Compare and Contrast
1. Who is your favorite character and why? Who do you dislike, why?
2. If you were acting in a production of the play, which character would you want to be? Why? Who would you not want to play? Why?
3. Compare Hamlet to the story of The Lion King. Think about how they are similar and different in time frame, characters, settings, and ending.
1. Who is to blame for each of these deaths: Polonius, Laertes, Claudius, Hamlet, Ophelia, and Gertrude? Is there a real hero or villain?
2. Should Hamlet have listened to the ghost of his father, even though he was asking him to commit a crime? Is it ever right to disobey?
3. How else could Hamlet have proved Claudius killed his father?
1. Look at the advice Polonius gives Laertes in Act 1 Scene 3. Do you think it is good advice? Why?
2. In the last scene of the play Horatio intends to kill himself as well, Hamlet stops him saying “If thou didst ever hold me in thy heart absent thee from felicity a while, and in this harsh world draw thy breath in pain to tell my story.” Why does Hamlet ask him to do this?
3. While Shakespeare wrote many revenge plays Hamlet is unique in the sense that we don’t see him go straight from his anger to the enacting of his revenge. He contemplates the certainty of the world and wonders if what he’s doing is right all the way through. Why do you think that is? Does it add something to the play? Does it take away anything? What examples in the text can you find to support this idea?
1. Is there anything that happens in this play that you wouldn’t see in the world today? Were these events common in Shakespeare’s time? Why?
2. What would it be like to see this play at Shakespeare’s theatre, The Globe, in the hot afternoon, standing up, with men playing all the roles? (Even Ophelia.)
3. How do you think Shakespeare would react if he knew that you were learning about his play more than 450 years after he wrote it?