Hamlet, Act 1

Scene i
1. Why does Shakespeare start the play with the appearance of the Ghost? What is the “dramatic”
purpose of this beginning and what effect do you think it would have on an Elizabethan audience?Scene ii
2.What is the meaning of Hamlet’s line 67 Act I Sc. ii ?
3. “Frailty thy name is woman.” (I.ii.146).  What does this line mean? In what way does it foreshadow events to come? Does Hamlet really view women as weak, why or why not?
4. In scene 2 identify and discuss meaning of the 3 allusions in Hamlet’s soliloquy. (I.ii.131-161)
5. Why is the Ghost armed?
Scene iii
6. What is Laertes’s advice to Ophelia? At this point in the play do you think he likes or dislikes Hamlet? Explain your answer. (I.iii.13-46)
7. Examine the advice that Polonius gives to his son (I.iii.59-85). In your opinion what will be the most useful in modern times?
Scene iv
8. In scene 4 line 99 Marcellus says “something is rotten in the state of Denmark” and Horatio replies on line 100 with “Heaven will direct it.” What do you think is meant by these statements?Scene v
9. What is the symbolism behind the fact that Hamlet Sr. was bitten by a serpent. How does this relate to the story?
10. Why does Hamlet tell his friends that he intends to appear to be insane? In your opinion, is this pretence real or is it done because Hamlet fears that he might actually be going insane? Explain your answer.
11. Paraphrase Hamlet’s last speech in Act I.

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