1. What happens when Francisco and Bernardo meet at the beginning of 1.1? Where are we, and when? Why is there confusion over which one is supposed to challenge the other by asking "Who's there"? Why is Horatio with Bernardo and Marcellus? Who is he?
The play, Hamlet, begins with Francisco, one of the sentinels at the guards platform at Elsinore, who is waiting for Bernardo to relieve him of his duty right after midnight. Bernardo calls wondering who is there, to which Francisco replies that Bernardo should tell him who he is first. There is confusion of who should be asking who the other is because both are equally ranked guards, and it would be Bernardo's turn to be guarding the castle, and perhaps both are suspicious of the other. There have been previous sightings of an apparition around this same time, so both are tense and worried, hence the demanding questions and lack of trust. Horatio is with Bernardo and Marcellus because they want Horatio to witness the appearance of the apparition (ghost) so that they will have someone else acknowledge its happening. Horatio is listed as Prince Hamlet's friend and confidant and Marcellus refers to Horatio as a "scholar" when the apparition first appears.
2. What is Horatio's initial response to the story of the apparition? What happens when the ghost appears for the first time (220.127.116.11)? Notice that Horatio addresses it as "thou." This is the form of address used with friends or inferiors. Shakespeare's audience would have been much more attuned to the difference than we are. What is the effect of Horatio's addressing the ghost as "thou"?
When Horatio was first told about the appearance of the apparition, he was skeptical, " Horatio says 'tis but our fantasy And will not let belief take hold of him" ( 1.1.29). When the ghost was first sighted in the play, Bernardo remarks that the ghost looks similar to the King Hamlet, and Marcellus reasons with Horatio that he should address the ghost. Horatio reacts to the ghost with tormenting fear and surprise, but does note that the ghost looks like the King Hamlet. Horatio speaks to the ghost with " What art thou that usurp'st this time of night," (1.1.54) and demands the ghost to respond to him.This usage of the word " thou" causes the ghost to exit. Marcellus comments that the ghost was offended, meaning that by Horatio speaking to the ghost of the King with such lack of respect and with demands the ghost left.
3. What does Horatio first assume the appearance of the ghost means (1.1.68)? Why are there such intense war preparations in Denmark? (Read 1.1.69-106 carefully to get the international background of the play.) What does Horatio suggest by his discussion of Julius Caesar's death (18.104.22.168-.18)? Why does he choose the example of Rome? Why is the passage set off and in italics? (See note 2, line 106.)
Horatio initially assumes that the ghost appearance must mean that there is something wrong with the current government, " this bodes some strange eruption to our state", and that the appearance is foreshadowing some ominous event that will soon occur. There are intense war preparations in Denmark, and Bernardo and Marcellus question Horatio is he knows the reason behind such actions. Horatio responds that there are rumors that the King Hamlet, who was very prideful in manner, was challenged to battle Fortinbras of Norway and did kill the King Fortinbras. Kind Fortinbras forfeited his land to whoever conquered him, but King Hamlet made a deal and bargained some of the given land to the son of King Fortinbras. The young Fortinbras is uncontrollable with his rage against King Hamlet and Denmark and has been attacking the edges of the land with a spirit of adventure , and is set on his attack to regain the lost lands. Denmark is preparing aggressively for the imminent battle against young Fortinbras of Norway. Horatio is suggesting a connection of Julius Cesar's and the fall of Rome, in that he discusses that King