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  1. Do Now • At this point in your high school career, you’ve read several of Shakespeare’s works. Do you see certain themes, ideas, or subjects reiterated in his plays or sonnets?

  2. Hamlet

  3. Hamlet • Shakespeare received the inspiration for Hamlet from two previous tales. • Historia Danica (1200) • Histoires Tragiques (1576) • Inspiration may have also come from a tale called Ur-Hamlet, probably written by Thomas Kyd. • However, no written version of Kyd’s tale exists.

  4. Hamlet • Hamlet was most likely performed in 1600. • Midpoint of Shakespeare’s career. • 1588 – Comedy of Errors • 1613 – Henry VIII • One of Shakespeare’s finest tragedies. • Othello • King Lear • Macbeth

  5. Hamlet - Themes • Uncertainty and Decision Making • Action is continually postponed • A play about indecisiveness and Hamlet’s failure to act appropriately • How possible is it to take reasonable, effective, purposeful actions? • “A procrastinating protagonist”

  6. Hamlet – Themes • Death and Suicide • Hamlet has an obsession with death. • Death may answer all of Hamlet’s questions. • Denmark’s connection to the royal family • Everything is connected • Royal family – government – whole country • If the royal family is corrupt, the country will follow.

  7. Guiding Questions • Where does feigned madness end and real insanity begin? • How do we exist in a cruel world? • Is Hamlet a victim or is he blameworthy? • Is he a sentimental dreamer, deeply in love with Ophelia? Or a callous manipulator? • How “Oedipal” is his treatment of his mother? • Is he vindictive? Or does he have a moral responsibility to kill Claudius?

  8. Classwork • Review the statements listed on your worksheet. Discuss whether you agree or disagree with each and why.

  9. Homework • Read Act 1, Scenes 1-2 and answer corresponding questions.

  10. Do Now • The word “crazy” is thrown around a lot in our world today in many different ways. What do you think of when you hear the word crazy? What do you think of a person who is described as such? Be specific.

  11. Act 1, Scenes 1-2 • As you read the first few lines of the opening scene, what do you see in your mind’s eye? Hear? Smell? How do you feel? What purpose does portraying the scene in this way serve? • How do Claudius and Gertrude respond to Hamlet’s melancholy? Are they being fair to him? • Contrast the attitudes towards the death of the old King as expressed by Hamlet and Claudius.

  12. Act 1, Scene 2 • Contradictory words and ideas • Lines 1-14 • Ideas sit uneasily with each other • Claudius takes on a fatherly role • Line 87/Line 90 • Soliloquy about suicide • Line 129/Line 133

  13. Classwork • Compare the first scenes of the play to the first half hour of a movie. What do you think is necessary to hook an audience and what happens when a work does not have these attributes? What happens when a work takes too long to explain the main characters or actions of the plot?

  14. Homework • Read Act 1, Scenes 3-4 for homework and answer corresponding questions.

  15. Do Now • In our world today, what would you describe as a dysfunctional family? Is every family arguably dysfunctional because no one is truly perfect? Explain.

  16. Act 1, Scenes 3-4 • Compare the advice given to Ophelia by Laertes and that given by Polonius. • Imagine that Laertes, Ophelia, and Polonius are members of a present-day family speaking modern-day English. Rewrite Laertes’s and Polonius’s advice to Ophelia. • What does “To thine own self be true” mean? • Who says “Something is rotten in the state of Denmark”? What does he mean?

  17. Act 1, Scene 3 • Polonius’s speech to Laertes • Line 54/Line 60 • Ophelia • Laertes: Line 30/Line 35 • Polonius: Line 100/Line 110 • Brings to light the theme of incest • Claudius and Gertrude • Hamlet and Gertrude • Laertes and Ophelia

  18. Act 1, Scene 4 • Ghost continues to be an omen of trouble to come. • Scene also discusses the problems of Denmark • Line 90/Line 100

  19. Classwork • Complete character web worksheet.

  20. Homework • Read Act 1, Scene 5 and Act 2, Scene 1 and answer corresponding questions.

  21. Do Now • What do you make of people who overanalyze various aspects of their lives? Is there any area of your life where you are particularly sensitive or overly analytical? Describe.

  22. Act 1, Scene 5 and Act 2, Scene 1 • What kind of king do you think King Hamlet was? What kind of husband? • What kind of wife do you think Gertrude was? • Why does Hamlet’s appearance frighten Ophelia? What is Polonius’s diagnosis?  • What do Polonius’s interactions with Reynaldo and Ophelia tell you about him?

  23. Act 1, Scene 5 • Think about how King Hamlet was murdered: poison in the ear • What link can you see between how he was murdered and the idea that words can be used as a weapon? • Words can poison a person’s ear.

  24. Act 2, Scene 1 • Recall from your earlier notes what characteristics Hamlet possesses. • “A procrastinating protagonist” • What does this scene begin to tell you about Hamlet’s mental state? • It will become increasingly harder to distinguish between feigned madness and real insanity .

  25. Classwork • Complete classwork worksheet.

  26. Homework • Read Act 2, Scene 2 and answer corresponding questions.

  27. Do Now • As high school seniors, you have many important decisions coming up in the next few months. When making an important decision in your life, what factors influence you? How do you quantify what’s most important to you?

  28. Act 2, Scene 2 • What does Polonius mean in an aside, as he speaks with Hamlet, “Though this be madness, yet there is method in’t”? • What is the significance of the speech which Hamlet requests from the actor, taken from the story of the Trojan War? • What do you suppose Hamlet’s tone is as he says “The play’s the thing/Wherein I’ll catch the conscience of the king”? • What is the significance of Fortinbras in this scene? How does he differ from Hamlet?

  29. Act 2, Scene 2 • Longest scene in the play • Fortinbras and Hamlet as foils • A foil is a character who by contrast emphasizes the distinct characteristics of another character. • Both are sons of dead kings • Both have uncles who inherited the throne • They act differently: • Fortinbras is bent on revenge. • Hamlet is depressed and indecisive.

  30. Act 2, Scene 2 • Horatio and Laertes also serve as foils to Hamlet. • Hamlet has admiration for Horatio. • Has Hamlet finally lost it? • Lines 321-322/Lines 402-403 • This section shows that he is only mad at calculated times. • The audience can’t be sure. • Lines 543-544/Lines 633-634

  31. Classwork • Complete classwork worksheet.

  32. Homework • Read Act 3, Scenes 1-2 and answer corresponding questions.

  33. Do Now • Think of a time in your life when you experienced something particularly difficult. What sort of questions did you ask yourself or the world in general when you were experiencing this hardship?

  34. Act 3, Scenes 1-2 • What is the point of Hamlet’s “To be or not to be” soliloquy? What is the underlying question? • Does Hamlet mean what he says to Ophelia? What does it show you about his view of women in general? • Hamlet comments on marriage in these scenes. Why does he tell Ophelia “Get thee to a nunnery”? Why does he say this? What is he saying about marriage in general? • What is Gertrude referring to in Line 226 (white version)/Line 254 (orange version)? Why is this line so famous?

  35. Classwork • Complete classwork worksheet.

  36. Homework • Read Act 3, Scenes 3-4 and answer corresponding questions.

  37. Soliloquy • Think of a time in your life when you had to make an important decision. In the style of Hamlet’s “To be or not to be” soliloquy, write a poem in which you mull and struggle over a decision. Include the thoughts that went through your head – perhaps the pros, the cons, and what your final thought was. • “To play or not to play:” Trying to decide whether or not to play a sport in high school • “To ask or not to ask:” Asking someone to the prom or out on a date.

  38. Soliloquy • Your soliloquy should be 15-20 lines long and open with a “To_____ or not to_____” that clearly shows your struggle from the outset. You will share your poem with the class, so do not include anything that you would not be comfortable having your classmates hear. Your poem may be funny and whimsical or more serious if you so choose.

  39. Homework • Finish soliloquy. Be ready to share tomorrow. • Read Act 3, Scenes 3-4 and answer corresponding questions.

  40. Do Now • Has there ever been a time in your life when you felt particularly guilty about something you had done? How did you deal with your guilt? What were the end results of your actions?

  41. Act 3, Scenes 3-4 • How does Hamlet react after he murders Polonius? What does this show you about his current mental state?   • What occurs beginning on Line 36 (white version)/Line 40 (orange version) of Scene 3? Compare Claudius’s thoughts on his own guilt as he tries to pray to Gertrude’s recognition of her guilt when confronted by Hamlet.

  42. Act 3, Scenes 3-4 • In Scene 4, how is the theme of incest seen in Hamlet’s conversation with Gertrude? (Include quotes from their conversation that illustrate this.) • Freud wrote that Hamlet had an Oedipus complex.

  43. Act 3, Scenes 3-4 • How do Gertrude’s changing emotions convey the idea that women are unable to act and react without the direction of men?

  44. Act 3, Scenes 3-4 • Hamlet is now obsessed with gaining certain, divine knowledge. • Wants to know God’s plan • Wants to know that Claudius will go to hell after death

  45. Classwork • Complete character web worksheet.

  46. Homework • Read Act 4, Scenes 1-2 and answer corresponding questions.

  47. Do Now • The idea of family is central to Hamlet. Parents are supposed to protect their children and put them first. But sometimes people have children for all the wrong reasons. What do you think of people who are parents but act selfishly? What do you think are wrong reasons to have children?

  48. Act 4, Scenes 1-2 • Do you think Gertrude believes Hamlet is trying to conceal his secret? Or does she think that he is crazy? If forced to chose, do you think she should stick by her husband or her son?

  49. Act 4, Scenes 1-2 • How does the King react when he learns that Polonius is dead? Do you think his reaction shows a side of him that is self-serving – or compassionate? • How is the view of Hamlet shifted after he kills Polonius? • Up until this point, he could have been viewed as a hero.

  50. Classwork • Complete classwork worksheet.