Hamlet Q & A

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Here are brief answers to some questions about the dialogue, events, and characters of Hamlet, with links to the relevant lines in the play.

BOOKMARK. This page is very much on the todo list.


  • How old is Hamlet?

Hamlet is 16. The line by the Sexton Clown, in the Graveyard Scene, which seems to imply Hamlet is 30, is a riddle. It actually says Hamlet is 16. The Clown is trying to fool Hamlet, as he did with the coroner's court deputy, without knowing who Hamlet is. See the speech starting at Scene 19 line 136 and the associated Notes.

  • Is Hamlet really mad?

Yes. If being "touched in the head" is mad, then yes he is. When the play is correctly performed, the Ghost touches Hamlet's head (when it speaks of Hamlet's hair,) and the audience sees Hamlet become "touched in the head." See the lines that begin at Scene 5 line 022 and the associated Notes.

  • Does Hamlet truly love Ophelia?

Madly. Strangely enough, the Nunnery Scene, where Hamlet behaves so badly to Ophelia, proves it beyond doubt. See the passage beginning at about Scene 8 line 094 and the Notes there.

  • Why doesn't Hamlet try to kill Claudius right away, the very next day after the Ghost tells Hamlet about Claudius?

Hamlet has a nightmare which gives him a lot more to think about. (note to self, links needed.)

  • Why does Hamlet appear in Ophelia's room with his clothing in disarray, and with a hellish expression?

That's just after he had the nightmare. Hamlet had a terrifying nightmare that something horrible had happened to Ophelia, so he ran to her room to make sure she was alive and alright. (note to self, links needed)


  • How old is Ophelia?

Probably 15. That's implied by something Laertes says in Scene 3. See the speech at Scene 3 line 043 and the Notes.

  • What does Ophelia's word "twice" mean when she says it in the 'Mousetrap' play Scene?

It means she lisps, as Hamlet mentioned in Scene 8. She lisped the word "two" when she first tried to say it. Scene 9 line 115 etc.


  • Is the Ghost the spirit of King Hamlet?

Certainly not.

  • The Ghost is wearing knight armor, and a knight should have a horse, so where is the Ghost's horse?

The Ghost has hidden its horse because it doesn't want the color of its horse to be seen.

  • What color is the Ghost's horse?

Pale. Very pale. Scene 2, the note for line 205 and down to line 244.

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