Hamlet Journal Questions: Acts 1 and 2 1. Many of Shakespeare’s plays open with minor characters, and it isn’t until later in which the main character appears. Hamlet is no exception. The Ghost’s first appearance comes not in front of Hamlet but in front of the guards. How does the order of these appearances play into Hamlet’s state of mind and credibility? You will have to read further into Act 1 to completely answer this question and see the effect of the opening scene. 2. Family dynamics are highlighted in the opening acts of the play. Explain the members and dynamics of each family that plays a role in the opening acts. Compare the secondary families to Hamlet and his family. 3. As Foster stated, characters are driven by their motivations and desires. Begin to keep track of the characters motivations and desires that are being introduced. Don’t just focus in on the major characters, but also look at the minor characters. Cite evidence for at least four characters’ motives. 4. Shakespeare uses many devices to enhance the meaning of a scene. In each scene, find two examples of devices used and explain the importance of that device within the context of the scene. Consider both minor devices that affect a moment in the text and major devices that affect the text as a whole. At this point, some of the major devices may be theories to test until you finish the play. Reach outside your comfort zone to apply devices that you usually don’t examine. 5. Going back to our good friend Foster, he argued that the way in which a novel is divided can add to a text’s overall meaning. Plays are no exception. Plays are divided into acts and then subsequent scenes. For each act, explain how one scene is developed. In other words, I want you to discuss what is important about the way the scene opens and closes in terms of the act as a whole. Consider who the act functions.