31 Questions for Hamlet Module B

Module B is generally the toughest section out of all the modules due to the specificity of the questions the examiners can ask you.

In order to help you prepare, here are 31 questions for Hamlet for you to practice on. If you struggle with writing essays, feel free to check out the guide on Writing a 20/20 HSC Essay


Question 1

A key aspect of Hamlet’s enduring relevance to audiences is the play’s examination of human flaws.

To what extent does your personal understanding concur with this view?

Question 2

Hamlet is a play in which all its characters are without honour.

In light of your critical study, does this statement resonate with your interpretation of Hamlet? In your response, make detailed reference to the play.

Question 3

Through its portrayal of tragedy, Shakespeare’s Hamlet reinforces the significance of human frailty.

To what extent does your interpretation of Hamlet support this view? In your response, make detailed reference to the play.

Question 4

Compose a speech that persuades the audience of the enduring appeal of Hamlet. You can choose your own audience.

Question 5

Great literature has the power to resonate with people across different time periods.

Discuss this statement in relation to Hamlet.

Question 6

Texts are remembered and respected because the composer creates an intimate relationship between the protagonist and the reader.

How does Shakespeare create an intimate relationship between protagonist and reader?

Question 7

Hamlet is largely about revenge, but not the usual kind.

Examine this statement in regard to your personal understanding of the play.

Question 8

The significance of a text lies in its enduring power to move readers in different ways.

To what extent is this true in light of the critical study of your Hamlet.

Question 9

Shakespeare’s play Hamlet reflects how man’s view of himself and his place in the world is shaped by internal and external conflict.

Examine this statement through a close analysis of Shakespeare’s play Hamlet.

Question 10

A valuable text has something to say and says it well.

How valid is this claim? Make detailed reference to Hamlet.

Question 11

A text has value if it creates opportunities for change, while maintaining its core values.

Explore this notion in relation to your personal understanding of Hamlet.

Question 12

Two people who have different perspectives on Hamlet are having a conversation. Compose their conversation, which should include consideration of the structure, language and ideas of the text.

Question 13

Every text will expire at some point.

Consider your Hamlet’s ideas, language and form and its reception in different contexts.

Question 14

Interpretations of texts can shift and change with time and place.

Considering your time and place, reflect on the ways in which context has shaped your critical interpretation of Hamlet.

Question 15

What is the importance of the following soliloquy for your understanding of the play as a whole?

…Now I am alone.
Oh, what a rogue and peasant slave am I!
Is it not monstrous that this player here,
But 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!
What’s Hecuba to him or he to Hecuba
That he should weep for her? What would he do
Had he the motive and the cue for passion
That I have? He would drown the stage with tears
And cleave the general ear with horrid speech,
Make mad the guilty and appall the free,
Confound the ignorant, and amaze indeed
The very faculties of eyes and ears. Yet I,
A dull and muddy-mettled rascal, peak
Like John-a-dreams, unpregnant of my cause,
And can say nothing—no, not for a king,
Upon whose property and most dear life
A damned defeat was made. Am I a coward?
Who calls me “villain”? Breaks my pate across?
Plucks off my beard and blows it in my face?
Tweaks me by the nose? Gives me the lie i’ th’ throat
As deep as to the lungs? Who does me this?
‘Swounds, I should take it, for it cannot be
But I am pigeon-livered and lack gall
To make oppression bitter, or ere this
I should have fatted all the region kites
With this slave’s offal. Bloody, bawdy villain!
Remorseless, treacherous, lecherous, kindless villain!
O vengeance!
Why, what an ass am I! This is most brave,
That I, the son of a dear father murdered,
Prompted to my revenge by heaven and hell,
Must, like a whore, unpack my heart with words
And fall a-cursing like a very drab,
A scullion! Fie upon ’t, foh!
About, my brain.—Hum, I have heard
That guilty creatures sitting at a play
Have, by the very cunning of the scene,
Been struck so to the soul that presently
They have proclaimed their malefactions.
For murder, though it have no tongue, will speak
With most miraculous organ. I’ll have these players
Play something like the murder of my father
Before mine uncle. I’ll observe his looks.
I’ll tent him to the quick. If he do blench,
I know my course. The spirit that I have seen
May be the devil, and the devil hath power
T’ assume a pleasing shape. Yea, and perhaps
Out of my weakness and my melancholy,
As he is very potent with such spirits,
Abuses me to damn me. I’ll have grounds
More relative than this. The play’s the thing Wherein I’ll catch the conscience of the king.


Act 2, Scene 2.


Question 16

The most significant element of the play Hamlet is the element of political scheming.

To what extent does your personal understanding support this view?

Question 17

Hamlet is a play about a young man’s disillusionment with life.

Examine this statement in light of your critical study of the play.

Question 18

Hamlet is too much the student of justice to be an effective instrument of justice.

Is this the impression you gain from the play? Examine the above statement by making close reference to Shakespeare’s Hamlet.

Question 19

The ending of Hamlet resolves nothing that really matters.

What do you think are the things that “really matter” in the play? To what extent does the ending of the play resolve these matters?

Question 20

An inherent tension between confrontation and resolution is revealed through characterisation in Shakespeare’s Hamlet.

To what extent does your interpretation of Hamlet align with this view?

In your response, make detailed reference to the play.

Question 21

Let four captains
Bear Hamlet like a solider to the stage,
For he was likely, had he been put on,
To have proved most royal; and for his passage,
The soldier’s music and the rite of war
Speak loudly for him.
Take up the bodies. Such a sight as this
Becomes the field, but here shows much amiss.
Go bid the soldiers shoot.
[Exeunt marching, after which a peal of ordnance is shot off.]

In the context of your critical study, to what extent does your response to the closing scenes of Hamlet inform your judgement of this play as a whole? In your response, make detailed reference to Hamlet.

Question 22

Shakespeare’s Hamlet continues to engage audiences through its dramatic treatment of struggle and disillusionment.

In the light of your critical study, does this statement resonate with your own interpretation of Hamlet?

In your response, make detailed reference to the play.

Question 23

Through its portrayal of human experience, Shakespeare’s Hamlet reinforces the significance of loyalty.

To what extent does your interpretation of Hamlet support this view?

In your response, make detailed reference to the play.

Question 24

Your class has been exploring the question “What will continue to make Hamlet worthy of critical study?”

You are pitted against another student with an opposing view. Argue you’re personal understanding of the text.

Question 25

The enduring worth of a text is determined by the qualities of its central character.

To what extent has your personal response to Hamlet been shaped by Shakespeare’s portrayal of Hamlet?

Question 26

‘A text to be considered worthy of study must have a core that is available and understood by all readers.’

Write an article for a weekend magazine where you present your view on this statement.

In your article make sure you make close reference to Hamlet.

Question 27

How is your personal response to Hamlet shaped by the interaction of characters in the play?

Question 28

How does the Shakespeare achieve textual integrity in Hamlet?

In your response, critically evaluate the role of language in achieving textual integrity.

Question 29

Texts of high quality and integrity possess an innate ability to appeal to and evoke strong human emotions.

Discuss this statement with regards to Hamlet.

Question 30

Texts of value outlive and transcend the context in which they were created.

Do you agree? Evaluate the language, content and construction of your text to demonstrate your understanding and appreciation of Hamlet.

Question 31

Texts are used as vehicles to illustrate the ideas of composers.

To what extent does your study of Hamlet resonate with this statement?


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