Hamlet

Includes questions specifically asking about this Shakespeare play. Questions about the movie version should be placed under "Movies." Questions about Shakespeare should be placed under his category under Authors and Poets.

5,825 Questions
William Shakespeare
Hamlet

Who were the friends of Claudius in Hamlet?

Polonius is about the only friend Claudius had and maybe the faithful guards and courtiers. Though even his allegiance is questionable, as he also would have served Hamlet Sr. similarly. Truly, Claudius does not have any notable friends in the play as most of the major roles are taken by his subordinates and enemies. For instance, Rosencrantz and Guildenstern followed their orders until their doom; however they were really just doing their jobs. It can be argued that Gertrude was Claudius' friend, considering she was his wife. But it is possible that like Polonius, she just shifted loyalties to suit who ever was in the seat of power.

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William Shakespeare
Hamlet

Who says O Hamlet what a falling off was there?

The Ghost, in Hamlet, Act 1 Scene 5

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William Shakespeare
Hamlet

In what scenario would Hamlet entertain the idea that his uncle was not a murderer?

He does visit the idea in Act 2 Scene 2: "The spirit I have seen may be a devil, and the devil hath power to assume a pleasing shape, yea, and perhaps out of my weakness and my melancholy, as he is most potent with these spirits, abuses me to damn me." He is thinking that maybe the ghost was lying, and told him what he wanted to hear. If he killed Claudius and Claudius was innocent, Hamlet would be a murderer and be damned. He needs some corroborative proof: "I'll have grounds more relative than this. The play's the thing wherein I'll catch the conscience of the King."

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William Shakespeare
Hamlet

What is the theatrical convention used in Hamlet?

All kinds of theatrical conventions are used in Hamlet, most of which we do not even notice. For example, although the characters die, we expect the actors to stay alive so they can take a curtain call. Although Hamlet and his mother are talking in her bedroom, they are not enclosed by four walls. The audience is always visible to the actors (indeed the actors make a point of facing the audience so they can be seen and heard) but the actors do not as a rule acknowledge that they are there. Soliloquys involve either a person talking aloud to himself, which we are supposed to think is totally normal, or an actor suddenly noticing the audience and talking to them. Asides involve a person making a remark ("A little more than kin and less than kind") which can be heard by everyone in the audience but not by anyone on the stage. In Hamlet as in most of Shakespeare's plays, most of the actors talk in iambic pentameter all the time, and have a habit of rhyming at the end of an act. ("Oh cursed spite/ That ever I was born to set it right" "The play's the thing/ Wherein I'll catch the conscience of the king.") We are not supposed to pay attention to this strange method of talking.

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William Shakespeare
Hamlet

What is hamlets reaction to the ghost in act 1 scene 5?

He is not afraid, but the guards are, and they try and hold him back when the ghost tells him to follow him. He understands that it is his father and listens to what he has to say.

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Hamlet

Why does Hamlet stab and kill Polonius?

Before Hamlet enters his mother's chamber, Polonius is having a discussion with Hamlet's mother Gertrude. As Hamlet enters the room, Polonius conceals himself behind a tapestry hanging from the wall. When he hears Gertrude begin to feel threatened by Hamlet, he cries out for help, thinking that he would kill them both. Hamlet hears Polonius, and believes him to be a rat/spy (possibly even King Claudius, but it is unclear if he truly believes this). Hamlet stabs through the tapestry killing Polonius, who remarks "O, I am slain".

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Hamlet

Who died in Hamlet onstage?

Polonius (stabbed from behind a tapestry), Hamlet (poisoned by Laertes' sword), Laertes (also poisoned by his own sword), Gertrude (drinks Claudius' poison)and Claudius (stabbed, and forced to drink his poison) all die onstage. Ophelia (drowned), Rosencrantz and Guildenstern (hung?) all die offstage.

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William Shakespeare
Hamlet

What is the physicality of Hamlet?

If this means, what does Hamlet physically look like, the answer is, he looks like whatever the actor playing him looks like. And to get an idea of how broadly that can vary, watch Adrian Lester's extremely effective Hamlet as directed by Peter Brook.

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Hamlet

What is meant by Hamlets line in Act four scene two I am glad of it a knavish speech sleeps in a foolish ear?

a knave being described as a tricky, deceitful person, i would imagine a simpler way of putting it would be that a fool takes a lie as truth

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Hamlet

What effect does meeting Fortinbra's captain have on Hamlet?

yes he has an effection

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Hamlet

What port was Hamlet set in?

elsinore in denmark

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Hamlet

What were the names of Hamlets parents?

Queen Gertrude, and King Hamlet (deceased)

Queen Gertrude then married King Hamlets' Uncle, Claudius.

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Hamlet

Where does Hamlet take place?

Hamlet is set in Elsinore, Denmark.

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Hamlet

Why are Rosencrantz and Guildenstern in Denmark?

The king and queen have sent for them to spy on Hamlet.

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Hamlet

What does Hamlet tell horatio about yorick?

He tells him that he knew him, and that he was a fellow of most infinite jest, of most excellent fancy. In other words, he was a funny guy. He also used to carry Hamlet piggyback when Hamlet was a child.

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William Shakespeare
Hamlet

What prompts Hamlet's outburst at Ophelia's graveside?

Hamlet sees Laertes acting like a jerk, putting on a big show of grief, with himself the center of attention, instead of being properly respectful for Ophelia's funeral service. It makes Hamlet angry.

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Hamlet

Odyssey is to Homer as Hamlet is to?

Shakespeare

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Hamlet

What society is Hamlet set in?

upper crust and of course Royalty since he was a prince after all.

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Greek and Roman Mythologies
Hamlet
Inherit the Wind

Beautiful young goddesses of nature?

hhhhh

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Hamlet

Why does ophelia sing street songs?

Because she's crazy (probably). One common interpretation is that she's confessing that she had sex with Hamlet, and another is that with her overprotective family dead, she's delirious with the sexual opportunities that have just opened up. The important thing is that it's very inappropriate, which shows she's not in her right mind.

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Hamlet

Who killed Queen Gertrude in Hamlet?

Claudius kills Gertrude as she accidentally drinks the poison that Claudius intended for Hamlet.

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William Shakespeare
Hamlet

What is Hamlets opinion of Claudius?

"Bloody, bawdy villain! Remorseless, treacherous, lecherous, kindless villain!" I guess that about sums it up.

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William Shakespeare
Hamlet

Why does Hamlet feel he must have evidence of Claudius's guilt?

Hamlet is told that his father was murdered by a ghost.

In the Elizabethan period ghosts were seen as omens and not to be trusted, thus the quote:

"What if it tempt you toward the flood my lord,

Or to the dreadful summit of the cliff

That beetle o'er his base into the sea,

And there assume some other horrible form

which might deprive your sovereignty of reason,

and draw you into madness?"

This quote from Horatio shows his worry for Hamlets life if he follows the ghost. Horatio believes that the appearance of the dead kings ghost is an omen.

However Hamlet believes the ghost is trustworthy at this point. however in the later scene, Hamlet begins to worry about the ghost's intentions

"the devil hath power

t'assume a pleasing shape. Yea, and perhaps,

out of my weakness and my melancholy,

As he is very potent with such spirits,

Abuses to damn me"

This quote in Act III, scene I shows Hamlets reflection of the ghost and his worries that it is the devil who has taken the form of his father to cause chaos in the world. Hamlet needs evidence to prove the ghost's story about his death so Hamlet organises the players to re-enact the Kings supposed death and observe Claudius for and reaction to prove or disprove the ghost

I hope this helps :)

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William Shakespeare
Hamlet

What was Hamlet's excuse in his second soliloquy for having done nothing about avenging his father's death?

It isn't an excuse. It's a doubt. "The spirit I have seen may be the devil, and the devil hath power to assume a pleasing shape. Yea and out of my weakness and my melancholy (as he is most potent with such spirits) abuses me--to damn me." Hamlet really doesn't know whether the ghost has told him the truth or not. He'd like to believe it, it sorts with his suspicions, but that is not good enough to commit murder, and the murder of a close kinsman and his king at that. We don't admire Macbeth much for that kind of murder. Thus he sets The Mousetrap.

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Hamlet

Who are the protagonist and antagonist in novel Hamlet?

Hamlet is a play by William Shakespeare. The protagonist is Hamlet, who's father is killed by his Uncle, Claudius, the antagonist.

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