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Scene 1

1. Polonious asks Reynaldo to spy on his son's activities while in Paris. What particular devious method of spying does Polonious ask Reynaldo to employ? (69-73)

2. Sum up how Hamlet has appeared in his guise of madness to Ophelia. (75)

3. Why does Polonius think Hamlet is acting strangely?

4. Why does Polonius think the King must be apprised of this matter? (75-77)

Scene 2


1. What request do Cladius and Gertrude make of Rosencrantz and Guildenstern? Why ask them in particular? (78-81)

2. How, according to the ambassadors, was young Norway (Prince Fortinbras) able to gather armies under his uncle’s nose (King Norway) without his knowing it? Now that the King was made aware of the attack, what became of it? (83)

3. What papers is Claudius requested to sign?

4. What does Polonius tell the King and Queen regarding the origins of Hamlet’s sudden descent into gloom and madness? (85-89)

5. What is Polonius’ suggestion for proving his theory about Hamlet to the King? (89) What does Polonius say he will do if his suspicion proves false?

6. Give an example of Hamlet being verbally ironic in his conversation with Polonius. (91-93)

7. Why does Hamlet say in line 266 that beggars are bodies, and monarchs and heroes are but shadows of beggars? (96-97)

8. What question does Hamlet pose of Rosencrantz and Guildenstern? (97-99)

9. What does Hamlet reveal to his two friends (R&G) about his state of mind? (99)

10. Why, according to R&G, are the tragedians of the city forced to travel? (101)

11. What does Hamlet mean when he tells R&G that he is a but mad north-north-westâ? (103)

12. Hamlet and the players recount part of a play concerning Pyrrhus, Priam, and Hecuba. From the portion given here, write what happens to these 3 characters. (109-113)

13. Hamlet makes a strange request of one of the players for tomorrowâs performance. What is his request, and why do you suppose he makes it? (113-117)

14. What is meant by this oft quoted line, wath's Hecuba to him, or he to Hecubaâ (line 565)?

15. In his soliloquy, Hamlet both upbraids himself and reveals his course of action. Why is he so cruel to himself, and what does he plan to do? (115-117)

Polonius asks Reynaldo to spy on Laertes

Scene 1

1). Polonius asks his servant Reynaldo to spy on Laertes while in Paris. He puts his servant to find a Danes in Paris and then to report regarding his son’s whereabouts. While spying on his son’s activity he instructs his servant to make use of lies for entrapping Laertes (Kinney). While Polonius appears to be a caring father, but he makes use of deceptive methods also accuses his own son falsely. Polonius refers his son’s behaviours as being party type, therefore Reynaldo needed to ask Danish people in Paris in a vague manner by making use evil lies, as if he was not interested regarding their money, friends, behaviour of Laertes. Such vagueness will help avoid attention of anyone towards his specific interests.     

2). Hamlet in order to confuse Ophelia appeared in a guise of madness. Hamlet appears in a hat, dirty socks, pale as a ghost, unbuttoned jacket without any words. He made use of weird body language that scared her and not understand reason for such behaviour.

3). Hamlet makes use of various tactics and mad attire in front of Ophelia, he also acts in a crazy manner. Polonius thinks that Hamlet is acting I n a mad manner as he is crazy in love for Ophelia. He is depressed being ignored by Ophelia hence in order to gain her attention he is making such behaviour. As Ophelia is not returning his love he is losing his mind hence the strange behaviour.  

4). Fortinbras is attracting to threaten Denmark. There is a national crisis if such war breaks out, as no one will want the ruler to act as a crazy, hence he wants to appraise the matter. People will be threatened if in such situation of a crisis,  their own ruler is able to unable to tackle situation.  

Scene 2

1). Hamlet was acting strangely in front of Ophelia   and as Denmark was on the verge of being attacked, everyone was curious (Greenblatt). Cladius and Gertrude requested Rosencrantz and Guildenstern to ascertain if anything was wrong with Hamlet in particular.

2). As per the ambassadors, the young Norway (Prince Fortinbras) able to gather armies under his uncle’s nose (King Norway) without his knowing it with the soldiers and money he has. The King Norway gave him threescore thousand crowns as an annual fee with his commission for employment of the soldier. As the King was ailing, the Prince could easily gather army without slightest of his knowledge. for attacking Denmark.  

Hamlet's madness and appearance to Ophelia

The King had earlier thought that the army was being prepared for Poland and not for Denmark. But as he was made aware of the attack he asked Prince Fortinbras to do away with his plans of Danish conquest. As his nephew agreed to abide by him, immediately he granted him an annual allowance that was quite generous in nature.

3). The ambassadors were sent with official papers that Claudius needed to sign which stated that Fortinbras needed to be allowed to pass through with his army Denmark. He wanted to go through Denmark for campaigning against Poland, such approval was officially documented and had to be signed.

4). Polonius went to the Queen and the King with his quick discovery regarding Hamlet’s sudden descent into gloom and madness. He tells them in a non-direct manner that Hamlet loves Ophelia and in such love, he has lost his mind. Ophelia has not returned his love which has caused Hamlet to lose roots and delving into sheer madness.  

5). Polonius suggests that in order to prove his theory regarding Hamlet to the King, he proposes that he and Claudius hide. In hiding they note reaction of Hamlet and Ophelia regarding each other, which will easily prove his point. While hiding in the tapestry and noting individual behaviour in Hamlet’s meeting they can easily conclude his observation.   

Polonius says that he will become a farmer in case his suspicion proves false for Hamlet and Ophelia. Polonius says that he will easily surrender his job if his observation goes wrong anyway.

6). Hamlet’s verbally ironic conversation which does not make sense takes place, as Hamlet calls Polonius a Jepthah, an old wrinkled fishmonger man. An ideal example of the same is, Hamlet’s mocks at Polonius by attacking every time he questions by changing his language inside out. Hamlet is seen to be having no patience towards Polonius, which further proves his behaviour towards him.

7). Hamlet say in line 266 that beggars are bodies, and monarchs and heroes are but shadows of beggars as he is in deep melancholy. He thinks deeply overcoming his accustomed behaviour by providing a detailed speech of his misery. He refers to a bad dream  also his mood at that time. He wants to say in those lines that beggars do not have ambitions. But kings and heroes possess ambition but they do not work on their ambitions, therefore they are no variant of beggars themselves. Such deep though is a reflection of his thoughts regarding inability to pursue his dreams.   

Fortinbras attacking Denmark

8). Rosencrantz and Guildenstern visit their friend Hamlet surprisingly in Elsinore. While talking philosophy Hamlet ask them as to why they have come to such a great distance. Though both the friends try and dodge the question yet he wants to know who has sent for them and why they were there.  

9). Hamlet reveals to Rosencrantz and Guildenstern, his two friends regarding his state of mind, which was of deep melancholy. He says that he is void of any type of merry and fun from his life, which makes him face misery. He complains that nothing is capable of making him happy at the moment.

10). According to Rosencrantz and Guildenstern, are the tragedians of the city forced to travel for arrival of players, as a company of child actors have seized the London stage. R&G have been passed by a troop of players while they were visiting Elsinore. The child actors were popular then hence they were accompanying them.

11). When Hamlet mean tells Rosencrantz and Guildenstern that he is “but mad north-north-west” revealing his reasons for craziness. He provides details regarding his madness and recent behaviour but says that he is in complete control of the situation.

12). Hamlet and the players recount part of a play concerning Pyrrhus, Priam, and Hecuba by reciting a scene from Virgil’s Aeneid. In the play, with fall of Troy, Priam dies in Pyrrhus’ hands. Hecuba on the other hand, Priam’s wife was on verge of a wild grief and agony as she is found to be weeping and shaking. This is the fate decided in the play.

13). Hamlet makes a strange request of one of the players for tomorrow’s performance for addition of the play. He requested them to add twelve to sixteen original lines to the play.

Hamlet makes such a request as players will enact The Murder of Gonzago similar to murdering the Ghost. He hopes that the crime enactment in front of the audience will make Claudius guilty. He hopes that Claudia will reflect that he murdered King Hamlet.  

14). The oft quoted line, “What’s Hecuba to him, or he to Hecuba” reflects that he is upset, actors can show such true emotions. He is curious regarding that how can someone act a fake story or regarding someone that he does not knows so truly. Hamlet is amazed regarding the strangeness regarding the situation, as the players are so filled with rage and grief. He tries to understand that players does not know Hecuba and Priam. However, he curses his own self regarding his incapability to seek revenge from his murderous uncle. 

15). Hamlet in soliloquy upbraids himself while revealing his course of action of being cruel to himself. He did not ever acted before in this manner, hence he is surprised. He cannot be certain regarding  his behaviour and decisions hence he curses himself continuously.

Hamlet plans to act death of his father to the king. He has intentions to be the ghost of his father. Ghost was not regarded as damned to be evil spirits. His play will be exact reflection of his father’s murder. He will observe Claudius behaviour while enacting the play, he feels that Claudius will definitely show guilt on the scene of the crime.  

Greenblatt, S., & Cohen, W. (Eds.). The Norton Shakespeare: Third International Student Edition. WW Norton & Company, 2015.

Kinney, Arthur F., ed. Hamlet: Critical Essays. Routledge, 2013.

 
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