Hamlet Discussion Questions

You can use these to start the discussion, or you can ask your own questions or comment on other features of the play.

  • What is "rotten in the state of Denmark," as Marcellus tells us?  What do we learn about the situation in Scene I? In Scene II?
  • In what ways is Scene II a contrast to Scene I?   What do we learn about Gertrude, Claudius, and Hamlet in this scene?
  • What is the function of the Polonius-Ophelia-Laertes family in this play? What parallels exist between their situation and that of the ruling family?
  • What does Hamlet learn from the Ghost's speech? 
  • Why does this act open with Polonius and Reynaldo?  What does this tell us about Polonius's character, and what theme or motif does it introduce in the play?
  • How does the interaction between Hamlet and Rosencrantz and Guildenstern help to explain what's wrong with Hamlet?  Why are Rosencrantz and Guildenstern in Denmark?
  • The First Player's speech is often cut in performances of the play.  Explain why it is important and why it should not be cut .
  • Hamlet's "O what a rogue and peasant slave am I" is the first of his soliloquies. What is he saying, and how does this set of words help to move him to action?
  • What does he decide to do at the end of this speech?
  • What is the subject of Hamlet's second soliloquy, the famous "To be or not to be" speech?
  • Why is he so cruel to Ophelia immediately thereafter?
  • What happens in the "play-within-a-play"?  How do the speeches and actions reflect on events in the kingdom of Denmark?  How does the king respond?
  • In what way is Hamlet's second major interaction with Rosencrantz and Guildenstern (III.ii.375-415) different from his first encounter with them?
  • Why does Hamlet decline to take action against Claudius in III.iii ?
  • What happens in III.iv (the closet scene)?  Why is this death so important for the play, or what does the death of this figure represent?
  • Based on what you've seen in III.iv , do you think Gertrude knew about the murder?
  • Is Hamlet really mad in this play, or is merely pretending to be mad? (Find lines that support your answer.)
  • A foil is a character who is like the protagonist in some respects but who has contrasting qualities that "reflect" or illuminate the traits of the main character.  Who are Hamlet's foils, and in what ways do their characters shed light on his?
  • Do Hamlet and Fortinbras meet in IV.iv ? Why is this significant?
  • Why is Ophelia mad?  Does anything she say make sense?  What happens to her at the end of Act IV? What does her madness and death symbolize about the kingdom?
  • Look at the scene with Laertes and Claudius ( IV.vii ).  What plans do they have for Hamlet?  How does this scene establish Laertes as a foil for Hamlet?
  • Why is Hamlet less present in this act than in the previous three?
  • Why does this scene begin with two clowns trading jokes?  Do their jokes make any sense in the context of the play? 
  • Where do Hamlet and Laertes fight in V.ii ?
  • Who is Osric , and why is he included in the play?
  • Does Hamlet realize that he might not come out of this fight alive? See V.ii.225-238.
  • What is the outcome of the fight scene at the end?
  • When Gertrude drinks from the cup, Claudius asks her not to drink and she refuses.  Has she ever disobeyed Claudius before?
  • Who is alive at the end of the play, and how do the others meet their ends?
  • Why is Fortinbras's presence important?

D. Campbell

hamlet discussion questions and answers

William Shakespeare

Everything you need for every book you read..

Welcome to the LitCharts study guide on William Shakespeare's Hamlet . Created by the original team behind SparkNotes, LitCharts are the world's best literature guides.

Hamlet: Introduction

Hamlet: plot summary, hamlet: detailed summary & analysis, hamlet: themes, hamlet: quotes, hamlet: characters, hamlet: symbols, hamlet: literary devices, hamlet: quizzes, hamlet: theme wheel, brief biography of william shakespeare.

Hamlet PDF

Historical Context of Hamlet

Other books related to hamlet.

  • Full Title: The Tragedy of Hamlet, Prince of Denmark
  • When Written: Likely between 1599 and 1602
  • Where Written: Stratford-upon-Avon or London, England
  • When Published: First Quarto printed 1603; Second Quarto printed 1604; First Folio printed 1623
  • Literary Period: Renaissance
  • Genre: Tragic play; revenge play
  • Setting: Elsinore Castle, Denmark, during the late Middle Ages
  • Climax: After seeing Claudius’s emotional reaction to a play Hamlet has had staged in order to make Claudius face a fictionalized version of his own murder plot against the former king, Hamlet resolves to kill the Claudius without guilt.
  • Antagonist: Claudius
  • Point of View: Dramatic

Extra Credit for Hamlet

The Role of a Lifetime. The role of Hamlet is often considered one of the most challenging theatrical roles ever written, and has been widely interpreted on stage and screen by famous actors throughout history. Shakespeare is rumored to have originally written the role for John Burbage, one of the most well-known actors of the Elizabethan era. Since Shakespeare’s time, actors John Barrymore, Laurence Olivier, Ian McKellen, Jude Law, Kenneth Branagh, and Ethan Hawke are just a few actors who have tried their hand at playing the Dane. When Daniel Day-Lewis took to the stage as Hamlet in London in 1989, he left the stage mid-performance one night after reportedly seeing the ghost of his real father, the poet Cecil Day-Lewis, and has not acted in a single live theater production since.

Shakespeare or Not?  There are some who believe Shakespeare did not actually write many—or any—of the plays attributed to him. The most common “Anti-Stratfordian” theory is that Edward de Vere, the Earl of Oxford, wrote the plays and used Shakespeare as a front man, as aristocrats were not supposed to write plays. Others claim Shakespeare’s contemporaries such as Thomas Kyd or Christopher Marlowe may have authored his works. Most contemporary scholarship, however, supports the idea that the Bard really did compose the numerous plays and poems which have established him, in the eyes of many, as the greatest writer in history.

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Hamlet:‌ ‌Q&A‌ ‌—‌ ‌Find‌ ‌Answers‌ ‌to‌ ‌Your‌ ‌Questions‌

hamlet discussion questions and answers

Hamlet is one of the most innovative and influential plays of William Shakespeare. That’s only natural that the readers may have some questions about it. On this page, our writers have collected the most searched answers to the most pressing issues. By clicking on the links, you can see the full versions.

❓ Hamlet Q&A

Do you think hamlet is a problem play or a tragedy why.

Hamlet is a problem play, as it represents the theme of madness. Hamlet tries to make people think he is harmless, pretending to be mad. But examining the death of his father, Hamlet is losing touch with reality.

What is the climax of Hamlet?

Hamlet is distinguished by the presence of not one but two climaxes. The first peak is the death of Polonius in act 3, which breaks the tension that had built up. The final climax is the battle in the finale of the tragedy.

What was the “moment of final suspense” in Hamlet?

The reader can regard the duel in Act 5, scene 2 of Shakespeare’s tragedy as the “moment of final suspense.” In the scene before, Hamlet agreed to have the fencing match with Laertes. Their duel becomes the climax of the play and its “moment of suspense.”

Which details in Hamlet reflect Elizabethan society?

The play reflects its society by mirroring the monarchical form of government. Revealing social norms related to the time, it serves as a commentary on culture. Shakespeare displayed people of the Elizabethan age by showing the cultural and social conditions.

How is Laertes a foil for Hamlet?

Throughout Shakespeare’s play, Hamlet goes on a quest to take revenge against his father’s murderer. Some characters support Hamlet, while others scheme against him. Laertes is one of those who share the same goal with the main character. Both of them share a motivation to seek revenge for their fathers’ murders.

Why does Hamlet act crazy?

Two of the characters that showed signs of insanity are Claudius and Ophelia. Hamlet faked his madness at the beginning of the play for the sake of revenge for his father. However, later he was indeed behaving like a mad man.

How did King Hamlet die?

In the famous play by Shakespeare, King Hamlet dies at the hands of his envious brother – Claudius. Being not the only child in the family, Claudius does not have much power. The villain poisons King Hamlet and takes his place on the throne.

In Hamlet, act 1, scene 2, which dramatic convention does Shakespeare employ most?

The primary use of the dramatic convention in act 1 scene 2 is the introduction of a significant conflict. Claudius states that he has married the widow of his brother, King Hamlet. It results in the protagonist’s inner turmoils that influence the plot the most.

Why does Polonius think Hamlet is mad?

The main reason why Polonius thinks that Hamlet is mad is because of his obsessive love for Ophelia. As a result, he forbids his daughter to communicate with the prince for her safety and dignity.

What conflict(s) does Hamlet experience inside himself?

Inner conflicts that Hamlet experiences are connected with the revenge for his father’s death. He tries to deal with grief and betrayal by his loved ones. In doing so, he contemplates life and death, religion, and duty.

What are Hamlet’s last words?

Hamlet gets wounded at the duel with Claudius and tells his last words to his friend Horatio. The prince reflects on Denmark’s political situation and leaves a remark, “the rest is silence.”

Which statement best explains why Hamlet alludes to Pyrrhus throughout act 2, scene 2 of Hamlet?

The allusion about Pyrrhus and Prim directly refers to Hamlet’s idea of avenging his father. He strives to murder his uncle, Claudius. The man poisoned King Hamlet and married the hero’s mother.

How do the actors’ physical appearances affect their adaptations of Hamlet?

The actors’ physical appearance in Hamlet helps to show the spectators the emotional state of the characters. When the main character looks clean and neat, it shows that he is not insane. The rationality of the character’s actions is depicted through the looks.

Which statement best describes why Shakespeare’s Hamlet is a complex character?

Hamlet is a complicated character, driven mainly by inner conflicts. His intense emotions and moral dilemmas affect the plot and everyone’s lives. What makes Hamlet’s personality complex and multifaceted is the chaos of his own emotions.

What incident serves to initiate the conflict in Hamlet?

There are many conflicts presented in the entire play. However, one of the crucial arguments occurred on the basis of the death of Hamlet’s father. Gertrude, Hamlet’s mother, reveals to him that his father deceased. She also married his uncle Claudius, which adds to Hamlet’s frustration.

What does the Ghost tell Hamlet?

The Ghost of Hamlet’s father appears in act 1, scene 5, and gives guidance to his son. He reveals the cause of his death: his brother, King Claudius, poisoned him when he was asleep. The Ghost demands Hamlet take revenge on Claudius but to do no harm to Queen Gertrude for her actions.

What are examples of dramatic irony in Hamlet?

In Hamlet , dramatic irony is created when only Hamlet and the readers learn the truth about the King’s death. His pretense of being mad also results in this type of irony. He fakes it for everyone, and other characters believe in his insanity.

Which excerpt from Hamlet, act 1, scene 1 is a stage direction?

The words “Enter to him BERNARDO” (Shakespeare’s Hamlet ) at the beginning of act 1, scene 1, is an example of stage direction. This excerpt is the direction to the actors added by the playwright that explains what they have to do.

Which words best describe Gertrude in act 4 of Hamlet?

Gertrude is presented as a multifaceted character, plus her portrait changes throughout the play. However, Act 4 shows her as defensive, as Hamlet made her see her marriage’s misfortune. In some cases, Gertrude appears nervous and indecisive.

What does Hamlet mean when he refers to the “pangs of dispriz’d love”?

The phrase “pangs of dispriz’d love” refers to Hamlet’s hurtful love for Ophelia. It may also indicate the injustice of Hamlet’s father’s death.

When Polonius says, “brevity is the soul of wit,” why is it ironic?

Polonius is the character of the play Hamlet whose words and speeches cannot be called short. He is almost always verbose and overly detailed, repeating his words. Consequently, his phrase “brevity is the soul of wit” contradicts his actions.

Which passage from Hamlet, act 2, scene 1 is an example of setting?

Act 2, scene 1 of Hamlet begins with the passage “A room in Polonius’ house,” which describes the stage’s setting. Shakespeare chose this place to depict the privacy of Polonius’ dishonest actions and intentions.

Does Hamlet love Ophelia?

Hamlet and Ophelia’s relationship is complicated. The prince had genuine feelings towards Ophelia before his father’s death. Following his mother’s second marriage, he develops trust issues. These factors, combined with progressing madness, leads to his anger and misogyny. Yet, at Ophelia’s grave, Hamlet proclaims his love to her again.

What words suggest that Claudius plans to control Hamlet?

Claudius is afraid of Hamlet and wants to silence him and put “ fetters upon this fear. ” He plans on sending his nephew away to England with Rosencrantz and Guildenstern.

Which line would most likely be written by a reader analyzing Hamlet through the formalist lens?

The recurring scenes of corruption, revenge, and insanity lead to an understanding of antagonists’ inevitable tragic deaths. The formalist perspective in Shakespeare’s Hamlet creates the basis for this analysis.

What is “get thee to a nunnery” meaning?

The nunnery scene is a result of Hamlet’s issues with both his mother and Ophelia. To his mother, the phrase is a call to change her promiscuous ways. To Ophelia, it is mostly an expression of Hamlet’s jealousy – if he can’t have her, no one else should.

What best describes Hamlet’s view of death?

Hamlet’s views on death change throughout the play. He contemplates the link between mortality and religion, fearing the afterlife. Hamlet continues reflecting on the topic and comes to accept it. Death doesn’t seem too scary or dreadful until he starts to see the value of life.

Which best describes a change an adaptation would make if Hamlet was set in modern times?

As time changes, creators interpret the themes from Hamlet differently. It leads to various adaptations that include technologies, current culture and ideas. In other words, what the audience can see in today’s world, they can recognize in modern Hamlet versions.

Which theme in Hamlet is reinforced by the scene with the gravediggers?

The graveyard scene plays an essential role, raising the theme of mortality. In Act 5, Scene 2, the gravediggers make comments on mortality, equality, injustice as they are digging a grave. Hamlet is preoccupied with the issue and reflects on death and murder.

What’s the meaning behind “…for there is nothing either good or bad but thinking makes it so” in Act 2, scene 2?

The phrase conveys Hamlet’s inner emotional state and philosophy. Hamlet is depressed because his father died. Similarly to the state of Denmark, he is also physically and mentally constrained. It is due to Claudius usurped the throne and married his mother. These two factors summarize the meaning of the phrase.

What line from act 3 of Hamlet supports the conclusion that Claudius fears his own fate?

“What if this cursed hand Were thicker than itself with brother’s blood Is there not rain enough in the sweet heavens To wash it white as snow?”

Claudius’ fears are connected to the murder of his brother and the consequent punishment he perceives as a real curse.

In act 1, scene 1, which character does Shakespeare use most to create suspense?

Act 1, scene 1 of Hamlet , sets the tone for the entire play. The sense of suspense and fear is created through the ghost. It’s a character that looks like the deceased King of Denmark.

Which statement best describes Gertrude’s development between Act 1 and Act 4?

Hamlet’s mother and the Queen of Denmark, Gertrude, is one of the play’s main characters. Her development between Act I and Act IV can be summarized as follows – she becomes less confident in her assertions.

What excerpt from act 3 of Hamlet supports the conclusion that Hamlet is critical of women?

Hamlet’s view of women is indeed critical and suspicious:

“I have heard of your paintings too, well enough. God has given you one face, and you make yourselves another. You jig and amble, and you lisp, you nickname God’s creatures and make your wantonness your ignorance.”

Which statement best describes why King Claudius is a complex character in act 3 of Hamlet?

After the first meeting with King Claudius, it seems to us that he is evil, cruel, and heartless. Nevertheless, then we realize that his character is more complex. Claudius’ character is expressed in act 3, particularly in the fact that he regrets his actions.

What does the first soliloquy reveal about Hamlet?

Hamlet’s monologue reveals the immense grief that he feels after losing his father. He is distressed about the fact that his mother married another man after only a month of his father’s passing. He is unable to show the full extent of his pain to his friends and relatives.

Which word best describes Laertes in Act IV of Hamlet?

The word that best describes Laertes is “passionate.” In act IV, he is informed of his father’s death and decides to return to Denmark. Claudius persuades Laertes to take revenge on Hamlet for his father’s death. His zeal characterizes him as a passionate person who follows his heart.

What does Hamlet mean by “shuffled off this mortal coil”?

Contemplating suicide in his soliloquy “To be or not to be,” Hamlet talks about “shuffling off this mortal coil.” As an idiom, the phrase means “to die and free oneself from the troubles of life.”

How does the play-within-a-play in act 3 of Hamlet represent Elizabethan drama?

In Act III of Hamlet , actors perform the killing of King Hamlet. His son assumes that theatrical plays have a real influence on its viewers and can reveal the truth. It represents Elizabethian drama by teaching a spiritual lesson about human behavior.

If Shakespeare kills the character of Hamlet, what dramatic convention would he be using?

The unhappy ending is the dramatic convention. The author would utilize it to kill Hamlet at the end of the play. Hamlet can be considered both a comedy and a tragedy. So, such a technique seems fitting in the Shakespearean style.

Which detail in Hamlet best reflects the time the play was written in?

Protestant Reformation serves as a primary historical background in Hamlet . The period in the text is evident through domestic details and relationships between the characters. Indeed, Hamlet demonstrates several qualities that can be considered uncommon for Catholics’ behavior.

Which word does Hamlet use to describe those who choose to live?

Hamlet does not see the value of human life. He thinks that those who decide to continue living are cowards. Pondering life and death in his key soliloquy, Hamlet comes to one conclusion. He thinks that only fear of what happens after passing stops people from suicide. Him as well.

What does Marcellus’s and Horatio’s characterization of the ghost imply?

Horatio and Marcellus see the ghost as the harbinger of the dark times coming for Denmark. Horatio connects the warlike appearance of the spirit to the armed conflict with Norway.

Which statement best describes Laertes’s development between Act 1 and Act 4?

Son of Polonius, brother of Ophelia, in Act I, Laertes is a dutiful character. In Act IV, he disregards all the rules and does not care whether his behavior is correct. Laertes is a young man who has neither logical thinking and a cold mind nor patience.

Where does Claudius send Cornelius and Voltimand? Why?

Claudius delegates Cornelius and Voltimand to go to Norway. Their task is to deliver a letter where he begs their king for help. As a Denmark King, he is afraid that the war between him and the Norwegian king’s nephew, Prince Fortinbras, may start.

Why does Polonius send Reynaldo to Paris?

Polonius, in Hamlet, sends Reynaldo to France as his undercover agent to spy on his son. He pays him as his servant. Polonius wants to control his son even from another country and asks to dent Laertes’s reputation using any sort of lies.

What is the meaning of “There are more things in heaven and earth, Horatio, than are dreamt of in your philosophy”?

The phrase’s meaning is simple: one should look at the evidence and believe what they see with their eyes. It also refers to skeptics, who are always searching for proof.

What best describes how Laertes feels about his father’s death?

Upon learning of his father’s death, Laertes feels immense grief. He immediately tries to find the one responsible for the act. He is shown full of anger and sadness at the same time, unable to control his emotions. Laertes swears to take revenge on the murderer, Hamlet.

What’s the difference between soliloquy vs. aside?

A soliloquy is a character’s monologue in a play, not directed towards anyone in particular. Shakespeare uses them as a tool to reveal thought processes. An aside is a short expression of the characters’ feelings or thoughts. They share them with the audience, unbeknownst to other characters in the play.

Why is Reynaldo obligated to follow Polonius’s instructions?

Reynaldo must follow Polonius’s instructions because Polonius is his social superior, whom he must listen to and obey.

What advice does Polonius give Laertes?

The scene of a conversation between Polonius and his son takes place before Laertes leaves for France. People are inclined to judge others by their appearance. So, Polonius advises dressing appropriately, in a prosperous but not gaudy manner.

What is Hamlet’s concluding thought after he has mused over the skulls and the idea of death?

In Hamlet by William Shakespeare, the main hero contemplates the certainty of death over the skull. It belongs to Yorick, a jester he once knew. In his thoughts, he concludes that death is the ultimate equalizer of all lives. In the end, everyone will “return into dust.”

Which excerpt from act 5 of Hamlet best provides evidence of the rules of society are often based on wealth and power rather than fairness?

The injustice of social inequality is best explored in the gravedigger scene of Act 5. It involves two gravediggers discussing the upcoming burial of Ophelia. She would receive a “Christian burial” despite committing suicide. The gravediggers believe that Ophelia escaped the standard penalty thanks to her high social status.

Why did Hamlet choose not to kill Claudius when he was praying?

Hamlet did not murder Claudius as he did not want him to go to heaven. Yet an opportunity to kill him appeared when Claudius was praying. Murdered in a sacred place with a prayer on one’s lips, a person would ascend to heaven. Hamlet could not let that happen.

Why does Hamlet kill Polonius?

During a forcible dialogue between Hamlet and Gertrude at the end of act 3, Polonius revealed his presence. The protagonist pierced the tapestry hoping that Claudius was hiding behind it. Therefore, one may say that the murder happened by accident.

Thanks for reading! We hope you’ve found an answer to your question. For more detailed information about the play, check the links below.

🎓 References

  • Hamlet: About the Play — Folger Shakespeare Library
  • An Analysis of Hamlet, the Prince of Denmark — Shakespeare-online.com
  • Hamlet Themes, Symbols & Character Analysis: Motifs in Hamlet — Gale, a Cengage Company
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Hamlet: Discussion Questions

By isabel smith-bernstein.

1. Compare Hamlet’s two best friends, Horatio and Ophelia. How are they different from each other? How the same? How do they help Hamlet?

2. Who in our world is like Claudius?

3. Hamlet is a play about a series of choices. If one thing were different how would the play have changed? For instance, if Hamlet hadn’t believed the Ghost? Or if Hamlet had killed Claudius when he was praying?

4. Why doesn’t Hamlet share the truth with other people if he is seeking honesty?

5. Why does Hamlet feign madness? Is it all feigned? What about Ophelia?

6. Would Hamlet’s fate in the afterlife have been an important consideration for an Elizabethan audience?

7. In what ways could Hamlet be a metaphor for the English monarch?

8. Is there any Shakespeare play where a heroine in love betrays her love? Please consider Jessica, Rosalind, and Juliet. 

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Hamlet (Act 1 scene 1-3): Questions and Answers

  • Hamlet (Act 1 scene 1-3):…

Q1.  Who joins Bernardo, the watchman, on his watch of the castle?

Marcellus and Horatio joins Bernardo on his watch of the castle.

Q2. What do Marcellus and Bernardo want to show Horatio?

They want to show him a ghost.

Q3. What proves to Horatio that the ghost is that of the King?

It was wearing the same armor as the King, when he fought the King of Norway.

Q4. Who is Fortinbras?

He is the King of Norway.

Q5. Who is now married to King Hamlet’s wife? In a well-developed paragraph, explain whether or not you believe he is truly in love with Gertrude or why you believe he married her. (no personal pronouns, Topic statement, PEI for two to three points and a concluding statement).

Claudius is married to Hamlet’s mother Gertrude. Even though he shows affection toward her doesn’t mean he loves her. It wouldn’t be wrong to say that he married Gertrude to become king, since the ghost explains to Hamlet, “thus was I, sleeping, by a brother’s hand of life, of Crown, of Queen at once dispatched, cut off even in the blossoms of my sin” It shows how greedy he became and all he cared about was having power, and for that, he killed his own brother and used his wife for his own benefit. Claudius seems to have both qualities good and evil, it is evident since he does not hurt Gertrude and gives her respect and cares about her.

Q6. Why is Claudius mourning?

           He is mourning, because the King was his brother.

Q7. What do Claudius and Gertrude want Prince Hamlet to do?

They want him to stop mourning about his father’s death.

Q8. What does Prince Hamlet contemplate doing because he is so upset?

He wants to commit suicide.

Q9. What does Fortinbras want from Claudius?

            He wants to take revenge of his father’s death and want his land back.

Q10. What does Laertes warn Ophelia about?

He warns her to be stay away from Hamlet.

Q11. What is Laertes’ main objection to Ophelia’s feelings?

             He tells her that Hamlet is using her and this relationship won’t last long.

Q12. When Laertes shared Ophelia’s actions and feelings with Polonius, how does he react.

              He gets mad at her and orders her to never meet Hamlet again.

Related Posts

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  • Indigenous religion: Questions and Answers
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  • Hamlet: Analysis of Scene Act I, Scene V
  • Hamlet: Analysis of Scene Act I, Scene II

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Hamlet Discussion Questions

The questions are simple but the answers are difficult and complex.  There are also often multiple answers to each questions, so decent answers will approach the question from more than one perspective;  if you find yourself often writing “On the other hand…” you are probably moving in the right direction.

Answer at least two of the following:

Death   “Alas, poor Yorick!” Hamlet, Gilgamesh, Achilles and Beowulf meet in Hades, and there they discuss their perspectives on death, and how those perspectives in turn shape each of their perspectives on how one should act when alive.  What do they say to each other?

Sanity  “This is the very coinage of your brain...” What is the true nature of Hamlet’s “antic disposition”; is Hamlet “mad” (insane)?  What evidence suggests he is, and what evidence suggest he isn’t (consider, especially, the fact that Gertrude doesn’t see the ghost).

What role do Laertes and Ophelia play in representing central themes, especially in terms of Hamlet’s reaction to his father’s death.

Truth, Subjectivity and Consciousness   "To thine own self be true"  ...  “For there is nothing either good or bad but thinking makes it so....” What is Shakespeare’s larger point here – represented by Hamlet’s experience and wisdom – about the nature of human consciousness and psychology?  How does Hamlet’s insanity or sanity represent the predicament we all must face when it comes to trusting not only others, but ourselves, to make moral choices? 

The Responsibility of Choice And Action    “His will is not his own….”

Why doesn’t Hamlet simply kill Claudius?  Consider, especially, the answers to the previous question (Hamlet’s sanity).

Imagine that Orestes ’ ghost visited Hamlet.   What action would Orestes council Hamlet to take, given Orestes own action and the consequences he suffered for it?

Should Hamlet kill Claudius?  That is, should Hamlet  commit murder to kill his mother’s beloved husband as an act of revenge for his father’s death…based on the testimony of a ghost (which no one else hears)?

Hamlet Questions and Answers

The Question and Answer sections of our study guides are a great resource to ask questions, find answers, and discuss literature.

Ask a question and get answers from your fellow students and educators.

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Describe Fortinbras based on what Horatio says.

Why is a clock mentioned in hamlet. there weren’t any clock’s in hanlet’s time., hamlet’s obsession with the partying going on inside the castle while he stands watch with horatio mainly suggests that he ., discuss the creation of tension through dramatic techniques, hamlet's obsession with the partying going on inside the castle while he stands watch with horatio mainly suggest that he is, what is the subject of hamlet's speech in act 2, hamlet act lv, scene l, how has fortinbras' threat to denmark been eliminated, what does hamlet imply when he says that outward signs of mourning “are actions that a man m, sc. 1, lines 1–24: what does polonius want reynaldo to do how is reynaldo to do this what do polonius’s actions reveal about his character, how do the images in laertes's speech relate to his message what role of images play in ophelia's reply to her brother , sc. 2, lines 160-184: how do you know that hamlet thinks highly of horatio explain hamlet's mocking, ironic humor in lines 178-179. paraphrase lines 181-182 and explain the element of humor in hamlet's words here., now look at the ghost’s reply: “i find thee apt,/ and duller shouldst thou be than the fat weed/ that roots itself in ease on lethe wharf/ wouldst thou not stir in this” (i, v, 36-39). paraphrase this. what does the ghost seem to imply about hamlet, in act i, how do king claudius and queen gertrude try to reason with hamlet what does hamlet’s soliloquy suggest about his response to their reasoning, how does shakespeare mainly show that hamlet has been affected after speaking to his father's ghost • a. hamlet speaks in confusing responses and acts oddly, demanding his friends swear on his sword. • b. hamlet is tempted to jump off high cliffs and wan, polonius uses a ladder, a logical progression of steps, up or down, that by their very orderliness seem to make sense. what are the steps in the ladder that he offers the king and queen in lines 146-151 what is wrong with polonius' logic, sum up the report from rosencrantz and guildenstern and explain what they say about hamlet in line 8., which of the following best describes laertes concerns with ophelia, as well as hamlets concerns with his mother, scene 2, lines 270-297.

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  3. Study Guide Questions and Answers for Hamlet by William Shakespeare

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  4. Hamlet Act 1 Quiz and Answer Key

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  6. HAMLET STUDY QUESTIONS

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  1. Hamlet: Questions & Answers

    Hamlet Claudius The Ghost Literary Devices Themes Motifs Symbols Protagonist Antagonist Setting Genre Allusions Style Point of View Tone Foreshadowing Metaphors and Similes Questions & Answers Is the Ghost real? Did Hamlet and Ophelia have sex? Did Gertrude have an affair with Claudius before he killed Hamlet's father? Who is Fortinbras?

  2. Hamlet Questions and Answers

    Words without thoughts never to heaven go." What is the significance of this passage from Hamlet? In Hamlet, what does the quote "If it be now, 'tis not to come; if it be not now, yet it will...

  3. Hamlet Discussion Questions

    Hamlet Discussion Questions You can use these to start the discussion, or you can ask your own questions or comment on other features of the play.

  4. Hamlet Discussion Questions & Answers

    Q&As Discussions Hamlet | Discussion Questions 1 - 10 Share In Hamlet, what does the appearance of the ghost of Prince Hamlet's father foreshadow? The characters certainly find the ghost's appearance fearful, particularly because he is wearing the very armor he wore to fight the elder King Fortinbras of Norway.

  5. PDF Hamlet Act Questions

    ACT ONE ACT 1, SCENE 1 1. What atmosphere is created by the opening lines? What do we learn about the state of Denmark from this scene? Atmosphere There is a sense of unease in the opening scene of the play. The two guards speak in short, sharp quickly spoken sentences to each other: Barnardo: "Who's there?" Francisco: "Nay answer me.

  6. Hamlet Study Guide

    Everything you need for every book you read. "Sooo much more helpful than SparkNotes. The way the content is organized and presented is seamlessly smooth, innovative, and comprehensive." Get LitCharts A + Hamlet Study Guide New! Understand every line of Hamlet . Read our modern English translation . Next Summary

  7. Hamlet:‌ ‌Q&A‌ ‌—‌ ‌Find‌ ‌Answers‌ ‌to‌ ‌Your‌ ‌Questions

    Why? Hamlet is a problem play, as it represents the theme of madness. Hamlet tries to make people think he is harmless, pretending to be mad. But examining the death of his father, Hamlet is losing touch with reality. What is the climax of Hamlet? Hamlet is distinguished by the presence of not one but two climaxes.

  8. Hamlet Study Guide

    The Spanish Tragedy shares many elements with Hamlet, such as a ghost seeking revenge, a secret crime, a play-within-a-play, a tortured hero who feigns madness, and a heroine who goes mad and commits suicide.

  9. Discussion Questions from Hamlet

    Shakespeare Publication Date: 1603 expand_more Lit Guide Menu chevron_left Discussion Questions 1. Comment on Hamlet as an Aristotelian tragedy. How does Shakespeare craft the play to highlight this? Aristotle, in his work Poetics, sets down six rules that make a tragic hero. Hamlet exhibits these six qualities throughout the play.

  10. Hamlet: Discussion Questions

    Is it all feigned? What about Ophelia? 6. Would Hamlet's fate in the afterlife have been an important consideration for an Elizabethan audience? 7. In what ways could Hamlet be a metaphor for the English monarch? 8. Is there any Shakespeare play where a heroine in love betrays her love?

  11. Hamlet: Study Guide

    Overview. Hamlet by William Shakespeare was first published in 1603. Set in the Kingdom of Denmark, the play follows Prince Hamlet as he grapples with grief, betrayal, and the pursuit of justice after the sudden death of his father, the King. The story unfolds against a backdrop of political intrigue and familial conflict, with Hamlet's inner ...

  12. Hamlet Examination Questions and Answers

    Explain: "Would not this, sir, and a forest of feathers - if the rest of my fortunes turn Turk with me - with two provincial roses on my razed shoes, get me a fellowship in a cry of players, sir?" 20. Explain: "The king doth wake to-night and takes his rouse, keeps wassail, and the swaggering up-spring reels." 21.

  13. Hamlet (Act 1 scene 1-3): Questions and Answers

    Q2. What do Marcellus and Bernardo want to show Horatio? They want to show him a ghost. Q3. What proves to Horatio that the ghost is that of the King? It was wearing the same armor as the King, when he fought the King of Norway. Q4. Who is Fortinbras? He is the King of Norway.

  14. Hamlet Discussion Questions & Answers

    Hamlet | Discussion Questions 11 - 20. In Act 2, Scene 1 of Hamlet, Polonius sends Reynaldo to France to check on Laertes. What is shocking about this assignment? What does Polonius's request signify? As this scene opens, Polonius is sending his servant, Reynaldo, to France with money and notes for Laertes.

  15. Hamlet: Full Play Quiz Quiz: Quick Quiz

    Prince Hamlet, Polonius, and Gertrude. Claudius, Rosencrantz, and Guildenstern. Ophelia, Laertes, and King Hamlet. 10 of 25. What does Hamlet claim to be able to tell the difference between when the wind is from the south? A flea and a fire log. A nymph and a nihilist. A hawk and a handsaw. A shark and St. Timothy.

  16. The Hamlet Student Quiz with Detailed Answers

    Question #1 Complete the following famous line from Hamlet: Something is rotten in the state of ... a) England b) Venice c) Denmark d) Maine Restart Quiz ___ More Resources Analysis of the Characters in Hamlet Introduction to Hamlet The Hamlet and Ophelia Subplot The Norway (Fortinbras) Subplot Deception in Hamlet

  17. Hamlet Discussion Questions

    Hamlet Discussion Questions. The questions are simple but the answers are difficult and complex. There are also often multiple answers to each questions, so decent answers will approach the question from more than one perspective; if you find yourself often writing "On the other hand…" you are probably moving in the right direction.

  18. PDF HAMLET A UNIT PLAN

    Study Questions (Short Answer) 17 Quiz/Study Questions (Multiple Choice) 24 Pre-reading Vocabulary Worksheets 39 Lesson One (Introductory Lesson) 46 ... roles seem to have been old Adam in 'As You Like It' and the Ghost in 'Hamlet'. In 1607, when he was 43, he may have suffered a serious physical breakdown. In the same year his

  19. Hamlet Act IV Questions and Answers

    Study Questions 1. What is Claudius' response when Gertrude tells him that Hamlet has murdered Polonius? 2. What does Claudius...

  20. Hamlet Questions and Answers

    Hamlet speaks in confusing responses and acts oddly, demanding his friends swear on his sword. • B. Hamlet is tempted to jump off high cliffs and wan. Answers: 1. Asked by Ihan V #1270781. Last updated by jill d #170087 a year ago 11/14/2022 10:00 AM.

  21. Hamlet Questions Study Guide Flashcards

    1. Identify Bernardo, Francisco, Marcellus, Horatio, and King Hamlet. Click the card to flip 👆 Bernardo, Francisco and Marcellus are guard soldiers at Elsinore. Horatio is Hamlet's friend. King Hamlet is Hamlet's father who was murdered prior to the beginning of the play. Click the card to flip 👆 1 / 59 Flashcards Learn Test Match Q-Chat Created by

  22. Hamlet Study Guide Act 1 with Answers Flashcards

    Don't tell anyone about the ghost, and no matter how Hamlet behaves, don't say anything about it. Study with Quizlet and memorize flashcards containing terms like 1.Identify Bernardo, Francisco, Marcellus, Horatio, and King Hamlet., 2.What had Bernardo seen at a prior watch?, 3.Why does Marcellus think Horatio should speak to the ghost? and more.

  23. Hamlet Act 1 Questions Flashcards

    1) why does it only come at midnight? 2) why are we making weapons? 3) why are ship makers working all the time? In a long speech (ll. 84111), Horatio answers Marcellus. Summarize briefly the events that have led to preparations for war. King Hamlet, who is now dead, fought against the King of Norway, Fortinbras and won.