"The play's the thing /Wherein I'll catch the conscience of the King." (last lines Act II)
WRITE ANSWERS TO THE FOLLOWING QUESTIONS: (Hand them in by Wednesday.)
III, i :
1. What does Claudius learn from Rosencrantz and Guildenstern?
2. Why is Claudius' aside in this scene of such importance?
3. Why is Hamlet's soliloquy placed where it is in this scene?
4. How can or can't you tell if Hamlet knows he is being spied upon during the "Nunnery Scene?"
Why do Hamlet's use of the word "remember" and Ophelia's use of the word "remembrances" resonate
so painfully. Who is the "one" referred to in the line "all but one?" Why is this stated? Why do you think Hamlet treats Ophelia the way he does? Do you think he no longer loves her? Explain. (Remember lines earlier in the play: "Frailty, thy name is woman."?)
5. Why does Polonius think it is necessary for him to spy on Hamlet and Gertrude for Claudius?
1. How does the beginning of this scene offset the tension generated by the preceding one, and what does it reveal about Hamlet?
2. In what way does Hamlet praise Horatio. Why does he do so?
3. Why is writing the "mousetrap" the only thing Hamlet has done to exact revenge on Claudius?
4. How do Hamlet and Ophelia interact before the performance? Why does he lie his head where he does?
5. How is the play different from what you expected?
6. How does the play within the play deviate from what the ghost of Hamlet's father recounted in Act I ?
7. What have Claudius and Hamlet learned about each other as a consequence of the play?
1. What has Claudius decided to do with Hamlet?
2. What do we learn about Claudius in his "prayer" soliloquy? Why can't he ask for forgiveness?
3. When Hamlet enters, why doesn't Hamlet kill Claudius? What is ironic about Hamlet's decision?
1. How successful is the conversation between Gertrude and Hamlet? What goes wrong even before
Polonius' death. Why does Gertrude call for help?
2. Explain why you think Gertrude knew or did not know Claudius had killed King Hamlet?
3. What do you think of how Hamlet speaks to his mother
4. Why does the ghost appear, who sees him, and what is his message?
5. Should we see King Hamlet's ghost in this scene. Why, why not?
6. What are Hamlet's final instructions to his mother?
To understand the movement of Act III, you may want to chart the entrances and exits of characters. Make note of how Shakespeare transforms and juxtaposes movement within and between the scenes. This will enable you to appreciate Shakespeare's stage craftmanship. Remember dramatic irony in Hamlet relies both on the use of space and the utterance of words.
Please note that your text varies considerably from the Oxford University text of Hamlet in regard to what we touched upon in class today. Immediately before the "To be or not to be" soliloquy the stage directions in the Oxford text read: "Claudius and Polonius [hide behind the arras]. Enter Hamlet." Your text has Polonius and Claudius move to the rear of the stage, but not necessarily in a conscious effort to spy on Hamlet. There is a big difference, since their spying during this speech, adds tension and pregnancy to Hamlet's words, colors Claudius' lines which end the first scene, and foreshadows what happens later in the play. You may want to go onto Youtube, type in Hamlet, and view the third video down from the top -Act III, i. or Sir Lawrence Olivier's performance of this soliloquy.