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Double Entry Journal

William Shakespeare's The Tragedy of Hamlet, Prince

of Denmark
Act I
Events/Quotation Reflections & Analysis
The Ghost
Act I Scene I begins with a
question: “Who’s there?” asks
Barnardo to open the play.
Soon after, a Ghost assuming
the appearance of the dead
King Hamlet appears to the
guards at Elsinore castle, but
does not speak. Why does
Shakespeare begin his play
with questions and mystery?
What does this tell you about
the direction of the play? What
are some reasons that the
Ghost appears in Denmark?
Why is he dressed for battle?
King Claudius’
First Lines
Claudius enters Act I Scene II
with a flourish, or a small
parade of musicians
announcing his arrival. He
gives a long, eloquent speech
where he explains his marriage
to Gertrude as a way of
bringing happiness back to
Denmark and then remarks on
Fortinbras’ desire to take back
the land his father lost to King
Hamlet. What kind of attitude
does Claudius have throughout
his speech? Do you think he is
a good politician? Explain your

Name: _________________________________
Gertrude’s First
When Gertrude first speaks in
Hamlet, she asks her son to
stop mourning for his father’s
death by “casting off his
knighted color” (1.2.68). She
explains that it is the cycle of
life that “all that lives must
die” (1.2.72). What is your
reaction to this advice? Is she
concerned about Hamlet’s
mental health, or does she
want her son to accept her
marriage to Claudius?

William Shakespeare's The Tragedy of Hamlet, Prince

of Denmark
Act I
Events/Quotation Reflections & Analysis
Prince Hamlet’s
First Lines
The first time Hamlet speaks in
the play, he makes an aside (a
side comment intended only for
the audience’s ears). What
does this suggest about
Hamlet’s character? Why is it
important that his first
speaking lines are not directed
toward any other characters,
but to the audience? How are
the content of his words

Name: _________________________________
Hamlet’s First
Hamlet’s first soliloquy explains
the following:
• his thoughts about
committing suicide
• his uncle’s ascension to
the throne
• his mother’s hasty
marriage to his uncle
• comparison between his
uncle and his father

Polonius’ Advice
to His Children
Before Laertes travels back to
Paris to attend school, his
father, Polonius, offers some
advice. Polonius squeezes in a
lot of advice in the space of
only 26 lines of speech. Which
piece(s) of advice do you think
are the most genuine? Does he
contradict himself at all? What
is Polonius concerned with
regarding his son? How is
Polonius’ advice to Ophelia
different from the advice he
gives Laertes?

Name: _________________________________