HAMLETAct V Annie Carew, Carolyn Caggia, Joan Koh, Kelsey Lowden, Saran Allen
Summary: Scene 1• Hamlet and Horation find two gravediggers• Skulls (Yorick)• Ophelia’s funeral procession (suicide?)• Hamlet and Laertes fight in Ophelia’s grave
Scene 1 Study Questions• What was the significance of the various skulls the gravedigger digs up during this scene? How do they contribute to the evolution of Hamlet’s understanding of death?• How does the entrance of Ophelia’s funeral procession continue this evolution?• What does Laertes and Hamlet’s fight in Ophelia’s grave foreshadow?
Scene 1 Study Questions• Why is this scene in prose?• How do Hamlet and the gravedigger view the sociological implications of death differently?
Summary: Scene 2• Hamlet explains incident with letters and pirates to Horatio• Interrupted by Osric: there is to be a duel• Hamlet wins first point, offered a drink, declines
Summary: Scene 2• Gertrude drinks the poison, Laertes wounds Hamlet, Hamlet wounds Laertes• Hamlet kills Claudius and they all die• Fortinbras arrives and becomes king
Scene 2 Study Questions• What does Horatio learn about the real purpose for the trip to England? • What is ironic about Rosencrantzs and Guildensterns approaching deaths? • How does Shakespeare establish that Hamlet is indeed a noble gentleman?
Scene 2 Study Questions• How does the impending duel with Laertes complete Hamlets concept of death that has been developing through the play?• Why does Hamlet apologize to Laertes• Explain how each character dies in the end.
Scene 2 Study Questions• Why does the play end with such bloodshed and death?• What is significant about the fact that Fortinbras delivers the last lines of the play?
Literary Criticism: Feminism• Weak women – Ophelia is rumored to have committed suicide – “Is she to be buried in Christian burial, when she willfully seeks her own salvation?” (5.1.1)• Women should always obey men – Gertrude drinks against Claudius’ orders and dies
Literary Criticism: Psychoanalytic• Incest between Laertes and Ophelia – “Hold off the earth awhile, Till I have caught her once more in mine arms.” (5.1.261-2)• Incest between Hamlet and Gertrude – Gertrude’s last cry is to Hamlet – “Oh, my dear Hamlet!” (5.2.340)
Quotes• “Custom hath made it in him a property of easiness.” (5.1.69) – Hamlet is talking to Horatio while watching the gravedigger sing over his work – Not everyone takes death seriously
Quotes• “Alexander died, Alexander was buried, Alexander returneth to dust; the dust is earth; of earth we make loam; and why of that loam whereto he was converted might they not stop a beer bottle?” (5.1.216-9) – Hamlet is talking to Horatio about the skulls – Great men die and their remains are used by commoners
Quotes• “It is but foolery, but it is such a kind of gaingiving as would perhaps trouble a woman.” (5.2.229-30) – Hamlet scoffs at Horatio’s concerns about the duel – Women are weak and are more easily perturbed
Quotes• “Gertrude, do not drink.” “I will, my lord; I pray you pardon me.” (5.2.178-8) – Claudius and Gertrude speaking for the last time at the duel – Gertrude’s last action is to disobey Claudius in favor of her son
Quotes• “He is justly served. It is a poison tempered by himself. Exchange forgiveness with me, noble Hamlet. Mine and my father’s death come not upon thee, Nor thine on me.” (5.2.359-63) – Laertes’ last words (to Hamlet) – Hamlet’s death could be viewed as payback for Polonius, but Laertes forgives him
Allusions• Adam’s Profession (5.1.32)• Cain (5.1.79)• Alexander the Great (5.1.204)• Caesar (5.1.220)• Pelion/Olympus/Ossa (5.1.265)• Hercules (5.1.310)• Barbary Horses (5.2.174)