Essay Questions For Hamlet Act 3

Hello OM seniors! Don’t forget that your reading assignment for the weekend is pages 163-185. After reading, select ONE of the discussion questions below and write your answer in the comments section. Be sure to include the number of the question you are answering. Your answer should be between 3-6 sentences and should be posted by Monday morning. This assignment will count towards your participation grade.

1. In Act 3, Scene 3, Hamlet has the chance to kill Claudius while the King is praying. What does Hamlet use as his excuse for not carrying out his revenge at this moment? Consider your opinion of this excuse-do you buy it or not? Is this just another example of Hamlet’s inability to act or is this a valid response? Perhaps you have another idea…..

2. Consider Claudius’ monologue in Act 3, Scene 3, lines 40-76. Using evidence from these lines argue whether or not you believe Claudius truly feels guilty for what he has done or simply fears the punishment he may receive after death. What are his true feelings about his act of murder? What else do we learn about Claudius from these words?

3. In these pages we see the end of Polonius. Considering our study of this character, including his tendency to give unsolicited advice and to spy on people, discuss your thoughts on the way that he is killed. What happens to his body after Hamlet murders him? Did he have it coming? Is Shakespeare making a point with this particular death at this time and in this place? What does the role of Polonius represent in the play?

4. Carefully examining Hamlet’s conversation with Gertrude in Act 3, Scene 4 offer an analysis of Gertrude’s character. Consider what Hamlet says directly to her as well as the way she responds. Is Gertrude a powerless woman like Ophelia or is she as guilty as Claudius? What can we infer from what other characters say about her? How much power does Gertrude really have in relation to Hamlet and Claudius?


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Act 3 Scene 4 of William Shakespeare's Hamlet Essay

1173 Words5 Pages

Act 3 Scene 4 of William Shakespeare's Hamlet

It is tempting to condemn Gertrude as evil, but it is probably more sensible to consider her as weak and inconstant. But when have tragedy plays ever been sensible? Like many of Shakespeare's women it is argued that their characters are somewhat "sketched in" rather than drawn in with detail like for example, Hamlet's. The way Shakespeare has "sketched in" Gertrude's character leads an awful lot down to the way she is played on the stage. When reading the play Gertrude's character is enigmatic. This leads a lot down to personal interpretation upon reading the play. We also have to take the culture of that period in time into consideration when…show more content…

The Victorian society was very familiar with death and it was a large part of their culture. Gertrude waited a whole month before announcing her love for Claudius. There are even suggestions that Gertrude was unfaithful to Old Hamlet with Claudius, she was probably quite lonely being married to Hamlet senior, seeing as he was always off at war…who else to warm the royal bed than the charismatic Claudius? This links her to the death of Claudius and weather she had a hand in it. Looking at the evidence we seriously have to ask, how can Gertrude not know about the details of her husband's death when so heavily involved with Claudius and the palace?

One of her greatest weapons is her power of deceitfulness. In act 3 scene 4 Gertrude supposedly finds out about the murder of Old Hamlet. She seems shocked and flabbergasted about the event but in control of her emotions. In the heated exchanges between the two Gertrude shows Hamlet how supposedly innocent she is and vulnerable to the evil of Claudius. Hamlet's tone moves from the bitterly accusatory, "kill a king and marry with his brother", to the almost apologetic, "I must only be cruel to be kind". This tool of vulnerability plays on Hamlet's mixed up emotions and wins him back over to her side. So when she is in a tight situation she can just play the innocent card and Hamlet will take it, due to his love for his mother.


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