Hamlet

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Hamlet is a tragedy by William Shakespeare, believed to have been written between 1599 and 1601. The play, set in Denmark, recounts how Prince Hamlet exacts revenge on his uncle Claudius, who has murdered Hamlet's father, the King, and then taken the throne and married Hamlet's mother. The play vividly charts the course of real and feigned madness—from overwhelming grief to seething rage—and explores themes of treachery, revenge, incest, and moral corruption. (From feedbooks.com)
Curriculet Details
90 Questions
51 Annotations
17 Quizzes

One of Shakespeare's great tragedies, Hamlet is a play about revenge, deception, indecision, ambition, and fate. This free, interactive curriculet, designed for 11-12th graders, supports students in the discovery and exploration of these and other themes. The curriculet contains annotations that explain difficult to interpret passages and rhetorical questions that ask students to consider character motivation, gender portrayals, themes and motifs. The Common Core aligned questions and answers (including quizzes) in this free digital unit increase student engagement while building reading comprehension. Videos in the curriculet cover character development, textual evidence, foreshadowing, the question of Hamlet’s sanity, and the subject of revenge. This online curriculum also contains video clips of scenes from several different movie versions of the play.

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Act 1 - Scene I

This short video explores some of the uncertainty in Hamlet and presents some questions to consider as you read. (This annotation contains a video)
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Marcellus and Barnardo are standing guard late at night, keeping an eye out for something. What are they looking for? 
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How does Horatio feel when he sees the ghost? 
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How does Horatio know the ghost is the deceased King of Denmark? 
Horatio is recounting some history here that informs us of the present state of things in the play. Hamlet, the dead king, was dared into battle by Fortinbras of Norway. King Hamlet killed Fortinbras, and Fortinbras’ land went to Hamlet. Now Fortinbras’ son has collected a bunch of thugs who, in exchange for some food, are going to help him fight to get his father’s land back. 
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Horatio thinks the appearance of the king’s ghost is 
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Marcellus says “We do it wrong, being so majestical, to offer it the show of violence, for it is, as the air, invulnerable,” by which he means 
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Shakespeare starts this play “in medias res,” which is a Latin literary term meaning “into the middle of things.” He jumps into a scene where some guards are on the lookout for an “apparition.” What effect does starting the play in medias res have on the reader? 
Hamlet, Act I, Scene I Quiz 

Act 1 - Scene II

Characters unfold and develop over the course of a story, and in literature we refer to this process as character development. You can watch this short video to learn more:  (This annotation contains a video)
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Complete the following sentence: Voltemand and Cornelius are called in to deliver a message 
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What does Gertrude press Hamlet to do in this scene? 
Think about the different way Hamlet approaches and deals with death, versus his mom and Claudius. 
If you would like help picturing this scene, the video below is a more modern adaptation of the events. (This annotation contains a video)
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“Tis an unweeded garden that grows to seed” is a metaphor referring to 
Here we get a glimpse at Hamlet’s opinion of women. 
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What is the subtext of this line: “Thrift, thrift, Horatio! The funeral baked meats did coldly furnish forth the marriage tables”? 
The following questions require you to use textual evidence; watch this short video to learn what this means.  (This annotation contains a video)
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What is Hamlet’s mood when he is talking with Horatio about the appearance of his father’s ghost? 
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Using examples from the text, explain your answer to the previous question. 
Hamlet, Act I, Scene II Quiz 

Act 1 - Scene III-IV

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What does Laertes say about Hamlet’s affection for Ophelia? 
Here Laertes says Hamlet’s “will is not his own.” He is referring to Hamlet’s royal background, reminding Ophelia that Hamlet does not exactly have free will because he is tethered to a set of expectations via his royal family. 
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How does Ophelia respond to her brother’s plea? 
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Polonius gives Laertes a lot of advice in his speech on this page. Which of the following is NOT a piece of advice he gives? 
You can watch a clip of this scene below. (This annotation contains a video)
If Hamlet’s praises give “more light than heat,” then are they authentic or fake? If Polonius says “you must not take [Hamlet’s promises] for fire,” is he saying Hamlet’s love is reliable or questionable? 
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What is Hamlet’s opinion of all the partying going on in the house? 
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What do you think Hamlet’s father’s ghost is going to tell him? 
Hamlet, Act I, Scene IV Quiz 

Act 1 - Scene V

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What is the ghost talking about in this passage? 
How does the Ghost describe the afterlife here? Does it remind you of any descriptions you’ve heard of hell? The Bible, perhaps? 
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What does the ghost tell Hamlet to do to his mother? 
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How did the king die? 
The video clip below will show you this scene in the 1990 screen adaptation of Hamlet. (This annotation contains a video)
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What is Hamlet saying in this page? 
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Take a moment to summarize the events of Act 1. Make you sure mention all of the following characters in your response: Hamlet, the ghost, Claudius, Gertrude, Polonius, Horatio, Ophelia, and Laertes. 
Hamlet, Act I, Scene V Quiz 

Act 2 - Scene I-II

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What is Polonius’ point in asking Reynaldo to snoop around asking questions about Laertes? 
Can you think of another reason, besides his being overcome by passion, that Hamlet may have come to Ophelia’s room in this condition? 
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“He raised a sign so piteous and profound as it did seem to shatter all his bulk and end his being” is an example of what literary device? 
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Do you think Hamlet behaved in a crazed way with Ophelia because he is passionate about her, or because he was impacted by his encounter with the ghost? Please use examples from the text to support your answer. 
This clip provides a modern adaptation of the first scene in the second act of the play. (This annotation contains a video)
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Claudius and Gertrude arranged for Rosencrantz and Guildenstern to come be with Hamlet. Which of the following is NOT one of the reasons they chose to have these men come? 
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What news does Voltemand bring about Fortinbras? 
Watch this video to learn about internal and external conflict. (This annotation contains a video)
Hamlet, Act II, Scene I Quiz 

Act 2 - Scene II

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Polonius equates love to 
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How is Hamlet acting in this scene? 
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Why does Hamlet think Denmark is a prison? 
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“I could be bounded in a nutshell and count myself a king of infinite space” is an example of 
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Which of the following statements summarizes Hamlet’s comments here? 
You can see Rosencrantz and Guildenstern in this scene in the clip below. Do you think the actors portray the characters as you pictured them? (This annotation contains a video)
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What does the reading for today add to your understanding of Hamlet’s character? In other words, what did you learn about Hamlet in this reading? 
Hamlet, Act II, Scene II Quiz 

Act 2 - Scene II cont.

Hamlet is considered a revenge play. Watch this short clip to learn about the elements of this dramatic genre. (This annotation contains a video)
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“I am but mad north-north-west. When the wind is southerly, I know a hawk from a handsaw.” This line is 
Foreshadowing is when an author hints at something to come. The following video will tell you more about this literary device: (This annotation contains a video)
Female characters were played by young men in Shakespeare’s time. These lines by Hamlet reference the boys’ beards and changing voices: all bad things for a boy who plays a girl to possess! 
Pyrrhus, son of the Greek hero Achilles, avenged his father’s death by killing Priam, King of Troy. This allusion (reference to another place, event, or literary work) also foreshadows future events in the play. 
Aeneas, Dido, and Priam are characters in a poem called The Aeneid. 
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Which of the following lines is NOT an example of a simile? 
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“You could, for a need, study a speech of some dozen or sixteen lines which I would set down and insert in ‘t, could you not?” Hamlet is asking: 
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In the first half of his soliloquy, Hamlet is saying 
You can watch actor David Tennant act out this scene in the video below. (This annotation contains a video)
Hamlet, Act II, Scene II Quiz 

Act 3 - Scene I

Watch this video to hear a little bit about one of the big issues in the play: Hamlet's sanity. (This annotation contains a video)
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According to the logic of Hamlet’s soliloquy, what motivates people to stay alive? 
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“To be or not to be” translates to 
The video below shows Hamlet's soliloquy being performed in a 1948 production. (This annotation contains a video)
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What does Hamlet say to Ophelia here? 
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What can you infer about Hamlet’s feelings towards women, after hearing his comments to Ophelia? 
Hamlet, Act III, Scene I Quiz 

Act 3 - Scene II

In this video, the players perform "The Murder of Gonzago." (This annotation contains a video)
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Hamlet is acting like a ______________ in this scene. 
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What does Hamlet value about his friend Horatio? 
You can see this interaction between Horatio and Hamlet below. (This annotation contains a video)
This reference to Julius Caesar is no accident… It is foreshadowing! 
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Hamlet makes some commentary here about his mother. What does he say? 
“The dumb show” means it will be a show in pantomime. 
The prologue is the actor who will introduce the play. 
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What conclusion does the player queen come to at the end of her lines? 
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A “story within a story” is a literary device in which one narrative is presented during the action of another. Shakespeare uses this device in Hamlet when the players act out events from real life. What is the point of using this device? 
Hamlet, Act III, Scene II Quiz 

Act 3 - Scene II cont.

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Hamlet says, “I’ll take the ghost’s word for a thousand pound.” This means 
Choler means anger. 
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According to Guildenstern’s report, what is Gertrude’s disposition? 
Her "closet" refers to her bedroom. 
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Hamlet is using an extended metaphor (also called a conceit) in his comments here to Guildenstern. What is he comparing? 
You can see a short clip of this scene below. (This annotation contains a video)
Nero was a tyrannical Roman ruler, known for his cruelty. He executed his own mother. 
Hamlet, Act III, Scene II Quiz 

Act 3 - Scene III-IV

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Claudius wants to send Hamlet to England now, with a sense of conviction that Hamlet is dangerous to have around. How do Rosencrantz and Guildenstern respond to Claudius’s request? 
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What does Claudius’s soliloquy tell us about how he feels? 
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What literary device do the following lines exemplify?“What if this cursed hand were thicker than itself with brother’s blood? Is there not rain enough in the sweet heavens to wash it white as snow?”  
Below, you can watch Queen Gertrude and Hamlet in an older adaptation of the drama. (This annotation contains a video)
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What is Gertrude’s response to Hamlet’s speech? 
Watch this video about antagonists and protagonists before answering the next question: (This annotation contains a video)
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Who is the antagonist in Hamlet? Please explain your answer. 
Think of five adjectives that describe Hamlet. 
Hamlet, Act III, Scene IV Quiz 

Act 3 - Scene IV cont., Act 4 - Scene I-III

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Does Gertrude see the ghost of her dead ex-husband? 
Does Hamlet remind you of a character in another book you’ve read? 
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How does Gertrude act in Hamlet’s presence? 
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Hamlet compares Rosencrantz to a sponge. What is the meaning of this metaphor? 
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Tom Stoppard’s play “Rosencrantz and Guildenstern are Dead” contains many scenes in which the two main characters stand on an empty stage, discussing how human beings cannot control their own fates. This fact indicates that, in addition to borrowing from Hamlet, Stoppard MOST likely borrowed from which of the following plays? 
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During their interaction in the beginning of Scene 3, Claudius is ______________ andHamlet is ______________. 
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Do you think Gertrude was in on Claudius’s plan to murder king Hamlet? Explain your answer using support from the text. 
How do you find this interpretation of the action? (This annotation contains a video)
Hamlet, Act III/IV Quiz 

Act 4 - Scene IV-V

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“What is a man if his chief good and market of his time be but to sleep and feed?” is an example of 
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Act 4, Scene 4 provides a short break in Hamlet’s personal conflict. What is the purpose of this pause from the events of the play? 
This short clip offers an analysis of Hamlet and Ophelia's "romance." (This annotation contains a video)
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The lyrics that Ophelia sings are about 
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Who has more conviction about avenging his father’s death, Hamlet or Laertes? Please explain your answer using examples from the text. 
Watch Ophelia singing in this clip. (This annotation contains a video)
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At the end of scene 5, Claudius asks Laertes to 
Hamlet Act IV, Scene V Quiz 

Act 4 - Scene VI-VII

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It is clear in the interaction here between Claudius and Laertes that an event happened that didn’t appear in the play. What was the event? 
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Claudius gives “two special reasons” why he didn’t take immediate action after Hamlet murdered Polonius. What are his two reasons? 
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What is Laertes’s reaction to the news that Hamlet will be returning? 
A rapier is a blade. Here, Claudius is referring to a fencing blade. 
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By using the simile "Are you like the painting of a sorrow, A face without a heart?” Claudius is saying 
You can watch actors portraying this scene in a film adaptation below. (This annotation contains a video)
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Which of these statements summarizes what Claudius is saying to Laertes in the highlighted text? 
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If you could give Hamlet any advice at this point in the play, what would you tell him? 
Hamlet Act IV, Scene VI/VII Quiz 

Act 5 - Scene I

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When the clown suggests that Ophelia "willfully seeks her own salvation,” he probably means 
In Shakespeare’s time, people who committed suicide were not allowed to have a Christian burial because suicide was seen as a sin. 
Gallows refers to a frame used for execution by hanging. 
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Which of these summarize what Hamlet is saying here? 
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What does Hamlet learn from the clown? 
You can see a clip of this somber scene being acted out below. (This annotation contains a video)
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The priest is 
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“Until my eyelids no longer wag” is an example of 
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Compare and contrast the passion Hamlet and Laertes feel as they battle each other in Ophelia’s grave. What feelings motivate these characters in this scene? 
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Ophelia goes crazy after Hamlet dumps her and eventually kills herself by drowning. Which of the following works is MOST likely based on Ophelia’s story? 
This clip shows the beginning of Act 5 in a film adaptation. (This annotation contains a video)
Hamlet, Act V, Scene I Quiz 

Act 5 - Scene II

Is this book similar to any other book you’ve read? Think of the theme, characters, setting, language, conflict, and relationships between characters. 
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“There’s a divinity that shapes our ends, rough-hew them how we will” means 
Hamlet is going to recount to Horatio what happened when he was shipped off to England, and how it is he returned. 
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How did Rosencrantz and Guildenstern die? 
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How do Hamlet and Horatio feel about Osric? 
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The king is challenging Hamlet 
This is an interesting, artistic cinematic depiction of the dialogue during the play at this time. (This annotation contains a video)
Hamlet, Act V, Scene II Quiz 
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What do you think is going to happen at the end of the play? 

Act 5 - Scene II cont.

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In this same speech, Hamlet speaks in the _____________________ point-of-view. 
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Hamlet is being __________________ in his speech to Laertes before the duel. 
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“I’ll be your foil, Laertes. In mine ignoranceYour skill shall, like a star i' th' darkest night,Stick fiery off indeed.”Here, Hamlet’s tone is 
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The pearl is 
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How does Laertes admit he feels after he tells Claudius “I’ll hit him now”? 
A version of this scene can be played below. (This annotation contains a video)
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Which of the following events does NOT happen at the end of the play? 
Here are some examples of personification in Hamlet... (This annotation contains a video)
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What is the moral of this story? 
Hamlet, Act V, Scene II Quiz