Q & A guide to A.C. Bradley's commentary on Hamlet


Shakespearean Tragedy

Q: Did Hamlet delay because of "external difficulties"?
A:  No.   See Page 94.

Q: Did Hamlet delay because he was "restrained by conscience or a moral scruple"?
A:  No.   See Page 97.

Q: Did Hamlet delay because, as Goethe wrote, "a lovely, pure and most moral nature, without the strength of nerve which forms a hero, sinks beneath a burden which it cannot bear and must not cast away"?
A:  No.   See Page 101.

Q: Did Hamlet delay because he lost himself in "labyrinths of thought"?
A:  No.   See Page 104.

Q: Did Hamlet delay because he was afflicted by "profound melancholy"?
A:  Yes.   See Page 108.

Q: Was Hamlet insane?
A:  No.   See Page 120.

Q: Why didn't Hamlet kill the King when he had the chance?
A:  Because he has "no effective desire" to do it.   See Page 134.

Q: Did Hamlet love Ophelia?
A:  Before his father's death and his mother's remarriage, yes.  After that, not so much.   See Page 153.

Q: Did Ophelia betray Hamlet?
A:  No.   See Page 160.

Q: Before Hamlet's father died, did the Queen go to bed with Claudius?
A:  Yes.   See Page 166.

Q: Did the Queen help murder her husband?
A:  No.   See Page 166.

Q: Was Claudius a good king?
A:  Yes.   See Page 168.

Q: Would Claudius have gone to heaven if he had been killed at prayer?
A:  No.   See Page 171.

Q: Is Hamlet a religious play?
A:  Maybe at the very end, somewhat.   See Page 171.

Q: How long ago did Hamlet's father die?
A:  Almost two months before the opening of the play, but the marriage of Claudius and Gertrude took place immediately before the opening of the play.   See Note A, Page 401.

Q: Where was Hamlet when his father died?
A:  Probably at Elsinore, not Wittenberg.   See Note B, Page 403.

Q: How old is Hamlet?
A:  Thirty.   See Note C, Page 407.

Q: Is the Player's speech about Hecuba pure bombast?
A:  No.   See Note F, Page 413.