ENG 4U: The Opening Scenes of Hamlet

In scene i, the night watch at Elsinore castle in Denmark has arrived for duty.  They’ve asked Horatio, a close friend of Hamlet, prince of Denmark, to accompany them. Why? They have been seeing things. odd things.

This raises an interesting question: how does one approach a ghost?

Scene ii takes place in the Danish court. Claudius (Hamlet’s uncle) and Gertrude (Hamlet’s mother) are our hosts:

  • Claudius, showing his political acumen,  explains his marriage to the audience, and then addresses the issue of the pesky young Fortinbras (a young warrior who won’t leave Denmark alone)
  • Laertes, a young student who is the son of Claudius’ key advisor, Polonius, asks to return home.
  • Hamlet will approach the king and queen; we need to pay careful attention to the nature of their discussion.
  •  Hamlet will be left alone; let’s see what happens.
  • Finally, Horatio  arrives to share news of the ghost.

As we read through the scene, I’d like to watch for these particular lines:

Therefore our sometime sister, now our queen,
With mirth in funeral and with dirge in marriage,

A little more than kin, and less than kind.

Not so, my lord; I am too much i’ the sun.

 ’tis unmanly grief;

O, that this too too solid flesh would melt
Thaw and resolve itself into a dew!
Or that the Everlasting had not fix’d
His canon ‘gainst self-slaughter!

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s