Dramatic Development

The dramatic development of the play refers to how the story is developed and presented as a drama. In a play such as Hamlet there are no spare words or deeds. Each part of the play has been put there by the dramatist to serve a dramatic purpose.

For example, the character of Horatio serves the dramatic role of friend and confidante to Hamlet. We are told that they are old friends. In Act 1 Scene 1 when Marcellus and Bernardo are discussing the appearance of the Ghost, it is Horatio suggests who provides the introduction to Hamlet’s character. He suggests that they should tell Hamlet of the strange apparition on the ramparts by night and then says, "I this morning know, Where we shall find him most conveniently." Only a friend of long standing would be on such intimate terms with the crown prince of Denmark.

Read the quotation given below. Research and answer the questions following the extract.

Use the questions to research your answer. Write your answer in the form of notes. Then edit your notes to produce a single coherent answer to the main question, What is the dramatic significance of this speech in the play, Hamlet?

"Now follows, that you know, young Fortinbras,
Holding a weak supposal of our worth,
Or thinking by our late dear brother's death
Our state to be disjoint and out of frame,
Colleagued with this dream of his advantage,
He hath not fail'd to pester us with message
Importing the surrender of those lands
Lost by his father, …."

Who is speaking and to whom?
What are the circumstances in which these words are spoken?
Why is Fortinbras mentioned in at this point in the play?
When will Young Fortinbras feature again in the play?
The dispute between Norway and Denmark over territory will feature in the play as an image of other divisions. What parallels will be drawn between Young Fortinbras and Hamlet?

Read the quotation given below. Research and answer the questions following the extract.

Use the questions to research your answer. Write your answer in the form of notes. Then edit your notes to produce a single coherent answer to the main question, What is the dramatic significance of this speech in the play, Hamlet?

"For your intent
In going back to school in Wittenberg,
It is most retrograde to our desire;
And we beseech you, bend you to remain
Here in the cheer and comfort of our eye,
Our chiefest courtier, cousin, and our son."

Claudius is speaking to Hamlet in this speech.
What are the circumstances in which these words are spoken?
The message of this speech is simple, "stay at home and be a good boy" Why does the Claudius want this?
Why will Hamlet will not accede to Claudius’ request.
How will the conflict between Claudius and Hamlet develop from this point?

Read the quotation given below. Research and answer the questions following the extract.

Use the questions to research your answer. Write your answer in the form of notes. Then edit your notes to produce a single coherent answer to the main question, What is the dramatic significance of this speech in the play, Hamlet?

"O that this too too solid flesh would melt,
Thaw, and resolve itself into a dew!
Or that the Everlasting had not fix'd
His canon 'gainst self-slaughter! O God! God!
How weary, stale, flat, and unprofitable"

Hamlet is speaking a soliloquy when he says these words.
What events have led up to this point?
These words, and the whole soliloquy, show that Hamlet is in two minds about his situation. What is his dilemma at this point in the play?
Does Hamlet become more decisive in the play?
How well does this speech introduce the character of Hamlet in the play?
 

Read the quotation given below. Research and answer the questions following the extract.

Use the questions to research your answer. Write your answer in the form of notes. Then edit your notes to produce a single coherent answer to the main question, What is the dramatic significance of this speech in the play, Hamlet?

"List, list, O, list!
If thou didst ever thy dear father love-
Ham. O God!
Ghost. Revenge his foul and most unnatural murther.
Ham. Murther?
Ghost. Murther most foul, as in the best it is;
But this most foul, strange, and unnatural.
Ham. Haste me to know't, that I, with wings as swift
As meditation or the thoughts of love,
May sweep to my revenge."

The Ghost and Hamlet speaks these words towards the end of Act 1.
What demand does the ghost make of Hamlet.?
What is Hamlet’s immediate response?
This exchange gives the play a sharp focus, a dramatic purpose. What is that purpose?
Does Hamlet honour his commitment to the ghost of his father?
How many attempts does he make to honour his commitment to the ghost of his father?

Read the quotation given below. Research and answer the questions following the extract.

Use the questions to research your answer. Write your answer in the form of notes. Then edit your notes to produce a single coherent answer to the main question, What is the dramatic significance of this speech in the play, Hamlet?

"Pol. Give him this money and these notes, Reynaldo.
Rey. I will, my lord.
Pol. You shall do marvell's wisely, good Reynaldo,
Before You visit him, to make inquire
Of his behaviour.
Rey. My lord, I did intend it.
Pol. Marry, well said, very well said. Look you, sir,
Enquire me first what Danskers are in Paris;
And how, and who, what means, and where they keep,
What company, at what expense; and finding
By this encompassment and drift of question
That they do know my son, come you more nearer
Than your particular demands will touch it.
Take you, as 'twere, some distant knowledge of him;
As thus, 'I know his father and his friends,
And in part him.' Do you mark this, Reynaldo?
Rey. Ay, very well, my lord."

What task does Polonius give to Reyanaldo in this dialogue?
Exactly what advice does Polonius give for carrying out the task?
How would you describe Polonius, on the basis of this exchange?
How will these character traits lead later to the death of Polonius?