HONORS PS1500 - Physics in the Plays of Tom Stoppard
Hamlet Act 5 --- Questions for Discussion
Scene 1 --- Summary
Did Ophelia kill herself, or did "the water come to her, and drown her" (see lines 15, 16)?
Scene 2 --- Summary
Did Gertrude kill herself by knowingly drinking from the poisoned cup?
Did Rosencrantz and Guildenstern deserve their fate?
Some Central Issues for Our Class
In Act 5, Scene 2, lines 10 and 11, Hamlet declares that
"There's a divinity that shapes our ends / Rough-hew them how we will." Later
in the same scene, lines 192 to 195, Hamlet says, "There is special providence
in the fall of a sparrow. If it be now, ‘tis not to come; if it be not to
come, it will be now; if it be not now, yet it will come --- the readiness is
all." Is everything that will happen to you already determined, or can
you take action to control your own destiny?
In Act 1, Scene 5, lines 166 and 167, Hamlet says that
"There are more things in heaven and earth, Horatio, / Than are dreamt of in
your philosophy." Are there more things than are dreamt of today? Will there
always be? What sort of person might these lines apply to today?
In Act 5, Scene 1, line 55, Horatio observes that the gravedigger can joke about his grisly task because "Custom hath made it in him a property of easiness." How does the idea that custom deadens the senses permeate the play? To what extent is this applicable to everyday life today?
1. Act 5, Scene 2 , lines 4 to 62 (Two parts: Hamlet and Horatio)
Starts with Hamlet: Sir, in my heart there was a kind of fighting / that would not let me sleep.
Ends with Horatio: Why, what a king is this!
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Last modified: Thursday, January 25, 2007 11:32 AM