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November 17, 2008

Shaking Down Shakespeare’s _Hamlet_

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21 November 2008

ENG 225 Students:

What are the similarities between William Shakespeare's Othello and Hamlet, two English dramas we have examined closely for this course? What . . .

. . . themes are present in both of these works, i.e. revenge, etc.? Are Iago (as antagonist of Othello) and Hamlet (as protagonist of Hamlet) both after the same particular ideal? Are their reasons/justifications different? If so, how?

What about elements of the supernatural--had Shakespeare included it in both plays? If so, where, and why? Is one narrative more "believable" than the other?

Think about the settings of both plays. Is it of any significance that neither of them take place in England (Hamlet only has a brief encounter with England), the birthplace of the author and also , presumably, of his intended audience at the Globe Theatre? Was does this say about Shakespeare's intended audience and how he felt about other countries? Hamlet is, largely, about Denmark. Have we read any other great works of literature this semester that also involve the "Danes"? Hint: One of them involves a troll-slayer.

Quiz/Discussion Questions on Shakespeare’s Hamlet from November 19-21, 2008


1.     Explain how the play started off with the watchmen seeing the ghost. Was Hamlet excited about this? Did he believe the watchmen? Did he believe what the ghost told him? Who was the ghost? What does the ghost ask of Hamlet? Give examples from the text.


2.     Explain how Hamlet proved Claudius guilty. What were his feelings towards Claudius? Did he kill Claudius right after? Why or why not? Give specific examples from the text.


3.     Explain the idea of a “play within the play”. Who was in the play within? Why was there a play within the play? Give specific examples from the text.


4.     Discuss how Laertes and Claudius ensured Hamlet’s death? Did Hamlet have any chance of coming out of the match alive? Give specific examples from the text.


5.     Explain Claudius’ plan to kill Hamlet. Did it work out the way he panned it? Why or why not? What was the actual outcome? Give specific examples from the text.


6.     How does Hamlet explain his mother’s re-marriage to Claudius? Does Hamlet approve with this marriage? Why or why not? What is the actual relationship between Hamlet and Claudius? Are they related? Give specific examples from the text.


7.     Where does Claudius plan to send Hamlet? Why did he plan to send Hamlet away? What were his orders to the King regarding Hamlet? Were these orders obeyed? Why or why not? Give specific examples from the text.


8.     Who is buried at the end of Act 5? Why did this person die and how did he or she die? What were Hamlet’s feelings toward his or her death? Give specific examples from the text.


9.     Why does Fortinbras say at the end of the play that Hamlet has proved to be “Royal”? Why did he say what he said and do you agree with that? Give specific examples from the text.


10.  What kind of a king is Claudius? Is he liked by the other characters? What evidence shows what kind of a monarch he is and what kind of a man he is?


11.  Why does Hamlet want to kill Claudius? Explain why he doesn’t kill him right after the play? Why did he go to his mother’s chamber? What happened in his mother’s chamber? Did he kill Claudius there? Give specific examples from the text.


12.  How did Ophelia die? a) stabbed    b) drowned   c) choked  d) poisoned


13.  (True or False) Circle one. Horatio is Hamlet’s close friend and fellow schoolmate at the University of Wittenberg.


14.  Name the two things that Claudius poisoned in order to kill Hamlet.


These questions, and more, are fair game for the final exam. Please consider and study the questions given by group III in their presentation and group activity (Jeopardy!) on Wednesday, AND their in-class reading-check/quiz, and their in-class discussion questions for Friday.

To pass or not to pass (the final exam) . . . that is the question!

Dr. Hobbs

Posted by lhobbs at November 17, 2008 08:33 PM

Readers' Comments:

Myles Godet
Dr. Lee Hobbs
November 20, 2008
English 225

Group three made their presentation on Shakespeare’s play Hamlet. The play Hamlet is considered to be a play within a play. The main characters in this play are Hamlet, his mother Queen Gertrude, King Hamlet, and King Claudious. The plot of the play is that Hamlet is trying to get revenge for the death of his father. He sees the ghost of his father who tells him that he was killed by his brother. He plots to get revenge for his father’s murder but the plan is found out and a plan to take his life is also formed. In the end Hamlet, Queen Gertrude, and King Claudious die as a result of a poison that was meant for Hamlet.

Posted by: Myles Godet at November 21, 2008 11:59 AM

Anna Riss
Engl 225.01

3. Hamlet:
Explain in a paragraph how Hamlet responds to his mother’s remarriage. Who does she marry? Does Hamlet agree with this marriage? Why or why not?

Posted by: Anna R. at November 24, 2008 03:14 PM

5. Hamlet- Hamlet is prepared to kill Claudius, but stops himself because he sees Claudius praying. Why is it because Claudius is praying, does Hamlet delay his death?

Posted by: alex.slavin at November 25, 2008 01:34 PM

Hamlet- Why does Hamlet wait so long to kill Claudius? Explain in a paragraph why he waits so long and if there is a reason behind it?

Posted by: Nichole T. at November 26, 2008 03:15 AM

Claudius and Gertrude got married soon after the death of he first husband King Hamlet. Could this event happen to be indications that Gertrude and Claudius were involved with each other prior to King Hamlet’s death, or did Gertrude re-marry to prevent loss of status within the kingdom?

Posted by: S.Tavares at November 28, 2008 03:51 PM

What tone does the ghost sighting in the beginning of the story create for Hamlet?

Posted by: Joseph S. at November 29, 2008 12:42 PM

List and explain some of Hamlet’s actions that displayed him attempt to get revenge on Claudius or show his guilt?

Posted by: Walter P at November 30, 2008 11:37 PM

Suicide is found in Hamlet. How does the play portray suicide in a moral and religious aspect?

Posted by: Paola S at December 1, 2008 12:28 AM

Myron Kirchner
Extra credit exam questions

Explain how Hamlet can go from an enigmatic and clever man, to a wild man who doesn’t think before he acts. How do the other characters feel about this?

Posted by: Myron Kirchner at December 1, 2008 03:01 AM

At the end of the play Hamlet, what happens when the new king Claudius’ plan backfires?

Posted by: Quinten J at December 1, 2008 08:11 AM

5. Hamlet- Explain how and why Hamlet was killed and what did he say to his friend Horatio while dying.

Posted by: John Daniel at December 1, 2008 10:49 AM

In the tragedy Hamlet, Hamlet during the play, maintains that he is simulating insanity, but his role of a deranged man is convincing that it may be safe to admit that readers feel as though he has actually become a madman at various stages in the play. Which is true, is Hamlet simply playing a role or is he really crazy? Using quotations and other evidence, cite for either claim.

Posted by: Neal Carter at December 1, 2008 12:21 PM

1.) Do you think Hamlet is really insane or is he still just faking it? Use support from the text.

Posted by: Jonathan T. at December 1, 2008 12:25 PM

Strahil S

Engl 225.01


5. Discuss the idea about revenge in Hamlet. Is revenge at any cost justified? Do you find any link
between revenge and Hamlet's "to be or not to be" dilemma?

Posted by: Strahil at December 3, 2008 07:47 AM

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