English

Hamlet:

I need to look at the passages from Acts IV and V and assess their impact within the context of the whole play. I have already done so and it's giving me these questions using a passage. I need some help, please. :)

Passage 1:
" Now, whether it be
Bestial oblivion, or some craven scruple
Of thinking too precisely on the event,-
A thought which, quarter’d, hath but one part wisdom
And ever three parts coward,-I do not know
Why yet I live to say ’This thing’s to do;’
Sith I have cause, and will, and strength, and means
To do’t.
Hamlet: IV, iv, 38-46 "

Passage 2:
" It must be se offendendo; it cannot be else. For here lies
the point: if I drown myself wittingly, it argues an act: and an
act hath three branches; it is to act, to do, and to perform:
argal, she drowned herself wittingly.
Gravedigger / Clown: V, I, 8-13 "

Questions for both passages:
1 How does this passage serve to develop character, plot, or conflict? (5 marks)
2 How does this passage serve to develop theme? (5 marks)
3 Give an explication of the lines, focusing on literary devices and / or ways in which the lines targeted the Elizabethan audience. (5 marks)

Thannks!

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  1. First of all, let me give you some websites to bookmark -- be sure to bookmark them all!

    Here's the best website I've found to help students read Shakespeare's plays:
    http://nfs.sparknotes.com/
    Click on the title of the play you want, then click on the act and scene. You'll find original Shakespearean language on the left and a modern-day "translation" on the right.

    Here are several other really good websites about Shakespeare and his works and his times. Be sure to add ALL THESE to your favorites so you can find them again.

    http://shakespeare.palomar.edu/

    http://www.shakespeare-online.com/

    http://www.bardweb.net/

    http://www.enotes.com/william-shakespeare/

    http://www.sparknotes.com/shakespeare/

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  2. Now, go into the No Fear Shakespeare site (the first link above) and find Hamlet >> Act IV scene 4. My suggestion is that you read ALL of Act IV so you understand the passage you've quoted in context.

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  3. IV.4.38-46: -- Hamlet has been dilly-dallying for over 3 acts now! He knows what he must do; his father told him very specifically. Now he seems to understand that he needs to get in gear and take the revenge that his father's ghost told him to do.

    Do you see the character and plot development taking place by means of this soliloquy?

    What theme is being furthered here? How?

    Explicate the lines -- that is, line-by-line, explain what he's saying and point out literary devices Shakespeare used that the Elizabethan audience would definitely connect with.

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  4. Same with V.1.8-13 --

    To what drowning are the two characters referring? How does this drowning fit into the entire plot? What theme is this furthering? Explicate ...

    If you need ideas regarding themes in this play -- http://www.sparknotes.com/shakespeare/hamlet/themes.html

    If you need help with literary devices, here are some good websites to help you:

    http://www.uncp.edu/home/canada/work/allam/general/glossary.htm

    http://www.tnellen.com/cybereng/lit_terms/

    http://web.cn.edu/kwheeler/lit_terms_A.html

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