Philological Examination Questions on Hamlet
1. What is the meaning of, "I'll make a ghost of him that lets me"?
2. What is the meaning of unhousel'd, disappointed, unaneled?
3. What is the meaning of windlasses and assays of bias?
4. Is Shakespeare's use of the word closet the same as ours?
5. What is the meaning of, "The clown shall make those laugh,
whose lungs are tickle o' the sere"?
6. Explain: "I am but mad north-north-west. When the wind is southerly, I know a hawk from a handsaw."
7. What is the meaning of extravagant? I. i. 154.
8. What is the meaning of, "No fairy takes"? I. i. 163.
9. Is Shakespeare's accent of Hyperion (I. ii. 140) correct?
10. Explain the meaning of "dearest foe." I. ii. 182.
11. What is the derivation of "nickname"? III. i. 144.
12. Was a "jig" anything more than a dance in Shakespeare's day?
13. Explain "black and grained spots." III. iv. 90.
14. What is the meaning of "curb and woo"? III. iv. 152.
15. Explain the allusion in "the owl was a baker's daughter."
16. What was Shakspere's opinion of politicians, as inferred from
his use of the word?
17. What is the meaning of, "Woo't drink up eisel"?
18. Explain: "I would have such a fellow whipped for o'erdoing
Termagant. It out-herods Herod."
19. Explain: "Would not this, sir, and a forest of feathers - if the rest of my fortunes turn Turk with me - with two provincial roses on
my razed shoes, get me a fellowship in a cry of players, sir?"
20. Explain: "The king doth wake to-night and takes his rouse,
keeps wassail, and the swaggering up-spring reels."
21. What does Bernardo mean by calling Horatio and Marcellus
"the rivals of my watch"?
22. Explain: "Methought I lay worse than the mutines in the
23. What is Shakespeare's use of "ecstasy"?
24. What is the meaning of eager, in "like eager droppings into
milk," and in "a nipping and an eager air"?
25. Explain: "They can well on horseback."
Hamlet: Problem Play and Revenge Tragedy
The Elder Hamlet: The Kingship of Hamlet's Father
Hamlet's Relationship with the Ghost
The Significance of the Ghost in Armor
Hamlet as National Hero
Claudius and the Condition of Denmark
The Charges Against King Claudius
The Death of Polonius and its Impact on Hamlet's Character
Revenge in Hamlet
Deception in Hamlet
The Hamlet and Ophelia Subplot
The Norway (Fortinbras) Subplot
Blank Verse and Diction in Shakespeare's Hamlet
Analysis of the Characters in Hamlet
An Excuse for Doing Nothing: Hamlet's Delay
Shakespeare's Fools: The Grave-Diggers in Hamlet
Hamlet's Humor: The Wit of Shakespeare's Prince of Denmark
All About Yorick
Hamlet's Melancholy: The Transformation of the Prince
Hamlet's Antic Disposition: Is Hamlet's Madness Real?
Foul Deeds Will Rise: Hamlet and Divine Justice
Soliloquy Analysis: O this too too... (1.2.131)
Soliloquy Analysis: O, what a rogue and peasant slave am I!... (2.2.555-612)
Analysis: To be, or not to be... (3.1.64-98)
Soliloquy Analysis: Tis now the very witching time of night... (3.2.380-91)
Soliloquy Analysis: Now might I do it pat... (3.3.77-100)
Soliloquy Analysis: How all occasions do inform against me... (4.4.35-69)
What is Tragic Irony?
Seneca's Tragedies and the Elizabethan Drama
Characteristics of Elizabethan Drama
Sources for Hamlet
Quotations from Hamlet (with commentary)
Hamlet Study Quiz (with detailed answers)
Hamlet: Q & A