Autumn iRevise Online Tutorial Series 31st of August to 5th of December

Shakespeare's Hamlet, Essential Revision Notes

© irevise.com 2016.

All revision notes have been produced by mockness ltd for irevise.com.

Table of Contents

Hamlet 6

Summary Act One 6

Scene One 6

Scene Two 7

Scene Three 8

Scene Four 8

Scene Five 8

Summary Act Two 9

Scene One 9

Scene Two 9

Summary Act Three 11

Scene One 11

Scene Two 11

Scene Three 12

Scene Four 13

Summary Act Four 14

Scene One 14

Scene Two 14

Scene Three 14

Scene Four 14

Scene Five 15

Scene Six 15

Scene Seven 16

Summary Act Five 17

Scene One 17

Scene Two 17

Character Analysis 20

Hamlet 20

Claudius 21

Gertrude 22

The Ghost 23

Ophelia 23

Polonius 24

Horatio 24

Laertes 25

Fortinbras 25

Rosencrantz and Guildenstern 26

Osric 26

Marcellus and Barnardo 26

Voltemand and Cornelius 26

Francisco 27

Reynaldo 27

Second Clown (Gravedigger) 27

Themes, Motifs and Symbols 28

Themes 28

Mortality 28

Mental Health 28

The Role of Women 29

Political Life 29

The Impossibility of Certainty 29

The Complexity of Action 30

The Mystery of Death 30

The Nation as a Diseased Body 31

Motifs 32

Incest and Incestuous Desire 32

Misogyny 32

Ears and Hearing 32

Couples 33

Symbols 33

Yorick’s Skull 33

The Ghost 33

Gardens 34

Flowers 34

Hamlet’s Costumes 34

Problem/Deliberation/Resolution 35

Problem 35

Deliberation 35

Solution 37

Literary Genre 38

Hamlet as Tragedy 38

The protagonist is a person of status 38

The play’s events must be important and serious 38

The tragic hero has a fatal flaw 38

The role of fate 39

Catharsis 39

Cultural Context 41

Religion: The Great Chain of Being 41

The Arts 41

Dress 41

Sexuality 42

Impact on Hamlet 42

General Vision and Viewpoint 47

Tone 47

Shakespeare’s outlook on life 47

Sample Answer 51

(i) Revenge and justice are finely balanced themes in the play, Hamlet. 51

(ii) Claudius can be seen as both a heartless villain and a character with some redeeming qualities in the play, Hamlet. 53

Hamlet

Summary Act One

Scene One

Hamlet opens with the interaction of two guards of Elsinore Castle, Barnardo and Francisco. Barnardo has come to relieve Francisco of his duties and the pair have a brief discussion about the weather. Horatio and Marcellus arri...

Sign In To View

Sign in or sign up in order to view resources on iRevise

Sign In Create An Account