction further proof of his love, or a reaction mainly to Laertes’ display of grief?

4. Act V, Scene 2: a. What developments in Hamlet’s character are presented through the story of what happened on the boat? b. How do you explain Hamlet’s lack of guilt when sending Rosencratz and Guildenstern to their deaths? Do you feel Hamlet was justified in forging the king’s orders and dooming R &G? c. Why does Hamlet accept this wager and agree to the fencing match? What does Hamlet mean by his dialogue beginning with “Not a whit. We defy augury…” (lines 189-193). Do you think he feels confident about the duel? *make sure to read the annotations for help in analyzing lines 189-193.

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5. Act V, Scene 2: a. Why do you feel Hamlet asks for forgiveness/then go on to defend his actions to Laertes as madness in lines 195-212 (beginning (“Give me your parson, sir…”)? How might this reveal a significant shift in his character? b. What does Laertes say is his motive in still resenting Hamlet? How does this contribute to the presentation of revenge in the play? (lines 213-219). c. Do you think Hamlet realizes that he might not come out of this fight alive?

6. a. Do you think Gertrude kills herself knowingly in drinking from the poisoned cup? When Gertrude drinks from the cup, Claudius asks her not to drink and she refuses. Why does she disobey Claudius? Why doesn’t Claudius do more to stop Gertrude? c. Do you think Gertrude is aware of Claudius’ guilt in killing Old King Hamlet, her former husband?

7. a. Very briefly summarize what happens during the duel between Laertes and Hamlet, then closely analyze the final exchange of dialogue between Hamlet and Laertes. b. How do revenge and forgiveness play out here? (lines 288-305, beginning with “It is here, Hamlet…”).

8. a. Analyze the final exchange between Hamlet and Horatio (lines 306-332) and what is revealed about each character. b. Describe and analyze the final exchange between Fortinbras, Horatio, and the Ambassador (lines 333-end of play). How has revenge been served and/or not served by the play’s conclusion?

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