Make sure to read my lecture on this material. After reading my lectures and the work on pages 1708-1808 of the Norton Anthology, you must answer two of these but you can answer more. After you post, you must also respond, or add, to another poster’s response. 1. What do you feel is the cause of Hamlet’s inaction? How does the character’s complexity contribute to this? Do you feel he is completely inactive and passive? Why or why not? 2. One of the strengths of Shakespeare’s writing is complex psychological development. For Hamlet, one such characteristic is the realism of his depression. Find a passage that deals with depression and discuss it. What makes it an effective passage? 3. The play in many ways is about feigned versus real madness. How are the two treated differently in the play? Is there a difference? That is, is Hamlet insane even though he claims to be faking it? 4. Hamlet’s conflict is familial yet political. Discuss how Shakespeare explores themes of politics and family by drawing parallels with Greek works that we have studied. In what ways does he draw on the Oresteia, in what ways the Odyssey? 5. Hamlet has a deep misogyny and distrust of women. Discuss how this is evident in the play. What are his attitudes on sexuality? 6. Fathers are an integral theme in the play. Compare and/or contrast the death of the father for Hamlet, Ophelia, Laertes, and Fortinbras. 7. What is Hamlet’s attitude toward death, especially his own? Do you find it to be an enlightened view or simply a product of his depression or madness?
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