SCENE I:Where Does the Action of the Play Take Place?

SCENE I:Where Does the Action of the Play Take Place?


Key Lines

Bedford Introduction to Literature


SCENE I:Where does the action of the play take place?

1.1.19What philosophy involves the focus on reason and the denial of pleasure and pain?

1.1.80-95What took place between King Hamlet and Fortinbras of Norway?

1.2. 1-16How does Claudius explain the marriage between himself and his “sometime sister”?

1.2.1-39How would you characterize Claudius in these lines?

1.2. 42-48How might Claudius’ addressing Laertes indicate respect for Polonius?

1.2. 65 [aside]Hamlet’s opening line is in the form of a pun. Explain it.

1.2.67Hamlet’s second line is also a pun. Explain.

1.2.76-86Hamlet is offended by the word “seems.” What is his complaint?

1.2.129-158 [soliloquy]Characterize Hamlet’s attitude in this soliloquy.

1.2.135-137What motif is introduced in these lines?

1.2.140Who is the respective “Hyperion” and “satyr” mentioned here?

1.2.146Hamlet’s attitude toward femininity is key. What is his attitude here?

1.2.253-254Having read the play, we can say that Hamlet’s observation is ______.

1.3. 29-35What does Laertes fear?

1.3.45-51Summarize Ophelia’s reply to her brother.

1.3.78-80Why are these lines ironic?

1.3.131-135What are the tragic implications of these lines?

1.4.90Who utters this line? What motif does it support?

1.5.40-41What do these lines reveal to us?

1.5.42-47What does the Ghost reveal about Gertrude?

1.5.59-80How does the Ghost describe King Hamlet’s death?

1.5.92-112 [soliloquy]Characterize Hamlet in this soliloquy.

1.5.107-109What theme appears again in these lines?

1.5.169-172What does Hamlet tell Horatio he intends to do?

1.5.189-190Explain the couplet in reference to the geocentric universe.


2.1.1-70A strange scene that is frequently cut. What does Polonius ask Reynaldo to do? How might this help characterize Polonius?

2.1.76-83How is Hamlet described?

2.1.84What does Polonius assume is the cause?

2.1.106-108What are the tragic ramifications of these lines?

2.1.109What does Polonius again assume is the cause?

2.2.55-57What does Gertrude assume is the “source of all [her] son’s distemper”? Note that Claudius does appear to consider the notion. He appears more comfortable with Hamlet being mad in love.

2.2.161-162Characterize Polonius through his actions here.

2.2.173Who is a fishmonger? What is Hamlet doing here?

2.2.200-201 [aside]Is there a method to Hamlet’s madness?

2.2.276-290To what does Guildenstern admit? Do you believe Hamlet’s being genuine in his prose speech?

2.2.408-421Who is Pyrrhus? How is he similar to Hamlet?

2.2.499-557 [soliloquy]Why is Hamlet so furious with himself in this soliloquy?

2.2.540-557Note his radical change in mood. What is his plan?

2.2.556-557For Hamlet’s plan to work, what does Claudius need to have?


3.1.49-54 [aside]What does Claudius say he has? What else does his aside reveal?

3.1.56-89 [soliloquy]What is Hamlet’s state of mind in this soliloquy? Answering, suicidal is an incomplete response

3.1.83Explain Hamlet’s comment about “conscience.” See footnote.

3.1.118, 136-141Why would Hamlet want Ophelia to go to a nunnery?

3.1.142-153What was Hamlet like before his “noble mind [became] o’er-thrown”?

3.1.154-167What does Claudius think is wrong with Hamlet? What is his plan?

3.2.61-63Why does Hamlet admire Horatio?

3.2.112How long ago did King Hamlet die?

3.2.209Explain this oft-quoted line. What does she protest? Why might Gertrude utter this?

3.2.214What is the name of the play?

3.2.219How is Hamlet similar to Lucianus? What two ways may Claudius view the play?

3.2.258-259What is Hamlet – and possibly Horatio – sure of now?

3.2.325-332Why is hamlet so angry with Guildenstern?

3.2.346-357 [soliloquy]Why was this scene cut from the play for over two centuries? What might this scene say about the nature of revenge?

3.3.1-7What commission does Claudius give Rosencrantz and Guildenstern?

3.3.8-26Characterize R & G after reading there comments to Claudius.

3.3.36-72 [soliloquy]What does Claudius reveal to us in his soliloquy?

3.3.73-96 [soliloquy]How does this soliloquy again reveal a change in Hamlet’s character?

3.4.24What does Hamlet think he has done?

3.4.32-34What does Hamlet say her about his action and his opinion of Polonius?

3.4.67-68Who is the “fair mountain”? Who is the “moor”? Explain the double meaning at play?

3.4.106Why does Gertrude make this exclamation?

3.4.111-116What does the Ghost demand of Hamlet?


4.1.7-12What does Gertrude tell Claudius? Is she lying or telling the truth?

4.3.55-65 [soliloquy]What does Claudius reveal in this soliloquy?

4.4.32-66 [soliloquy]What is Hamlet looking at?

4.4.65-66Does Hamlet keep the promise made in this couplet?

4.5.127-133Contrast Laertes with Hamlet in this scene.

4.5.175-179What do Ophelia’s flowers (weeds) mean?

4.6.13-23Summarize what happened to hamlet at sea.

4.7.9-24For what two reasons has Claudius not acted against Hamlet?

4.7.124Again, contrast Laertes with Hamlet.

4.7.125-126Explain the irony in these lines.

4.7.139-146What has Laertes purchased?

4.7.190-191Explain Claudius’ lie.


5.1.138-139How old is Hamlet?

5.1.157-166Who is Yorick?

5.2.4-11What is Hamlet saying here? How has he changed in character?

5.2.57-58What is Hamlet’s attitude toward Rosencrantz and Guildenstern here?

5.2.63-70What information does Hamlet reveal to us here that he has not spoken of before? Now, what is his attitude toward killing Claudius?

5.2.268 [aside]Does this aside change our opinion of Laertes?

5.2.313-315What does Horatio threaten to do here?

5.2.338What does hamlet give Fortinbras?

5.2.344-358Horatio tells all in the room that he knows the truth of what happened. Does Horatio’s loyalty to Hamlet change your opinion regarding his madness?