In one document, collect your answers to the following questions about your readings in this unit. These questions are split into three categories: literal, interpretive, and applied.
Literal questions simply ask you about the most basic elements of a text. You can answer these questions in a sentence or two.
Interpretive questions ask you to read between the lines. Interpretation encourages you to explore, discover, and explain what is not directly stated by the text. Thus, you need to use evidence from the text to support your analysis. You should write 1-2 paragraphs on these questions.
Applied questions ask you to connect the readings to the world beyond. Using details and evidence from the text, you’ll explain how literature is helping you see the world around you in a new light. You should write 1-2 paragraphs on these questions.
Be sure to read each question carefully and answer every part of the question! Please also use at least one quote or example for each interpretive and applied answer.
Literal Questions
1. Horatio is one of Hamlet’s friends from the University of Wittenberg. Why did he travel to Prince Hamlet’s castle?
2. Who has Prince Hamlet recently been romantically involved with?
3. What does the ghost want Hamlet to do?
Interpretive Questions
4. Characterize Prince Hamlet as if you were describing him to a friend. Based on your reading from Act I, describe his attitude and his desires, and be sure to refer to the text to support your claims.
5. Characterize the political atmosphere of Denmark. Use lines from and about characters to describe the mood in the castle after the old king has died and his brother has taken his place.
6. It’s Lord Polonius, the king’s advisor, who says the famous line, “To thine own self be true.” He says this while giving his son Laertes a lengthy speech that is stuffed with similar cliché phrases. Laertes is either amused, annoyed, or barely listening to his father as he rambles on. Now that you’ve read this famous line in context, how does that context affect your understanding of it? What does it reveal about the characters involved?
7. Do you think the Ghost is a force of evil or a force of good? Why? Be sure to argue for your interpretation and, as always, use quotations to support your argument.
8. Name one theme that you see emerging in this first act of the play. Use two examples from the text to back you. Finally, explain what you think these specific moments from the play reveal about this abstract idea.
Applied Questions
9. To adapt something is to change it in order to make it better fit a new situation. Which film or stage adaptation of Hamlet did you watch? (State the title, year, and production company, which you’ll find in the description on Kanopy or YouTube). What is at least one acting, directing, or design choice that most surprised you? Why do you think that change was a good choice for this particular version of Hamlet? Why do you think that change was still true to the themes, aims, or heart of the original play?
10. You’re a costume designer for a production of Hamlet. How would you costume the ghost? Be detailed in describing how the character will look. You can be creative! Just be sure to create a vision of the Ghost that is different from the video that you watched.