Find five questions that drive the theme, characters, or plot of the play.

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Some of these questions are specfic, and others are more broad.  all should help you understand the theme, characters, and plot of the play. Some, but not all, derive from eNotes on Hamlet.

  • What is the play’s attitude toward kinship as we see it in the play within the play and the fate of Rosencranz and Guildenstern? 
  • How is Hamlet a "tragic hero" by Aristotlean definitions of the generic role? (see eNotes Literary Terms)
  • How does Hamlet use comedy and the concept of "comic relief"? (see especially the scene with the gravediggers)
  • How are "disease", "dirt", and physical corruption used in Hamlet? How can they be read thematically? (See, for ex. 1.1.9; 1.1.20;   1.1.39;  3.4.147;  4.3.9;   4.7.124)
  • How is Hamlet’s fourth soliloquy (3.1.58-90) different from the first two? Think about the way Hamlet's mind works within the first two--is the same thing happening here? What is the main idea of this third soliloquy?
  • What do Rosencrantz and Guildenstern learn from Hamlet? (4.2)
  • What is Laertes' approach to revenging his father's death? How does it compare to Hamlet's? How much support does he have? Whom does he initially blame? (4.5)
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These Q&A are from the eNotes pages on Quizzes. (some have been edited here for space.) 

What are Hamlet’s reasons for objecting to his mother’s remarriage?

The marriage was too soon after his father’s death; he can’t see how his mother could have so soon forgotten her love and devotion to her husband.

What do Claudius and Gertrude conclude after hearing Hamlet's letter to Ophelia?

Polonius orders Ophelia to shun Hamlet; the prince’s appears to be mad.  The Queen agrees. This is a shift from Gertrude’s earlier assumption that “it is no other but the main, His father’s death and our o’erhasty marriage.” 

What is ironic about Hamlet’s failure to kill Claudius while the King is kneeling in prayer?

Claudius kneels but is unable to pray. Had Hamlet killed him then, as he first intended, Claudius’ soul would have been damned.

What reasons does Claudius give Laertes for not taking action against Hamlet, who, Claudius says, “Pursued [his] life”?

Claudius says that Hamlet’s mother loves him and . . .  that the cannot do anything which would hurt her. Secondly, he says that public sentiment is solidly behind Hamlet.

Why does Hamlet forbid Horatio to drink the rest of the poisoned cup?

He wants Horatio to tell his (Hamlet’s) story so that his name will be cleared rather than “wounded.”

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