Hamlet Short Answer Questions

What does Hamlet think of Rosencrantz and Guildenstern?
He does not trust them. He thinks they’re too weak to see that the king is using them. They are like a sponge-try to soak up all the information they can and the king rings it out of them.

Why must the king not put the “strong arm” (means putting force onto) Hamlet?
The common people love Hamlet.

When the king asks where Polonius is, what is Hamlet’s answer?
He says Polonius is “not where he eats but where he is eaten.” He tells the King to look for him in Heaven and if he can’t find him he should go to “the other place” (Hell)

What is the content of the letters that the King sends with Rosencrantz and Guildenstern to England with Hamlet?
The king wants Hamlet to be killed as soon as he reaches England.

What prompts Hamlet to say, “My thoughts be bloody or nothing worth!”
He learns that Fortinbras is fighting full force over a little plot of land that means nothing and he has not done anything about his father’s death.

What has happened to Ophelia?
She’s going nuts. She looked like a zombie. She is drowned. Many think its suicide.

Why does Laertes force his way in? What does he want?
He wants revenge for his father.

What is the content of Hamlet’s letter to Horatio?
Explains he escaped Rosencrantz and Guildenstern onto a Pirate ship. They are treating him well because pirates want favors from him. He wants Horatio to give letters to King and Queen and come to see him.

What plan do the King and Laertes discuss to kill Hamlet?
Put poison in the cup and offer Hamlet a drink.

What news does the king bring Laertes?
The king tells Laertes that Ophelia was drowned.

Laertes thinks that Ophelia should have a better funeral service. What is the priest’s answer?
Ophelia is lucky to be getting a nice a funeral as she is considering the “nature of her death” (means she killed herself which is a sin)

Why does Hamlet jump into Ophelia’s grave?
Because he wants to show his sorrow is as great as Laertes.

What does the king say to Laertes to console (make him feel better) him after Laertes and Hamlet are separated?
He tells him not to worry; he will soon have the appropriate time in place to kill Hamlet. One way or another, Hamlet will die.

What did Hamlet do to Rosencrantz and Guildenstern?
Hamlet replaced (switched) the letter that called for his (Hamlet) execution (death) with letters calling for their (Rosencrantz and Guildenstern) execution.

What news does Osric bring Hamlet?
Osric is the courtier sent by Claudius to invite Hamlet to participate in the duel with Laertes. He tells the wager (a bet) the king made on his behalf in a contest between Hamlet and Laertes.

What happens to the King, Hamlet, Laertes and the Queen?
1. The King was killed by Hamlet
2. Hamlet was killed by Laertes’s sword
3. Laertes was killed by poison on his own sword when Hamlet picked wrong sword in a fight.
4. The Queen drinks out of cup meant for Hamlet and she died.

Who does Hamlet recommend to the throne?
Fortinbras

Bernardo, Francisco and Marcellus
Who are the members of the King’s guard

Hamlet’s close friend that studied with him at the University. He is very loyal to Hamlet.
Who is Horatio?

The father of Hamlet and the King of Denmark until he dies. He appears as a ghost at night.
Who was King Hamlet?

Bernardo saw the ghost of King Hamlet.
What had Bernardo seen at a prior watch?

Marcellus thinks Horatio should speak to the ghost because he will know what to say to him. He is a “scholar” and is educated. He’s also a great friend of Hamlet.
Why does Marcellus think Horatio should speak to the ghost?

His father was killed by King Hamlet. He wants to reclaim the land that his father lost to King Hamlet. He wants to fight the King of Denmark and go to war to get them back. He has gathered men from different areas of Norway to help him.
What does young Fortinbras want to do?

They want to tell young Hamlet that they have seen the ghost of his father. They think the ghost will speak to his son.
Who do the soldiers/guards want to tell about the ghost?

The King of Denmark and the Uncle of Hamlet. He is the antagonist or the bad guy. He is the brother of King Hamlet. He married Queen Gertrude, Hamlet’s mother and King Hamlet’s wife shortly after the King’s death.
Who is King Claudius?

The Queen of Denmark. She is Hamlet’s mother. She married Claudius shortly after her husband died. She loves Hamlet.
Who is Queen Gertrude?

He is the Lord of the court and an advisor to King Claudius. He is also the father of Laertes and Ophelia.
Who is Polonius?

The son of Polonius and the brother of Ophelia. He wants to go back to France.
Who is Laertes?

He has written a letter to the King of Norway that he wants Cornelius and Voltimand to deliver. The King of Norway is Fortinbras’s Uncle. He is an old man who doesn’t know what Fortinbras is planning. The King of Norway has the power to stop Fortinbras from going to war.
Where does Claudius send Cornelius and Voltimand?

The King tells Hamlet that he should not be so sad that his father died. Life must continue to go on. He also tells him that he does not want him to return to Wittenburg University to study. He wants him to stay in Denmark and to think of him as Hamlet’s father.
What does the King tell Hamlet?

1. Hamlet is upset because his father died.
2. Hamlet is also upset because his mother married his Uncle very quickly after his father died, less than a month.
Hamlet is upset for two reasons. What are they?

Horatio tells Hamlet that he saw the ghost of his father. He was dressed for battle and looked very sad.
What news does Horatio bring Hamlet?

Hamlet decides to see the ghost and talk to him.
What does Hamlet decide to do after he hears Horatio’s news?

He tells her to stay away from Hamlet. Hamlet will take advantage of her. She should not believe him when he says he loves her. Hamlet will be King of Denmark, he is royalty and she is not.
What is Laertes’ advice to Ophelia?

He tells Laertus not to say what he is thinking and to think before he acts. He should hold onto his friends and not to be quick to make new friends. Don’t pick fights, but if you are in one, fight well. Listen to many people, but talk to few. Don’t borrow or lend money. Don’t have too much fun.
What is Polonius’ advice to Laertes?

She will stay away from Hamlet.
At the end of Scene III, Ophelia agrees to “obey.” What will she do?

The ghost tells Hamlet that Claudius killed him. He poured poison into his ear when he was in the garden and he died. He also stole his wife Gertrude. He asks Hamlet to seek revenge and kill Claudius, but not to hurt Gertrude. God and her guilt will take punish her.
What does the ghost tell Hamlet?

1. He makes him swear to not tell anyone what they saw. Hamlet talking to the ghost of his father
2. He tells them that he will pretend to be crazy and they can not say it is because he saw the ghost of his father and talked to him.
Hamlet swears Horatio to two things. What are they?

It’s a bad sign for the country. Something bad is going to happen.
What does Horatio think the ghost is a sign of?

Claudius is sad that his brother died but he’s happy about marrying Queen Gertrude.
What’s contradictory about Claudius?

Hamlet feels very sad and unhappy because his father died. He loved and admired his father. He feels betrayed by his mother because she married Claudius.
How does Hamlet feel?

Women are weak. Hamlet says that because Gertrude married Claudius within a month of his father’s death.
“Frailty thy name is woman” What does that mean?

Gertrude married into a incestous relationship nothing good can come about it and Hamlet can’t say anything about it.
“With such dexterity to incestous sheets”

Something bad happened to his father.
What does Hamlet think when he finds out about his father’s ghost?

He’s a ghost at night and he was trapped in the fires of purgatory until he’s done penance.
Where is King Hamlet?

He didn’t ask for forgiveness for his sins from God because his brother killed him before he could repent.
Why is King Hamlet in purgatory?

Polonius sends Reynaldo to Paris. Polonius wants to learn about what his son is doing in Paris because he wants to spy on his son.
What does Polonius send Reynaldo? Why?

Polonius thinks that Hamlet is mad because he’s crazy with love for Ophelia and she is ignoring him so he is depressed.
Why does Polonius think Hamlet is “mad”?

Claudius asked them to come to the castle to find out what’s bothering Hamlet. Then, they can try to help him.
Why have Rosencrantz and Guildenstern come to the castle?

He wants Hamlet and Ophelia to meet. Polonius is going to spy on them.
What is Polonius’ plan for testing his theory that is love-crazy?

He thought that the world was wonderful but life is terrible. People don’t interest him.
Rosencrantz and Guildenstern finally meet with Hamlet, and Hamlet discovers they were sent for by the King. How does Hamlet describe his personal problems to them? What does he tells them?

He’s going to have to put some of Hamlet’s lines in here. He is going to have him change some of the play. Reenact how his father was murdered to see how Claudius reacts.
What arrangement does Hamlet make with Player 1?

He’s a coward and a dreamer because he hasn’t made any plans to kill his uncle. He has an idea that if the players act out his father’s murder King Claudius will confess his crime of killing King Hamlet.
After Rosencrantz and Guildenstern leave Hamlet what does he basically say in his soliloquy?

Hamlet is confused but he doesn’t say why and won’t talk about how he feels. He doesn’t give them straight answers. King Claudius tells them to encourage Hamlet’s interest in the play. They also told him that Hamlet is interested in the theater troop.
What message do Rosencrantz and Guildenstern carry to the King? What is the King’s response?

He talks about whether it’s better to live or commit suicide. He would kill himself but he’s worried about what happens after a person dies especially if they commit suicide. It’s against the Catholic religion to commit suicide and that’s why people live and suffer because they are afraid of life after death.
Hamlet’s famous “To be or not to be” soliloquy is in scene one. In a sentence or two paraphrase his main points.

Hamlet’s tone is angry. He tells Ophelia to become a nun and not get married. Ophelia shouldn’t have children because children become people and they become terrible people. Hamlet is not making sense to Ophelia.
Describe Hamlet’s tone when he speaks to Ophelia.

Claudius doesn’t think that Hamlet is love-crazy. He doesn’t even think he’s crazy. He think’s he’s sad. Polonius still thinks that his madness was caused by unrequited love for Ophelia. King Claudius decides to send him to England to get back the money that the King of England owes to the King of Denmark. Polonius wants Hamlet to talk to his mother to find out his secret and Polonius will hide and listen to their conversation.
What do the King and Polonius decide about Hamlet’s condition after eavesdropping on Hamlet and Ophelia?

Hamlet wants the players to perform a scene similar to what he thinks happened to his father. Hamlet and Horatio are going to be watching King Claudius to see if he acts guilty. If he doesn’t act guilty then the ghost was a devil and wasn’t telling the truth about his father’s death.
Why does Hamlet give instructions to the players?

The King stopped the play. Hamlet and Horatio decided that means that the King was guilty of poisoning King Hamlet like the ghost said.
What was the King’s reaction to the play, and what did Hamlet and Horatio decide his reaction meant?

The Queen wants to talk to Hamlet before he goes to bed. The Queen is surprised about Hamlet’s behavior.
What message does Rosencrantz deliver from the queen?

The King wants Rosencrantz and Guildenstern to prepare to go to England with Hamlet on diplomatci business. The king thinks that Hamlet is getting crazier and he has to protect the country from the danger of Hamlet’s craziness getting out of control.
The King has Rosencrantz and Guildenstern prepare to do what? Why?

Hamlet doesn’t kill the King when the King is kneeling because he is praying to repent his sins, killing the King and marrying the Queen. If he dies now he will go to heaven. King Hamlet couldn’t go to heaven because he didn’t repent for his sins. It’s better if he waits for the king to sin before Hamlet kills him then King Claudius will go to hell.
Why doesn’t Hamlet kill the King when the King is kneeling?

Polonius dies because he was hiding behind the tapestry. Then, Hamlet heard yelling from behind the tapestry and he stabbed his sword through the tapestry and killed Polonius.
How does Polonius die?

Hamlet wants his mother to stop having sex with King Claudius. He also wants her to confess her sins to God and repent her sins. He doesn’t want her to tell the King that Hamlet’s craziness is not real.
What would Hamlet have his mother do?