Hamlet Act 3 Study Guide

1. What instructions is Ophelia given at the beginning of this scene?
To bump into Hamlet so Polonius and Claudius can overhear their conversation and to be reading a Bible to give the impression of loneliness.
2. How is Hamlet’s harsh treatment of Ophelia in this scene related to his earlier statement concerning Gertrude, “Frailty, thy name is woman”?
He keeps telling Ophelia to “get thee to a nunnery” because he believes women are morally weak and are easy targets for men.
3. In what way is Ophelia already corrupted by the world of Elsinore?
She willingly participates in deception
4. Explain what Hamlet means in line 75 ” when we have shuffled off this mortal coil.”
He means when we have shed this earthly body
5. According to the “to be or not to be” speech, list two reasons why Hamlet considers suicide.
He wants to rest from his need to take action and he wants relief from his emotional pain.
But contemplates if it’s worth living and suffering or dying (eternal sleep).
6. What does the king decide to do with Hamlet in lines 176-189? what is his fear?
Send him to England to get the neglected tribute. He says that people who have greatness in them and are crazy have to be watched.
7. What does Polonius plan to do in lines 190-201? .
He plans to listen to the conversation between Gertrude and Hamlet.
Scene 2
1. What does Hamlet instruct Horatio to do before the play? What does he admire about Horatio?
He wants Horatio to help him watch the king’s reaction. He admires Horatio’s honesty and loyalty.
2. Describe Hamlet’s behavior at the play. How does he speak to his mother, uncle, Polonius, and Ophelia?
He is excited and not sullen for once. He is antagonizing toward them.
3. The play-within-a-play serves an important function in the plot because it allows Hamlet to obtain evidence of Claudius’s guilt. How might the play also be related to the motif of false appearance?
The actors are (unwittingly) participating in trapping Claudius. Also, the actors are in disguises.
And it shows the impression that acting reality out is more emotional than actual reality.
4. Explain why Hamlet compares himself to a musical pipe. Think about how Rosencrantz and Guildenstern are treating him. (lines 370-402)
He is telling R&G that he cannot be “played” as in fooled or lied to.
5. Explain Hamlets feelings in lines 419-432. How is this soliloquy different from others?
He’s telling himself not to lose his nature and kill his mother, but to be cruel and speak daggers but not use one.
Scene 3
1. Read the king’s soliloquy. Is he sorry he killed his brother? What would he have done in order to repent? Explain his prayer.
He is sorry, but he feels that in order to truly repent he would have to give up everything he gained by killing him.
2. What reason does Hamlet give for not killing Claudius when he spies him at prayer? What is ironic about the assumption Hamlet makes? Do you think Hamlet may have another reason for not seizing this opportunity? Explain.
He says Claudius is in a state of grace because he just asked for forgiveness. It’s ironic because Claudius feels like he cannot be forgiven. Hamlet passed the opportunity because of fear that Claudius could go to heaven since his sins could be washed away.
Scene 4
1. What is the setting of Act 3 Scene 4? Which four characters are present?
Gertrudes bedroom. Gertrude, Hamlet, Polonius, the ghost of Hamlet
2. Why does the ghost reappear? (lines 126-131)
To remind Hamlet that he is supposed to be getting revenge on Claudius, not Gertrude
3. What does Hamlet explain to his mother about his madness? (lines203-218)
That he has been acting crazy when people are around, but he’s not really crazy.
4. What two things does Hamlet command his mother not to do?
Don’t sleep with Claudius, and don’t tell him anything.
5. What are Gertrude’s emotions in this scene? Do you think she is an evil character? Explain.
She is shocked and devastated. I don’t think she’s evil just leaning more towards her new husband.