to elements we are.) *

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Hamlet Notes
Hamlet: Considered one of the best plays ever written.
A. Was written mid-way through Shakespeare's career.
B.
First of his 17th century plays. (This is important because the
frame of mind of the Renaissance had changed. The Renaissance
had been a time of great hope and anticipation, but as the Renaissance
wore on, much of this was replaced by despair.)
C.
Belongs to a type of drama called the "revenge play."
duty of the next of kin. (Family)
Vengence is the
Most revenge plays are written with
a certain pattern:
1.
A crime is committed. (Usually murder)
2.
3.
The duty of vengeance was laid on the next of kin. (hamlet)
The discovery of the murderer by the avenger. (Usually with
difficulty.)
4.
5.
6.
D.
Obstacles that stand in the way of revenge.
Triumphant conclusion in which the murderer is appropriately
destroyed. (Since playgoers liked gore, the avenger and half
a dozen others perished in a bloody last act.)
It was common to inclulde at least one ghost and a mad
(insane) scene.
The most significant aspect of this play is Hamlet's character-the consistency and inconsistency of the man himself.
E.
Shakespeare introduces characters in the first scene - he also
introduces a particular kind of feeling that will support the whole
play. (Hamlet is not introduced this early.)
F.
SETTING:
G.
ATMOSPHERE: One of potential danger (chaos). Eerie.
Opening scene: dark and cold. (Make us realize how vulnerable
Elsinore, Denmark:
to elements we are.) *
H.
GHOST: Is the ealajyst of the play. (The thing that causes action.)
Is it illusion or reality? Guards test their perceptions by having others
witness the ghost. In the first scene, it is confirmed that a ghost exists.
The specter is identified as King Hamlet, Hamlet's dead father.
I.
CHIEF IMAGE PATTERN:
Disease, corruptness.
Characters of Hamlet:
Hamlet, Prince of Denmark
Son of the dead King Hamlet and nephew to the present ruler of Denmark; he has
returned to Elsinore because of his father's death.
Claudius, King of Denmark
Hamlet's uncle who succeeded his brother to the throne and married his brother's
wife. (Hamlet's mother.)
Gertrude
Queen of Denmark and mother of Hamlet.
Polonius
Elderly Lord Chamberlain and thus chief counselor to Claudius.
Horatio
Commoner who is a fellow student and loyal friend of Hamlet.
Laertes
Polonius' son, a student at the University of Paris who, like Hamlet, has retumed to
Elsinore because of King Hamlet's death.
Ophelia
Obedient daughter of Polonius and sister of Laertes; the young court lady who
Gertrude hoped would be Hamlet's bride.
Rosencrantz
One-time schoolmate and friend of Hamlet.
Guildenstern
One-time schoolmate and friend of Hamlet.
Fortinbras
Prince of Norway, a valiant young man who, like Hamlet, has lost a father.
Osric
Affected courtier who plays a minor role as the King's messenger and as umpire of
the fencing match between Hamlet and Laertes.
Voltemand
Danish courtier who is sent as ambassador to the Court of Norway.
Cornelius
Danish courtier who is sent as ambassador to the Court of Norway.
Marcellus
Danish officer on guard at the Castle of Elsinore.
Barnardo
Danish officer on guard at the Castle of Elsinore.
Francisco
Danish soldier on guard at the Castle of Elsinore.
Reynaldo
Young man whom Polonius instructs and sends to Paris to observe and report on
Laertes' conduct.
The G raved iggers
Two clowns who dig Ophelia's grave, the first of whom is engaged by Hamlet in a
grimly conversation.
Act Three: Climax
The emotional highpoint, or decisive
turning point of the action. The crisis
is often the same event as the climax.
The point in the plot where something
decisive happens to determine the
future course of events and the event
ual working out of the conflict.
Act Two:
Act IV: Resolution
Complication
The situation begins to point
Otherwise known as rising
action.
in a certain direction; plot is
Conflict is developed
unraveled; the central conflict
toward a high point of intensity
Plot unfolds; more characters
may be introduced.
The Plot Scheme
of
Shakespeare's
Plays
According to
is ended, or resolved. Plot
not necessarily "resolved"
in a positive way.
Freytag's
Pyramid
Act V:
Act One: Exposition
Sets the tone or mood,
introduces the characters
and setting, and provides
background information.
Central conflict is
introduced.
Catastrophe or
Denouement
Denouement is any material that
follows the resolution & clarifies
the plot.
In a tragedy, catastrophe
is the event that marks the ultimate
tragic fall of the central character.
Often, this event is the
central character's death.
Hamlet
Literary Terms to Note:
Tragedy: a drama that tells the story of the fall of a person of high status.
It celebrates the courage and dignity of a tragic hero in the face of inev
itable doom. Sometimes the doom is made inevitable by the tragic flaw of
the hero.
Tragic Flaw: a personal weakness that brings about the fall of a main
character in a tragedy.
Tragic Hero: a character of high status who possesses noble qualities
but who also has a tragic flaw, or personal weakness.
Soliloquy:
a speech delivered by a lone character that reveals the
speaker's innermost thoughts and feelings. It often serves to clarify the
action and/or foreshadow future events:
Flourish: the sound of trumpets blaring to signify the entrance or exit
of distinguished characters.
Aside: a statement made by a character in a play, intended to be heard
by the audience, but not by other characters in the play.
Freytag's Pyramid:
of a work's plot. It is
Shakespeare's plays,
them follow the same
a diagram which illustrates the rise, climax, and fall
a useful diagram with which to chart any of
because all of his plays contain five acts, and all of
plot sequence.
Revenge Play: A type of drama where revenge is a major theme and
vengeance is the duty of the of the next of kin. Revenge plays usually
follow a certain pattern. (See Hamlet notes.)
Play-within-a-play: A short, dramatic performance conducted within a
larger performance. Literally, a play-within-a-play.
The Tragedy of Hamlet, Prince of Denmark
Act 1, Scene 1:
Elsinore.
The guard's platform.
Act 1, Scene 2:
A chamber in the castle.
Act 1, Scene 3:
A room in Polonius' chambers.
Act 1, Scene 4:
The
Act 1, Scene 5:
Another part of the platform.
Act 2, Scene 1:
Act 2, Scene 2:
guard's platform.
A room in Polonius' chambers.
A room in the castle.
Act 3, Scene 1:
A room in the castle.
Act 3, Scene 2:
A hall in the castle.
Act 3, Scene 3:
A room in the castle.
Act 3, Scene 4:
The Queen's room.
Act 4, Scene 1:
A room in the castle.
Act 4, Scene 2:
Another room in the castle.
Act 4, Scene 3:
Another room in the castle.
Act 4, Scene 4:
A plain in Denmark.
Act 4, Scene 5:
Elsinore. A room in the castle.
Act 4, Scene 6:
Another room in the castle.
Act 4, Scene 7:
Another room in the castle.
Act 5, Scene 1:
A churchyard/graveyard.
Act 5, Scene 2:
A hall in the castle.
Name:
Act I Scene One:
Study Guide Hamlet Act I
1.
What does Horatio initially think about the guards' report of the ghost?
2.
What does Horatio say when Marcellus urges him to speak to the ghost?
3.
What does Horatio say about the ghost's armor?
4.
Summarize what Horatio explains to Marcellus about the combat between
Fortinbras of Norway & King Hamlet of Denmark:
5.
Summarize what Horatio tells Marcellus about the current situation between
Denmark and Norway:
6.
What does Horatio ask the second time the ghost appears?
7.
What makes the ghost disappear?
8.
Who does Horatio say must be told about the ghost and why?
Act I Scene Two:
1.
Summarize what the king reports in his opening speech:
2.
To where does Laertes ask permission to go? How does the king respond?
3.
What do King Claudius and Queen Gertrude say to Hamlet about his grief?
4.
Give two reasons Hamlet is upset about his mother's marriage:
5.
What does Hamlet tell Horatio about the food served for the funeral?
6.
How does Hamlet respond when Horatio tells him they've seen the ghost
of King Hamlet upon the platform?
Act I Scene Three:
1.
What advice does Laertes give his sister, Ophelia? How does she respond?
2.
What advice does Polonius give Laertes?
3.
Relate the conversation between Polonius and Ophelia.
What does Polonius
order Ophelia to do?
Act I Scene Four:
1.
How does Hamlet respond when Horatio asks him if the party taking place in the
castle is custom?
2.
What does Horatio warn Hamlet might happen if he follows the ghost?
Act I Scene Five:
1. To what does the ghost say he is doomed? Why?
For how long?
2. What does the ghost of King Hamlet reveal about his death to Prince Hamlet?
3. What does the ghost say the people of Denmark believe about his death?
4. What does the ghost tell Hamlet to do about his mother, Queen Gertrude?
5. How does Hamlet respond to the ghost's call to revenge?
6.
Name TWO things about which Hamlet makes the guards and Horatio swear:
Name:
Study Guide: Hamlet Act II
Act II Scene One:
1.)
What does Polonius instruct Reynaldo to do and what does this reveal about
Polonius1 character?
2.)
What does Ophelia report to her father about Hamlet?
3.)
What does Polonius believe must be cause of Hamlet's strange behavior?
Act II Scene Two:
4.)
What do Claudius and Gertrude ask Rosencrantz & Guildenstern to do?
5.)
Give the two reasons Gertrude offers as an explanation for Hamlet's "madness":
6.)
What news do Voltemand and Cornelius bring from Norway?
7.) What does Polonius tell Gertrude & Claudius is the cause of Hamlet's "madness"?
8.)
Describe how Gertrude, Claudius, & Polonius plan to "test" the cause of Hamlet's
madness:
9.)
Describe the interaction between Polonius & Hamlet in the library:
10.)
What do Rosencrantz & Guildenstern admit to Hamlet?
11.)
What does Hamlet tell Rosencrantz & Guildenstern about his own "madness"?
12.) Re-read the soliloquy at the end of Act II. In the first half of the soliloquy, Hamlet is
upset. What is bothering him? (Give details.)
13.) Re-read the soliloquy at the end of Act II. In the second halt of the soliloquy, Hamlet
has an idea. Describe how Hamlet plans to "entrap the conscience of the King":
(Give details)
Name:
Study Guide: Hamlet Act III
Act III Scene One:
1.
Relate the gist of the conversation that occurs between Claudius and Rosencrantz and
Guildenstem:
2. What does Gertrude say to Ophelia?
Why might she m
3. Re-read Hamlet's To Be or Not to Be" soliloquy. What is he considering, and what
does he say causes us to bear the troubles that we have?
4. Describe the interaction between Hamlet & Ophelia. What must have happened for
Hamlet to have behaved so?
5. After observing Hamlet's & Ophelia's conversation, Claudius makes a conclusion,
then a decision. What are they?
6.
Polonius thinks Claudius' idea is a good one. But what does he suggest should be
done first?
Act III Scene Two:
7.
What does Hamlet instruct the actor(s) to do?
Not to do?
8.
9.
10.
11.
What does Hamlet ask Horatio to do?
Describe Hamlet's behavior toward Ophelia during the play. Why does he act this
way?
Describe the scene that makes Claudius rise to his feet. What is the significance of
Claudius' reaction? Who confirms for Hamlet that Claudius is guilty?
How does Hamlet react to Rosencrantz & Guildenstern when they are sent to
summon him to his mother?
Act III Scene Three:
12. Where does Claudius say Hamlet is going? Why? With whom?
13. What stops Hamlet from killing Claudius? What reason does Hamlet give?
Act III Scene Four:
14.
Describe the interaction between Hamlet & his mother:
15.
Who gets killed?
16.
How?
Why?
Explain:
What does Hamlet reply when Gertrude asks him what she should do?
he want her to do this?
Why does
Name:
Study Guide: Hamlet Act IV
Act IV Scene One:
1.
What does Claudius learn from Gertrude?
Act IV Scene Two:
2. What are Rosencrantz & Guildenstern trying to find out?
Why?
Act IV Scene Three:
3. Describe Claudius' plan for Hamlet's arrival in England:
Act IV Scene Four:
4.
What does Hamlet learn from his discussion with the captain of the soldiers?
5.
Re-read the Hamlet's soliloquy to answer: What is bothering Hamlet & why?
Act IV Scene Five:
6.
Explain the significance of Ophelia's "nonsense" rhymes:
7.
What is Laertes' ambition?
Act IV Scene Six:
8. Discuss the content of Hamlet's letter to Horatio:
Act IV Scene Seven:
9. Describe Claudius' & Laertes' plan for Hamlet:
10. Explain how Ophelia dies:
Name:
Study Guide: Hamlet Act V
Act V Scene One:
1. What, and about whom, is the controversy the gravedigger & his mate are discussing?
2.
Who is Yorick and why was he special to Hamlet?
3.
About what do Hamlet & Laertes argue at Ophelia's grave?
Act V Scene Two:
4.
Retell what Hamlet reveals to Horatio:
5. What is wagered in the duel between Laertes & Hamlet?
6.
What does Horatio tell Hamlet about the duel?
7.
Describe how Gertrude dies:
8.
Describe what happens to cause Laerte's death:
9.
10.
Describe how Claudius dies:
Describe how Hamlet dies. What does he prophesy?
11. Tell what Fortinbras finds.
What is Fortinbras' reaction?
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