Hamlet Act 1
1. a. The scene begins at midnight with fear,
mystery, and death setting the tone for the
b. Bernardo says, “How now, Horatio, you
tremble and look pale.”
Horatio: “What art thou that usurps’t this time
of night; it harrows me with fear and wonder.”
c. This is the period when the ghost of King
Hamlet appears
Plot: Flashback
• 1. What important details about what
happened before the death of King Hamlet
does Horatio’s speech provide?
Horatio details the happenings of war between
Norway and Denmark. Denmark, led by King
Hamlet, won and killed King Fortinbras. But now
Prince Fortinbras of Norway is ready for
4. It is a vision of happiness, joy and light. Now
they are faced with a mood of fear, uncertainty,
and sadness
Characterization: Claudius
3. Claudius’ speech honors his brother in the
beginning. He then uses his brother’s death as a
rallying cry for war against Fortinbras. His
speech shows equal parts of sorrow and
revenge. He finishes by thanking his guests, first
for attending the funeral and secondly for
attending the wedding of widow Queen
Gertrude and Cladius
Characterization: Hamlet
• 1. Hamlet is discontent because of 1) the
death of his father 2) the “unweeded garden”
or the kingdom falling apart into disarray 3)
his mother marrying his uncle
• 2. The ironic pun he uses is “ a little more than
kin, less than kind” and “not so my lord, I am
too much like the sun” Kin and kind are similar
sounding words and sun and son also are
similar sounding words
Theme: Mortality
1. What theme do Gertrude and Claudius
introduce when they urge Hamlet to forget
his grief?
Death is mysterious and is part of life. Hamle’ts
father died, and his father died, and eventually
Hamlet will die.
Theme: Appearance and Reality
1. What other theme is introduced when
Hamlet says, “Seems, madam? Nay, it is.”
Actions are complicated. What appears to be
true is only a small piece of what Hamlet is
feeling on the inside.
1. What is Hamlet’s essential dilemma?
He is upset that his mother married his Uncle in
such a short time. He can’t tell anyone and must
mourn in silence.
3. Hamlet’s soliloquy in which he compares the
world to an unweeded garden also introduces
which leading theme of the play?
Human nature is inherently evil and continues to
grow evil if society does not regulate our actions.
Characterization: Ophelia
2. Although generally regarded as sweet and
obedient, Ophelia is capable of giving an ironic
answer to her brother. What is it?
“But, good my brother, do not as some ungracious
pastors do, show me the steep and thorny way to
heaven whiles, like a puffed and reckless libertine,
himself the primrose path of dalliance treads and
recks not his own rede”
Don’t be like the priests who fail to practice what
they preach.