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Hamlet Notes For Exam Questions

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PAPER

2

-

HAMLET


The

scope

of

a

role

does

not

depend

on

speech


alone.

There

are

times

when

Shakespeare

uses


gesture

or

mere

physical

presence

as

the


primary

means

of

impressing

character--in--
action'

(John

Russell

Brown)

2001.


SPEECH

vs

ACTION


EITHER

'The

tragic

flaw

of

the

Shakespearean


hero

is

not

hubris,

the

classical

presumption


that

nothing

can

happen

to

you,

but

the

anxiety


of

insufficiency,

the

determination

to

become


self--sufficient'

(W.H.

AUDEN).


CHARACTER

PSYCHOLOGY


Shakespearean

tragedy

is

concerned

as

much


with

displacement

as

with

death.

New

epochs


are

coming

into

being,

brashly

ousting

a

more


humane

past'

(PHILIP

EDWARDS).


CONCERNS

OF

TRAGEDY

/

ROLE

OF

DEATH


Plays

are

about

the

spaces

in

between

the


spoken

word

as

much

as

about

speech

itself

--


about

how

people

react

as

much

as

how

they


act'

(RICHARDEYRE).


SUBTEXT

+

LANGUAGE

+

ACTION


Ah,

Kill

me

with

thy

weapon,

not

with

words!

/


My

breast

can

better

brook

thy

dagger's

point

/


Than

can

my

ears

that

tragic

history

(Henry

VI


part

3)

--

Consider

the

competing

effectiveness


of

narrative

and

staged

action

in

one

or

more


plays

2004


NARRATIVE

+

STAGE

ACTION


No

action

can

be

repealed;

that

is

the

revenger's


justification.

No

action

can

be

repeated;

that

is


the

revenger's

tragedy.

Discuss

2004


REVENGE

TRAGEDY


Tragedy

repeatedly

experiments

with

the


apparent

causelessnes

of

human

deeds,

for


which

explanations

are

only

apparently


adequate.

Discuss.

2004


TRAGEDY

+

CAUSALITY


To

hear

of

greater

grief

would

lessen

mine


(Malfi)

How

therapeutic

are

tragedies

for

the


characters

within

them?


HEALING

TRAGEDY

1.TEXTUAL

VARIANTS

1603 Q1

--

Ascribed

to

W.S

on

title

page.

Claimed

that

it

had

been:

'diverse

times

acted

by

his


Highnesse

seruants

in

the

Cittie

of

London:

as

also

in

the

two

Vniuersities

of

Cambridge


and

Oxford,

and

elsewhere'

1604 Q2

--

Resembles

First

Folio

more

than

Q1

"'Newly

imprinted

and

enlarged

to

almost

as

much

againe

as

it

was,

according

to

the

true


and

perfect

Coppie"

1623 FF

-

First

Folio

edition


Main

textual

difference

between

FF

+

Q2

/

Q1:

* Creation

of

4th

act

after

Polonius's

murder

* Ophelia's

appearance

with

her

hair

down

playing

the

lute

* Ghost

in

a

night

gowne

(Greg

claimed

that

this

was

"impossible

for

a

serious

edition"

* Q1

changes

sequence

of

O's

songs.

Location

+

timing

--

scene

takes

place

in

royal


palace.

Some

time

should

have

passed

since

previous

scene

as

both

O

+

L

have

heard


Are

they

Shakespearean

revisions

/

improvements

by

actors

/

master

copy

from

which

others


are

created?

Is

the

FF

really

the

authority

given

it

was

PH?


Heminge

and

Condell

plead

that

their

"abilities

[be]

considered"

as

they

cannot

"go

beyonde


[their]

own

powers"

--

make

distinction

between

their

actions

/

editorial

choices

and


Shakespeare

--

"the

reputation

his"

an

the

errors

therein

"the

faults

ours,

if

any

be


committed"


Financial

motives

/

confliction

--Epistle

Dedicatory:

"We

have

but

collected

them...without

ambition

either

of

selfe-profit,

or

fame;

only

to


keepe

the

moment

of

so

worthy

a

friend"


But

in

Epistle

to

Reader:


"the

fate

of

all

Bookes

depends

upon

your

capacities;

and

not

of

your

heads

alone,

but

of


your

purses!"


Stage

directions

--

entrances

/

exits

which

DONT

effect

action.

* Q2

'Enter

Horatio,

Marcellus

and

Bernando"

=

FF

* "Enter

Horatio,

Barnard,

and

Marcellus"

--

other

than

a

reordering

of

characters


and

change

of

spelling,

dramatic

action

/

effect

is

not

altered

(not

status

/


hierarchical

effect

of

change

in

order)


Stage

Directions

that

DO

effect

action

* e.g.

4.5

opening

convo

between

Horatio,

Queen

+

Gentleman

which

begins

G:

"I

will


not

speak

with

her"

* Response

to

either

a

request

that

she

speak

with

O.

* Only

Q2

lists

Gentleman

as

present

+

it

is

plausible

that

the

plea

to

speak

came

from


him

* OR

is

it

a

non--verbal

request

e.g.

cries

from

offstage

of

O

herself?

* 4.5

=

211

lines

in

Q2,

214

in

FF

(4.1)

and129

in

Q1

(Scene

13)

which

omits


Gentleman

+

Horatio

in

opening

dialogue

and

abbreviates

King's

reflections

at

77--96.

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