What does the Ghost say about Gertrude, English homework help

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1) Choose ONE QUESTION from EACH ACT for a total of 5 questions.

2) Write substantive answers  3-4 sentences, minimum.


Direct quotes for at least 2 answers to back up your responses.

•  The correct page (text) citation (Shakespeare 1234) NOT the numbers below (1.1.8, etc.)


What do the numbers in the questions below mean, such as:



TRANSLATION:  1.1.8 means Act 1, Scene 1, Line 8.

BELOW in your QAs, the Acts and Scenes, and Linesare referred to by number to help you find your info easier in our ever-changing textbooks, plus easier to find on your textbook page: 

But DO NOT use for your citations here or in your essay!!!!

NOTE: Some MLA Format allows for use of this in text citations BUT NOT US, for our own purposes.

Please CONTINUE to use page numbers for your quote citations to prove you are using your textbook.

WHY? If you use acts/scenes/lines in your citations, I might too easily wonder if you are using work from another source, that is, plagiarizing.And you’ve worked too hard for that question to arise. Using page numbers from our textbook is another assurance to your prof that you are doing original work.



QA Questions

(Choose ONE from each Act)

Remember the form: • Do not use the 1.1.1 form with your direct quotes to back up your answer. 
• Use the same text citation form you do for all your other QAs and your essays-author and page number
(Shakespeare 1234)
Add direct quotes for TWO of your answers.
• AT BOTTOM OF QA, put the
full textbook citation for Hamlet at the bottom of your QA. 


1. What is the mood of the guard in 1.1? Point out specific examples of  this mood such as “I am sick at heart” (1.1.8). What in particular is responsible for this mood?

2. A ghostusually appears for a reason. Horatio catalogs some of the  usual reasons in 1.1.127-42. What are these reasons?

3. We first meet Claudius, the king, in 1.2. What “green”  memory (1.2.2) does he refer to? What does Claudius tell us in 1.2.8-16?

4. We first meet Hamlet in 1.2. Explain Claudius’ question to him in  1.2.66: “How is it that the cloudsstill hang on you?” Explain the conversation with Gertrude about”seems” (1.2.68-86).

5. Read Claudius’ speech in 1.2.87-117. Summarize what he says about the  deaths of fathers. What important information do we get in lines 108-09?

6. Explain what Hamlet says in 1.2.129-37. What is his mood? Note the  garden metaphor in these lines.

7. Read1.2.137-59. How do these lines help to explain Hamlet’s mood?

8. Act 1, Scene 2, lines 129-59 is what is called a “soliloquy.” Define “soliloquy.” Why is the information  we get in a soliloquyparticularly valuable in reading a play?

9. In the scene between Hamlet and Horatio, 1.2.160-258, Hamlet reaches  an important decision (243-45). What is this decision, and what are its  dangers?

10. Act 1,Scene 3 is a scene of advice giving. What advice does Laertes  give Ophelia about her relationshipwith Hamlet? What advice does Polonius give Laertes? What does Polonius advise (perhaps even command)  Ophelia in 1.3.121-36?

11. Hamletfirst sees the Ghost in Act 1, Scene 4. How does he react to  the Ghost in 1.4.38-69?

12. Act 1,Scene 5 contains some very important information about  Hamlet’s father’s death. What does the Ghost tell Hamlet in 1.5.34-40? What does Hamlet mean when he responds “O my prophetic soul!”(1.5.40)?

13. The Ghost explains his murder in detail (1.5.59-80). Summarize how  the murder was committed.

14. In1.5.81-91, the Ghost gives Hamlet a task to perform. What does the  Ghost say about Gertrude?

15. Hamlet’s third soliloquy follows the Ghost’s exit (1.5.92-109).  Describe Hamlet’s mood at this point.

16. When Hamlet talks to his friends following the encounter with the  Ghost, he says “It is an honest ghost, that let me tell you” (1.5.138). What does he mean by”honest,” and why is this such an  important issue in the play?

17. Read1.5.166-80 carefully. What plan does Hamlet describe? Explain  “antic disposition.”


1. In the scene between Polonius and Reynaldo (2.1.1-74), what does  Polonius ask Reynaldo to do? (Polonius will use spying again later in the play, and it will result in his death.)

2. What has frightened Ophelia at 2.1.75? Describe Hamlet’s appearance as she reports it to her father.

3. What does Polonius assume to be the matter with Hamlet? See especially  2.1.101-07. What action does Polonius take (2.1.101 -120)?

4. What does Claudius say to Rosencrantz and Guildenstern in 2.2.1-18?

5. Polonius tells Claudius and Gertrude “I have found / The very  cause of Hamlet’s lunacy”(2.2.48-49). Then in very wordy speeches he  explains what he has learned (2.2.86-149). Summarize what Polonius tells the king and queen.

6. Polonius prepares a plan to test his theory about Hamlet’s behavior.  What is that plan?

7. Hamlet puts on his “antic disposition” with Polonius  (2.2.170-211). What leads Polonius to conclude: “Thought his be  madness, yet there is method in’t” (2.2.200-01)?

8. When Hamlet meets with Rosencrantz and Guildenstern, he says “I know the good King and Queen have sent for you” (2.2.265). Hamlet describes to them why they were sent for. Study carefully 2.2.279-90.  What in particular does Hamlet say about humankind.

9. Who are “the players” Rosencrantz refers to in 2.2.295? What  are they going to do? (The discussion at this point makes reference to the actors of Shakespeare’s day and especially to the contemporary War of the Theaters during Shakespeare’s time.)

10. What does Hamlet tell his friends in 2.2.343-47? Why are these  reminders of his mental state important to us?

11. When the players arrive, Hamlet’s greeting is friendly and shows that  they are not strangers to him(2.2.383-91). Hamlet requests a particular  speech as a preview. This speech is important for two reasons: (1) It shows  Pyrrhus acting assertively and taking revenge. (2) It also shows Hecuba’s deep emotion. How are these two elements related to Hamlet and the revenge  the Ghost asked him to take?

12. Hamlet has another soliloquy at the end of Act 2 (2.2.500-59). Read  this passage carefully. What is Hamlet’s mood in the first two-thirds of this speech? In the last third, Hamlet has a definite plan. What is his  plan? Explain especially 2.2.557-59.


1. In the opening scene of Act 3, Claudius refers to Hamlet as  “dangerous” (3.1.4) although Hamlet has not yet given him any  reason to think so.We hear that Claudius has a plan for learning more.  Explain 3.1.28-37.

2. Study 3.1.56-89, Hamlet’s “To be, or not to be” soliloquy.  This is a kind of philosophical debate showing Hamlet’s scholarly/analytical/philosophical mind at work. What subject is he debating? What does he say about it? Comment on the  accuracy of his statement in 3.1.83-88.Is Hamlet acting like a coward?

3. Read 3.1.88-143, the scene between Hamlet and Ophelia (which Claudius  and Polonius are spying on). Discuss Hamlet’s treatment of Ophelia. Should we believe “I lov’d you not” (3.1.117)?

4. Discuss 3.1.144-55 as a picture of what Hamlet used to be like. (This  view from Ophelia, speaking in a soliloquy, is important in helping us to have a complete picture of Hamlet.)

5. Claudius speaks of “danger” from Hamlet again in 3.1.161.  What plan does Claudius have?

6. In the banter before the play begins, Hamlet’s remarks to Ophelia are  full of sexual innuendos. What doesthis show about Hamlet? Compare to 3.1.144-55.

7. The”dumb show” that starts the play-within-the-play scene  is a conventional Renaissance device. As Ophelia explains, this pantomime “imports the argument of the play” (3.2.123). Describe the pantomime.

8. Act 3, Scene 4 is the structural turning point of the play. An  important element in building the intensity of the scene is Claudius’ attempt at prayer (3.3.37-73). Explain carefully the dilemma Claudius is in. What does this scene add to our picture of Claudius?

9. Why does the Ghost reappear at this time? Since Gertrude cannot see  him, what does she think?

10. What are we to make of Hamlet’s attitude in 3.4.211-16? Is he displaying a lack of sensitivity?


1. Act 4, Scene 1 is short and succinct; however, it gives us a portrait of Claudius at work. How does this scene present Claudius as a good politician?

2. Read 4.3.17-35. Hamlet’s thoughts are focused on death. Discuss the  naturalistic tone of his language. What does this show about Hamlet?

3. Read 4.4.32-66, Hamlet’s last soliloquy. How does Hamlet feel about  Fortinbras’ action? How does Fortinbras’ action contrast with Hamlet’s own inaction? On what note does this soliloquy end?

4. In 4.5, Ophelia enters insane. Her communication is all in fragments  of folk songs, some of them bawdy. What is Claudius’ reaction to this new problem (see 4.5.65 -92)?

5. In the second half of 4.5, we see Laertes as a foil to Hamlet. What’s a”foil?” [A literary term!] Characterize Laertes in this scene (especially 4.5.126-32)

6. In Act 4, Scene 7, Claudius tells Laertes his version of Polonius’  murder. When Laertes questions why Claudius did not earlier take action against Hamlet, what two reasons does Claudius give (4.7.9-24)

7. Laertes and Claudius propose two back-up schemes in case the  “sword unbated” (4.7.137) fails. What does Laertes propose? What does Claudius propose?


1. Hamlet’s dialogue about the skulls shows the extent of his  disillusionment with humanity. Compare his view of humanity in this scene to  what he said in 2.2.279-90. How does the Clown’s cheerful acceptance of the  nature of death and time’s inevitable changes contrast with Hamlet’s  attitude?

2. Discuss the problem posed by the Clown’s statement that he has been  gravedigger since the day Hamlet was born (5.1.126-27), which was thirty years ago (5.1.140). What age would you assign to Hamlet? Why?

3. Hamlet’s comments on Yorick’s skull (5.1.161-70) comprise one of the  often-quoted passages in the play. Who was Yorick? How is this skull more “personal” to Hamlet than the others?

4. How should we react to Laertes’ behavior in Ophelia’s funeral scene?  How should we react to Hamlet’s behavior? What is the effect of 5.1.242-44?

5. After Osric brings word of the duel to Hamlet and after a Lord comes  to announce the time of the duel, how does Hamlet react? In particular, what does he say in 5.2.193-97?  Why do you think he reacts this way?

6. The final scene is filled with deaths. Exactly what causes the death of each of these: Gertrude, Claudius, Laertes, Hamlet?




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