Study Help Essay Questions

1. What kind of a King is Claudius? What evidence shows the kind of monarch he is and the kind of man he is? Is this his appearance, or is it his true character?

2. What is Hamlet's conflict over the Ghost's existence? Why does he continue to doubt the "honesty" of the Ghost even after Claudius confesses his guilt?

3. Name the various foils Shakespeare has created for Hamlet. Why is each important to the play?

4. Explain the function of the Gravediggers at the beginning of Act V.

5. Find examples of Hamlet's voices as he speaks as

The avenger

The philosopher, unemotional reasoner

The actor, self-critical and self-directed

The ironic observer

The disgusted observer, bemoaning the hopelessness of the human condition

The indecisive man desperate to be decisive

6. Look through the text and find five questions that drive the theme, characters, or plot of the play. Explain why the questions are important and why Shakespeare poses them as questions and not as answers.

7. Explain the effect Hamlet's ideas of sin and salvation have on the development of his character and the movement of the plot.

8. Identify the three revenge plots in Hamlet, and explain why each is important to the development of the play.

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