HONORS PS1500 - Physics in the Plays of Tom Stoppard

Hamlet Act 2, Scene 2 through Act 3, Scene 4 — Questions for Discussion


● Act 2, Scene 2 — Summary

    Lines 35 and 36: What might these lines imply about Rosencrantz and Guildenstern?

    Lines 59, 60: What does Gertrude believe to be the cause of Hamlet's behavior?

    Lines 183 — 403: Describe Hamlet's behavior with Polonius, and compare it with Hamlet’s behavior with Rosencrantz and Guildenstern.

    Line 577: Why does Hamlet exclaim, "O what a rogue and peasant slave am I!"

    Lines 627 — 634: Why is it important to Hamlet that he "catch the conscience of the king?"

● Act 3, Scene 1 — Summary

    Lines 64 to 96: In his "To be, or not to be" soliloquy, does Hamlet know that he is being watched by Claudius and Polonius? When does he   first become aware of Ophelia’s presence? What does Hamlet blame for his delay in avenging his father's murder?

    Line 131: Why does Hamlet tell Ophelia to "Get thee to a nunnery?"

    Lines 142: Does Ophelia betray Hamlet when she says her father is "At home, my Lord."? How does Hamlet react? Now what does he mean when he tells Ophelia, "Get thee to a nunnery, farewell."?

● Act 3, Scene 2 — Summary

    Describe Hamlet's treatment of Ophelia during the play (lines 119 — 128). Why does Hamlet say what he does to Ophelia?

    What does The Murder of Gonzago accomplish for Hamlet?

● Act 3, Scene 3 — Summary

    Lines 1 — 7: What does Claudius plan for Hamlet?

    Lines 77 — 103: Why does Hamlet refrain from killing Claudius, and why is his decision ironic?

● Act 3, Scene 4 — Summary

    Line 36: How is the line "As kill a king?" delivered by Gertrude? Does she suspect (or have knowledge of) Claudius’ guilt?

    Lines 194 — 196: When Hamlet says, "... I must be their scourge and minister," is he taking control or relinquishing control of his actions and fate?

Acting Assignments for Hamlet

1. Act 2, Scene 2, lines 240 — 342, 392 — 403 (Three parts: Hamlet, Rosencrantz, and Guildenstern)

    Starts with Guildenstern: My honoured Lord!

    Ends with Rosencrantz: We coted them on the way, and hither are they coming to offer you service.

    Starts with Guildenstern: There are the players.

    Ends with Hamlet: When the wind is southerly, I know a hawk from a handsaw.

2. Act 3, Scene 2, the dumb-show after line 145. (Five parts: King, Queen, Poisoner, two mutes)


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Last modified:  Tuesday, January 14, 2014 10:29 PM