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Act II of Hamlet by William Shakespeare Report

What is Polonius asking Reynaldo to do, and why?

Polonius asks Reynaldo to go to France and watch after Laertes. He asks Reynaldo to find out first about his son’s behavior:

“It would be extremely wise of you, good Reynaldo,
To inquire about his behavior,
Before you visit him” (Shakespeare 99).

He also asks Reynaldo to make the disgracing statements about Laertes to provoke the collocutor to say unkindly things about him as well. The Polonius’s nature reveals in this request. He shows his mercenary and shallow features of character in the dialogue with Reynaldo.

Describe Hamlet’s visit to Ophelia’s room – how did he behave? What was Ophelia’s reaction? What does her father think is the cause of such behavior?

When Hamlet enters Ophelia’s room, he is anxious, and his clothes look messy. He is pale and has a miserable expression on his face. He acts inconsistently and abruptly. He hugs Ophelia, then holds her hands, and looks at her face thoroughly, so Ophelia thought that his behavior is only based on his strong feelings towards her. Polonius also becomes surer that Hamlet is too passionate about Ophelia, and thus he behaves madly. Polonius also considers that Hamlet’s behavior is dangerous and can harm Ophelia.

What is Claudius asking Rosencrantz and Guildenstern to do?

At the beginning of the scene, the King Claudius and the Queen welcome Rosencrantz and Guildenstern, Hamlet’s childhood friends. The King is worried about Hamlet’s madness and starts to suspect that he might have found out the real reasons for his father’s death. Thus, he asks Rosencrantz and Guildenstern to talk to Hamlet and secretly get to know what exactly bothers him.

“… I implore you both to agree to stay here in our court
A little while, so that, by your companionship,
You can urge him toward enjoyment, and also learn
As fully as opportunity allows
Whether anything unknown to us is troubling him –
Which, if we knew about it, we could cure” (Shakespeare 109).

Hamlet’s friends can’t disobey the King’s request and willingly agree to spy on Hamlet.

What news does Voltimand bring regarding Norway and Fortinbras?

Voltimand reports to the King that Norway ordered his nephew to stop withdrawing levies because Fortinbras had a secret intention of coming up against King Claudius. Norway revealed his nephew’s plans and made Fortinbras obey the arrest imposed by him. The soldiers, whom Fortinbras had compiled, became employed to fight against the Polack.

What plan regarding Hamlet does Polonius share with Claudius and Gertrude?

Polonius tries to persuade the King and Queen that Hamlet is mad because he is in love with Ophelia. As an argument, he reads the letter written by Hamlet in which he declares his feelings. Ophelia repelled Hamlet due to her father’s order, and as Polonius claims, it made Hamlet “fell into sadness” (Shakespeare 119). For proving that he is right, Polonius suggests Claudius and Gertrude hiding in the hall, where Hamlet usually walks in the evenings, and send Ophelia to him, and then watch what will happen.

How does Hamlet behave when he encounters Polonius?

Hamlet enters once Polonius, the King, and the Queen made up their plan. When Polonius starts talking to Hamlet, he behaves arrogantly. Judging by his statements, it is possible to assume that Hamlet doesn’t want to talk at all, he is absorbed in his gloomy thoughts. Hamlet thinks about death and the life’s futility.

“You cannot take from me anything that I will more
Willingly part withal – except my life, except my life, except my life” (Shakespeare 124).

He talks to Polonius with the feeling of the unhidden disaffection, but Polonius perceived all the rough remarks made by Hamlet as the signs of madness.

What does Polonius mean when he says, “Though this be madness, yet there is method in it”?

Polonius says this after Hamlet answers the question about the book that he’s reading. Hamlet gives a highly argumentative and thoughtful answer. He thoroughly describes the idea that is asserted in the book and says his opinion on this issue. Nevertheless, the things Hamlet talks about seem bizarre and demonstrate his morbid state of mind, that’s why Polonius says that Hamlet’s madness has a method – because it contains both rationality and quaintness.

Describe Hamlet’s encounter with Rosencrantz and Guildenstern. What do they ultimately confess?

The friends are happy to see each other. They joyfully exchange few phrases, but then when Hamlet asks Rosencrantz and Guildenstern about the reasons for their coming to Denmark, they disclose themselves and confess that they were invited by the King and the Queen.

“…Were you not sent for? Is it your own inclining?
Is it a free visitation? Come, come, deal justly with me” (Shakespeare 130).

Hamlet’s close friends can’t lie to him and answering his questions they stay true to him.

What does Hamlet ask of the First Player and the actors?

When the actors come in, it becomes obvious that Hamlet has already met them before. Hamlet privately asks the First Player to play “The Murder of Gonzago” at the performance they have arranged for the next day. Hamlet also asks the First Player to read the monologue composed by him.

In the soliloquy near the end of the act, Hamlet states that he admires the First Actor. What skill is he admiring, and why?

Hamlet admires the actor’s skills of performance, and in particularly the skill of externalizing the made-up and fictitious feelings:

“… in a fiction, in a dream of passion,
Could force his soul so to his own conceit
That from her working all his visage wanned,
Tears in his eyes, distraction in his aspect,
A broken voice, and his whole function suiting
With forms to his conceit? And all for nothing—
For Hecuba!” (Shakespeare 151).

When the First Player performs the monologue requested by Hamlet, even Polonius remarks that the actor plays splendidly and very earnestly.

What emotion does he feel about Claudius, and why does he question himself?

Hamlet is sure that his father was killed by Claudius yet he has no proof for it. He feels humiliated that Claudius is unpunished. He is angry, he’s filled with hatred, and he seeks revenge.

What plan has he come up with to determine Claudius’ guilt? What does he mean when he says, “The play’s the thing…”?

Hamlet’s revenge is meant to be accomplished during the arranged actors’ performance. It is meant to become the disclosure of the crime made by the King. Hamlet says in his monologue:

“I’ll have these players
Play something like the murder of my father
Before mine uncle. I’ll observe his looks.” (Shakespeare 153).

Hamlet believes that the resemblance of the acting scenes with the scene of the crime committed by Claudius will make him confess.

Works Cited

Shakespeare, William. Hamlet, Logan, Iowa: Perfection Learning, 2004. Print.

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IvyPanda. 2020. "Act II of Hamlet by William Shakespeare." June 12, 2020. https://ivypanda.com/essays/act-ii-of-hamlet-by-william-shakespeare/.


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