Hamlet, Act II


Hamlet-Act IIQuestions,

scene i

1.  Polonius, in his speech to Reynaldo, names several vices that are “known to youth and liberty” (l. 25).  What specifically are those vices? (Polonius names them).

2.  What specific things does Hamlet do when he comes to Ophelia’s chamber? (according to Ophelia). 

Questions, scene ii

1.  Some of the words that are used for synonyms for “madness” in this scene include:                “Hamlet’s transformation” (l. 5); “too much changed” (l. 38); Hamlet’s “lunacy” (l. 52); Hamlet’s “distemper” (l. 58). “defect” (l. 109); Simply note these

2.   Claudius has sent ambassadors to Norway to try & get the king there to “call off” his nephew, Young Fortinbras.  Lines 65-85 basically tell what the ambassadors have to report about their journey.  What do they report?  What will Young Fortinbras do?

3.    Polonius goes in to see Claudius & Gertrude.  What character traits of Polonius are revealed in this scene?  be specific

4.  What plan does Polonius now devise & offer to the king & queen?

5.  Hamlet reports that “To be honest, as this world goes, is to be one man picked out of ten thousand.”  Does this statement apply to the world today? How is this statement ironic, coming from Hamlet in this scene?  (see l. 196)

6.  Polonius remarks, “Though this be madness, yet there is method in’it.” (l. 222)  What does this remark tell you about the speaker?

7.  Hamlet tells his friends that “...there is nothing either good or bad but thinking makes it so.” (l. 265) Is this observation true or false? why?

8.  How does Hamlet excuse his own behavior to his friends?  see lines 309-

9.  Hamlet expresses his opinion of mankind in lines 319-325.  Examine these lines and summarize what he says here, though mere summary doesn’t express the beauty of the passage.

10.  In lines 387, Hamlet claims that he is “but mad north-north-west”, adding that “When the wind is southerly I know a hawk from a handsaw.”  Do you believe Hamlet (at this point in the play) or not? 

11.  Line 555 begins a soliloquy by Hamlet where he berates himself for his behavior up to this point.  What has made him feel so negative about himself?

12.  Hamlet devises a plan that utilizes the players.  What is his plan? 

13.  Hamlet says here that he is again “testing” the ghost to see whether or not it is a devil.  What specific power does he attribute here to the devil (in the form of a ghost)?

14.  Famous quote is at the end of the scene:  “The play’s the thing wherein I’ll catch the conscience of the king.”