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Hamlet Act 3 Questions

What message do Rosencrantz and Guildenstern carry to the King? What is the King's response?

What is the subject of Hamlet's second soliloquy, the famous "To be or not to be" speech?

Why is he so cruel to Ophelia immediately thereafter?

What do the King and Polonius decide about Hamlet's condition after eavesdropping on Hamlet and Ophelia?

What does the King plan to do about Hamlet at this point?

Why do you think he wants to get Hamlet out of the picture?

How does Polonius respond to the Kings suggestion?

What reasoning does he offer for listening in?


What does Hamlet ask Horatio to do during the performance of the play?

What happens in the "play-within-a-play"? How do the speeches and actions reflect on events in the kingdom of Denmark? How does the king respond?

Why does Hamlet feel his plan has been successful?

In what way is Hamlet's second major interaction with Rosencrantz and Guildenstern (III.ii.375-415) different from his first encounter with them?


What frame of mind is Claudius in as this scene opens?

How have Rosencrantz and Guildenstern showed their loyalty for the King and Queen but disloyalty for Hamlet?

What truth does Claudius reveal about his crimes?

What was the motivation behind them?

Why does Hamlet decline to take action against Claudius in III.iii?


What happens in III.iv (the closet scene)? Why is this death so important for the play, or what does the death of this figure represent?

What does Hamlet confront his mother about that shocks her?

Why does King Hamlets ghost appear?

What promise does Hamlet ask his mother to make?

How does the scene end?

Based on what you've seen in III.iv, do you think Gertrude knew about the murder?