Question 1 AND Question 2


Question 1

Conflict is essential to drama: it develops and holds the audience’s attention. In Shakespeare’s famous play Hamlet, conflict helps to develop the plot in both outward ways (the action of the storyline) and inward ways (what occurs in the characters’ minds).

Argue in a micro-essay of at least 250 words how the playwright creatively uses both outward and inward conflict to affect the actions of the plot and the inward thoughts and motivations of its characters.

In-text cite lines of dialog in the play which you believe supports your response. (See Purdue OWL online for examples of in-text citing lines from a play).



In the churchyard, two gravediggers dig a grave for Ophelia. They argue whether Ophelia should be buried in the churchyard, since her death looks like a suicide. According to religious doctrine (Catholic), suicides may not receive Christian burial. The first gravedigger, who shows through his words a clever and mischievous wit, asks the second gravedigger a riddle: “What is he that builds stronger than either the mason, the shipwright, or the carpenter?” (V.i.46–47). The second gravedigger answers that it must be the gallows-maker, for his frame outlasts a thousand tenants. The first gravedigger challenges his answer, saying that it is the gravedigger, for his “houses” will last until Doomsday. Hamlet and Horatio enter at a distance and watch the gravediggers work. Hamlet looks with wonder at the skulls they excavate to make room for the fresh grave and speculates darkly about what occupations the owners of these skulls served in life: “Why may not that be the skull of a lawyer? Where be his quiddities now . . . ?” After this dialog, the king and queen and others come to the gravesite that was prepared for Ophelia’s burial. Overcome by grief, Ophelia’s brother Laertes jumps into his sister’s grave where Hamlet joins him in a brief fight. Wow! There is a lot of things happening dramatically in this famous scene!

Argue in a micro-essay of at least 250 words what you believe is the importance of this scene in terms of revealing Hamlet’s mindset and also foreshadowing the actions that occur subsequently at the conclusion of Act V.

In-text cite lines of dialog from this scene where you believe they will enhance the credibility of your answer.