Hamlet Act 4 Discussion Questions

Instructor: Jason Lineberger

Jason has 20 years of education experience including 14 years of teaching college literature.

Are you teaching Hamlet and looking for discussion questions? Look no further! These questions for Act 4 are divided by thinking level to allow you to scaffold your instruction.

Level 1 - Remember

  • Who has the job of trying to find the location of Polonius's body?
  • What does Claudius plan to do to Hamlet in England?
  • Ophelia seems to have lost her sanity in Scene 5. What is the apparent cause of her mental state?
  • When the plan to send Hamlet to England fails, Claudius comes up with a new plan to kill him by the end of the act. What is his new plan?

Level 2 - Understand

  • Hamlet calls Rosencrantz and Guildenstern the king's sponge. What does he mean by this comparison?
  • When Claudius confronts Hamlet about the location of Polonius's body, Hamlet says, ''Your fat king and your lean beggar is but variable service--two dishes, but to one table. That's the end.'' What statement is Hamlet making about death?
  • If you had to describe Claudius in one word, based on his actions in this act, what word would you choose?
  • Explain the full plot that Claudius and Laertes concoct to murder Hamlet.

Level 3 - Apply

  • Predict what would happen if Laertes believed that Claudius was the one responsible for his father's death?
  • What do you think will happen when Hamlet learns that Ophelia has died?
  • Based on what you know about Laertes in the first three acts, why would he join Claudius in the plot to kill Hamlet is such a treacherous and dishonorable way?
  • Dynamic characters undergo a major change. Static characters remain the same. Classify and explain each of the following characters as either static or dynamic: Claudius, Gertrude, Hamlet, Laertes, Ophelia, Fortinbras, Rosencrantz/Guildenstern, and Horatio.

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