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Hamlet: After Act 1 and 2(English 30)

Major Response
(30-1)”I know not seems.” In I, ii, 76, Hamlet claims that his grief is real, not just a show. Make a chart of all the occasions in Act 1 and 2 when there is a difference between the way a character seems to be and the way he or she really is. Create your summary with the following headings:

  • The Character
  • The Situation
  • The Appearance
  • The Reality
  • The Reason for Hiding the Truth

Fill in your ideas about the characters’ behaviour and compare your summary with those of other students.

(30-2)Consider whether or not you think Polonius is a good father. Explain which of his actions were right and which were wrong. Create your own description of a good father. Write a letter to Polonius offering him advice about ways he could become a better parent.

Act 1&2 Considerations:

  1. Why did Marcellus and Bernardo ask Horatio to join them during their watch? What character traits does Horatio possess that would suggest they were right in asking him to join them?
  2. Imagine you were a talk show host, interviewing the newly crowned Claudius, King of Denmark. In a series of questions and answers, review the information provided in I,ii.
  3. Describe the Hamlet revealed in I,ii.
  4. Imagine you are an advice columnist and have received a question that deals with Laertes’ or Ophelia’s situation. Write the question and the response using exact phrases from Acts 1&2.
  5. Write a diary entry in which Ophelia or Laertes recounts some of the advice she or he has received and how she or he feels about the advice.
  6. In 1594, Thomas Nashe speculated why the devil often appeared in the likeliness of a parent or relative: “No other reason can be given of it but this, that in those shapes which he supposeth most familiar unto us, and that we are inclined to with a natural kind of love, we will sooner hearken to him than otherwise.” Hamlet’s friends offer him reasons to not trust the apparition of his father. Summarize these reasons. How does Hamlet respond and what does this show about his character?
  7. Knowing what he knows (in I,v), could Hamlet march into the castle and accuse Claudius of Murder? What would happen if Hamlet attempted to kill Claudius immediately? Write a short scene following Act 1 in which Hamlet accuses Claudius or attempts to kill.
  8. Imagine you are Reynaldo, in Paris, and conversing with a Dane about Laertes’ activities. Write a dialogue in which you follow Polonius’ instructions.
  9. Claudius, Gertrude, and Polonius all have differing opinions on the source of Hamlet’s madness. What are they?
  10. Read the First Player’s speech carefully. Outline what it has in common in terms of characters and situations with what has transpired in the Danish court.

Insert a New Scene into Macbeth

  1. Compose Act 5 Scene 5a: Lady Macbeth is reading letters while weeping. Enter Ross.
  2. Compose Act 6 Scene 1: Donalbain visits the Witches.
  3. Compose Act 5 Scene 9b: Malcolm’s speech in which he “accounts the loves” of his thanes and kinsmen.
  4. Write a new opening for the play. Emphasize action and quick dialogue. Use Act 5 Scene 8 as inspiration for parallels. Consider Act 1 Scene 2 and Act 1 Scene 3 lines 93-115.
  5. Insert a scene anywhere in the play that further develops the character of the “Gentlewoman.”

Three Questions – by Leo Tolstoy

One day it occurred to a certain emperor that if he only knew the answers to three questions, he would never stray in any matter.

What is the best time to do each thing? Who are the most important people to work with? What is the most important thing to do at all times?

The emperor issued a decree throughout his kingdom announcing that whoever could answer the questions would receive a great reward. Many who read the decree made their way to the palace at once, each person with a different answer. Continue reading