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Possible discussion questions for Act 5, Scene 2 of Hamlet.Hi! I need help formulating...

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mballaz | eNotes Newbie

Posted November 2, 2009 at 7:46 AM via web

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Possible discussion questions for Act 5, Scene 2 of Hamlet.

Hi! I need help formulating discussion questions from Act 5 scene 2 of Hamlet. The discussion questions that I have already included are the following:

- Why did the king wager on Hamlet 's victory?

- Did Rozencrantz and Guildenstern deserve their fates?

- Did Gertrude kill herself by knowingly drinking from the poisoned cup?

As you can see they are not very straight forward answers, since, in many instances, Shakespeare didn't provide much detail for a specific incident. Feel free to offer your opinion and interpretation on any of the questions and please include your own questions.

Thanks.

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susan3smith | High School Teacher | (Level 2) Educator

Posted December 13, 2009 at 7:53 AM (Answer #1)

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Act 5, Scene 2 contains many topics for discussion.  As for yours, the first two questions should lead to some interesting commentary.  The first regarding Claudius would perhaps elicit some discussion about Claudius' duplicity and his ability to manipulate those around him.  Even Hamlet seems to fall into his trap when he agrees to fence with Laertes at the king's request.

The second regarding Rosencrantz and Guildenstern would lead to speculation about Hamlet's character development, as he seems to grow more ruthless as the play progresses.  This change is especially evident in his role in the deaths of Rosencrantz and Guildenstern.  While their deaths seem to be harsh, they did engage in espionage, where death is certainly a risk.

Your third question is not as open for discussion since it seems quite obvious that Gertrude did not know the cup was poisoned.

Other questions might be as follows:

-- How are the last lines of each of the major characters appropriate and consistent with their characterization throughout the play?

--How do Horatio and Fortinbras view Hamlet at the end of the play, and are their views justified?

--Does Laertes redeem himself at the end of the play? Why or why not?

--Why is Hamlet given a soldier's funeral?

--How is the amount of fatal poison Gertrude, Laertes, Hamlet, and Claudius receive and the way they receive it symbolic of their characters and their corruption?

--How successful are Hamlet, Laertes, and Fortinbras in their roles as avenging sons?

--How does Shakespeare create dramatic tension and suspense in this final scene?

--How does the last scene relate to the first scene of the play?

--Was Hamlet successful in carrying out the ghost's multiple directives (Act 1)?

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