Aim: How does Shakespeare establish the setting and mood in Hamlet?


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Read through 1.2—Describe the situation in Denmark.

Do now: Choose a genre of book or movie. Write about what happens in the first 5 minutes of a typical story in that genre.
Aim: How does Shakespeare establish the setting and mood in Hamlet?

  • This play was written some time around 1604

  • It is considered Shakespeare’s greatest tragedy unanimously until people got bored of that

  • Most performed of Shakespeare’s plays

  • Most famous quotes, including ‘To be or not to be’

  • Not closely based on historical events or mythology

  • Possibly about Prince Amleth of Denmark, but there was also a similar play written during the same time as Shakespeare’s

What’s happening:

  • Denmark is preparing for a Norwegian invasion after Hamlet killed the old Norwegian king, Fortinbras. The new king is invading for revenge.

  • Marcellus has been at college in Wittengberg and has come back in the last few days.

  • The ghost of the old Danish king keeps running into the Night Watch, but doesn’t talk to them and simply leaves.


HW: Finish 1.2

Annotate the soliloquy (line 133- line 164) for literary elements and devices. Do a table (quote on one side, literary element on the other). Explain the literary element. Also if you don’t get something, put that in the table.

Do Now: List all of the elements of a strong opening scene.

  • Grabs the reader’s attention

  • Includes a description of the setting

  • Introduces major conflict

  • Introduces main characters

  • Sets the mood

  • Introduces tension

AIM: How does Shakespeare introduce the setting, mood, conflict and characters in Hamlet?
In this passage by the king:

  • Memory of king is still fresh in Denmark’s minds

  • “Logic must take precedence over nature” (we can’t let our grief affect us (there’s a war on))

  • Says he married the old king’s wife, who remains the queen

  • Contrasting joy and sorrow (a wedding and a funeral around the same time)

  • This king is the dead king’s brother

  • Nobody objected to this marriage or him becoming king

  • Fortinbras thinks that Denmark is in disarray because the old king died

  • Fortinbras keeps sending messages to get Claudius to give back the lands

  • Claudius has written a letter to Norway to reason with Norway, the king of Norway

  • Sends Cornelius and Voltemand as messengers, but doesn’t allow them to negotiate


  • Is also a college student

  • Is still in mourning

‘son/sun’ is a pun

New theme: appearance vs. reality


HW: read 1.3 for Wednesday

Do Now: Describe your state of mind at this moment.

  • Nervous about tests

  • Happy (won presidency)

  • Euphoric (YAY NO SLEEP!!!)

  • Apathetic (bleeeh.)

  • Relieved (easy quiz)

  • Sick

  • Excited for 4-day weekend

AIM: How do we evaluate Hamlet’s state of mind?

Go to page 27, line 90

What do we know about Hamlet already?

  • Is in mourning

  • Wants to go back to college (the king won’t let him)

  • Wants to melt into nothingness in his sadness

  • If it was allowed, he’d commit suicide (he’s a Christian, it’s forbidden)

  • He’s extremely depressed

  • ‘Fie on it, oh fie!’ apparently a curse (strong exclamation of shock, reproach or spite)

  • Life has become an unweeded garden (he wants to let himself go and not do anything positive)  metaphor


  • Really upset that his mother married Claudius

  • ‘Like Hyperion to a satyr’ allusion to classical mythology

  • King Hamlet is shielding her face from even the wind

  • Thinks his mother needs sex and that’s why she married Claudius

  • Says that all women are weak

  • The same shoes that she wore at the funeral were used to go to Claudius (this is apparently ‘worse than a beast’)

  • Thinks that Claudius is about as much like Hamlet Sr. as he (Hamlet Jr.) is to Hercules

  • Thinks that it’s incest to sleep with her husband’s brother

Soliloquy: a character is talking directly to the audience so that they understand what he or she is thinking (the other characters don’t hear or don’t understand this)
Epizeuxis: When you repeat a word because you’re too emotional. It’s a literary or rhetorical device that expresses great emotion.
What advice would you give to Hamlet as his friend?

  • Find a girlfriend

  • Talk to his mom

Foreshadowing- Hamlet sees his father in his mind


HW: Read 1.4 and 1.5

How does Hamlet respond to the ghost? (1 paragraph) Also, you can read and annotate the soliloquy in 1.5 (optional)
Do Now: What do you think other people say about you when you’re not around?

  • People conspire against you

  • People say petty things that you’d dispute

  • Reputation

Indirect characterization: when you learn things about a character without that character being present (either through other people talking or his or her own actions)
AIM: How does Shakespeare indirectly characterize Hamlet in Act 1 Scene 3?

The moon=chastity artemis/Diana


HW: Finish Act 1. Annotate Hamlet’s soliloquy for literary elements/devices

Do Now: List the ways that directors/playwrights can raise tension in a movie or a play.

HW: Read 2.2 through line 405

List the evidence for and against Hamlet’s sanity.

Cite quotes to support your analysis

Do Now: Write about a situation that you inadvertently made more complicated. What did you do? What were you trying to accomplish? How did your action make the situation more complicated?
St. Patrick- guardian of purgatory, gets rid of snakes in Ireland (relates to Claudius being a snake)

  • Planning convoluted text message

  • Little amount of homework leads to procrastination

  • Played around with hair more than you should horrible hair

  • Dwell on something that has been done
  • Comedies- one character tells the others about something but gets things worse

Protasis- intro of all major plotlines, characters and conflicts

Other Hamlet play- just an uninteresting generic revenge story

Epitasis- thickening/complication of the plot. Important part of the play

Aim: How does Shakespeare begin to complicate the plot in Act 2 Scene 1?
-Revenge plot

-Hamlet and Ophelia’s relationship

-War with Norway

-Hamlet’s sanity

-Ghost story

-Detective story

Which plot does Shakespeare choose to complicate in Act 2 Scene 1 and how does he complicate the plot?

  • Hamlet’s sanity; Ophelia tells Polonius about what Hamlet did. (Lines 87-94)

  • Hamlet’s and Ophelia’s relationship; line 95 onwards, Polonius asks if Hamlet is mad for love. Ophelia listened to Polonius which upsets Hamlet.

  • Hamlet may be mad for another reason i.e. the ghost (Dramatic irony with Ophelia and everyone else)

  • Polonius has a big mouth and overly protective of his children sends someone to spy on Laertes and tries to protect Ophelia.

  • Ophelia’s POV love is the root of Hamlet’s insanity (Dramatic irony).

  • Revenge plot and detective plot left out build up tension and anticipation of audience.


HW: Finish the scene. Answer the following focus questions:

  1. Why does Hamlet feel bad after talking to the players?

  2. TWE does he seem sane when speaking with the players?

Do Now: What would you do if you thought you or one of your friends was going crazy?

  • Try to find the source of craziness

  • Good and bad crazy
  • Leave along if good crazy, Tell them to see doctor if bad crazy

  • Blast music on IPod (Meshuggah ftw)

Aim: TWE is Hamlet sane? How can we evaluate his sanity?

  • King and Queen get Rosencrantz and Guildenstern to spy on Hamlet.

  • Polonius uses letters to Ophelia to prove Hamlet is insane.

  • Players come in

  • Hamlet was reading a book.

  • He is pretending to be crazy.

  • Hamlet: If you see me going crazy don’t let anyone know.

  • He probably is pretending to be crazy or is already crazy from his encounter with the ghost

  • At some point Horatio swore.

Look at Hamlet + Ophelia (p. 79, 87-91)

Look at Hamlet + Polonius (P. 93-97)

Look at Hamlet + Rosencrantz + Guildenstern (P.97-107)

How does Hamlet behave to your character and how does your character react? TWE does he seem sane? TWE does he seem genuine?

  • Acting desperately

  • P.79, Hamlet took Ophelia by the wrist.

  • Ophelia might not be reliable.

  • Lines 92-93 possible allusion to the ghost which could make him seem insane

  • Letters show he’s desperate for Ophelia.

  • Not good love letters

  • “beautified” is made pretty as opposed to beautiful.

  • King and Queen still feel his father’s death make him insane


  • A little crazy or rude (fishmonger pimp)

  • Polonius is suspicious of Hamlet.

  • Method to Hamlet’s madness

  • Hamlet’s aware that Polonius is being nosy

  • Doesn’t think highly of Polonius
  • Knows that Polonius is connected to the king.

Rosencrantz and Guildenstern

  • Comparing fortune to a woman

  • seems sane and gets them out for spying for Claudius

  • dust death

  • tells them what he wants to tell the king

  • North-North-west on and off craziness

If Hamlet is putting on an antic disposition (method to his madness)…

  • Feels trapped

  • Being random when crazy

  • Antics would lower king’s guard or get closer to king

TWE is he doing a good job?

  • No. He told R and g that he’s not actually crazy


HW: Reread and annotate the soliloquy (p117-118) Read 3.1 for Wed.
Do Now: Write about the different types of language that you use when you’re talking with the following types of people:
Your friends: Say whatever you want, offensive stuff

Your parents: Don’t complain about school, OD-ing

Your siblings: Like friends, avoid certain types of jokes, no racist stuff, no offensive stuff

Your teachers: nothing personal… different type of relationship

AIM: How does Shakespeare’s use of language affect the turmoil in Denmark?
After players come in, the Hamlet says some speech about Troy (relates to the revenge plot, avenging his father’s death, contrasts with not crying enough for father’s death?)

Polonius at first criticized the play, then liked it,

Hamlet asks players to put on a play that tests the king’s conscious

Iambic Pentameter: type of poetry (called blank verse), 10 syllables in a line (5 stressed, 5 unstressed words in each line), higher class people

Blank verse: type of meter poetry that doesn’t rhyme

Shakespeare uses rhymes at end of scenes, and to indicates childish things

Prose: regular, everyday language, lower class people

Hamlet in this scene speaks in prose to his childhood friends and to the players (should be speaking formally in front of the players)

Polonius also speaks in prose

Players speak in Iambic Pentameter, even though not noble and lower class people

Maybe Hamlet is acting too? His soliloquy is written in Iambic Pentameter, as with his speech in Act 1, Scene 2

Why do you think Shakespeare chose to switch the language around?

Creates dramatic irony – audience knows players are reenacting actual death

Chain of correspondence

Ironic in general – Hamlet is a prince, reflects backwards nature of Denmark and turmoil


HW: Read 3.1. Annotate the “To be or not to be” soliloquy,

Do Now: Write about the last time that you were really angry. Why were you angry? How did you behave?
- 42nd street Subway, don’t go there…

- brown guy overcharged me

- screamers/seethers

- Mr. Rubin: doesn’t react, then explodes (needs anger management), don’t get him angry or else…

- “productive” anger- running, music, not hitting things…

- acts nicer

- revenge is sweet

- anger as a force of change or counter-productive

AIM: How is Hamlet affected by his anger, and how does he change as a result of it?

  1. When does Hamlet change? (mark the point in the soliloquy)

- Line 610- “Why, what an ass am I,” becomes more focused, repeats his plan, seems his attitude and style of speech has changed, his turning point

  1. How does he change? (List and differences in the way that Shakespeare characterizes Hamlet before and after this point)


- swounds (curse)

- when mentioning Claudius, his anger peaks

- questions the ghost’s intentions, uses the play to confirm his doubts


HW: How does Shakespeare develop Hamlet’s character in this scene (3.1)? Go see the play!

Do Now: Write about an aspect of your personality that is not apparent when someone first meets you.

    • very analytical

    • intelligence (most people assume you’re of average intelligence)

    • sensitivity

    • quiet, open up as you go along

    • not as lazy as I appear to be

AIM: How does Shakespeare develop Claudius’s personality?
Shakespeare develops other character’s personalities as well.

    • competent, strict

    • articulate

    • tries to appease everybody

    • politically savvy

    • Machiavellian character - better to be feared than to be loved

    • Murderer, backstabber, power hungry

    • Good judge of character

    • Man of action

    • guilty

Claudius is ok to not be kingly by spying on his subjects.

Aside – speaking directly to the audience (modern-day voice over)

Claudius admits his conscience is “eating at him,” he is guilty of something

Prostitution is apparently wrong, Robert agrees

Noble on the outside, guilty on the inside, like Macbeth

Not a bad king, but a terrible brother

Adds another layer of complexity to Claudius, like Macbeth, becomes more human and less of a “cartoon villain,” but he’s still an antagonist

Shakespeare makes Claudius complex to make him less boring, a tragic story, moves the action forward

How has your opinion of Claudius changed as a result of the scene?
TO BE(,) OR NOT TO BE” Pg 127, line 64
To live or not to live, that’s the question (parallel structure highlighting opposites)

Sleep sounds good….


HW: Read and annotate 3.2 (explain what you don’t understand)

Do Now: Characterize the mugger in the following story:
A man mugged another man on the subway yesterday stealing all of his money.


-seeking dominance


-quick and easy-pro, hesitates-feeling guilty


-Trying to feed his family – dirty money, feel sorry for him

-He’s Robin Hood – still unjustified, it’s fine, he’s got style

-He’s deranged, but he robs Madoff – its ok
AIM: How does our characterization of Hamlet change based on our reading of his situation?
Pg 129

“…mortal coil”

“Thus conscience does make cowards of us all,” (line 91)

Not sure of what to do, has doubts, could hurt his mother, he’s a respectable person, etc.

Prove the hypothesis:

1. Find proof in the scene that the claim is true.

2. Characterize Hamlet based on the assumptions of your reading.
Hamlet doesn’t know that he’s being spied on or that Ophelia’s there:

    • reveals his plan

    • everyone married will live except one

    • he’s truly insane
    • back to flip-flopping, he didn’t have a turning point

Can see Ophelia, still doesn’t know he’s being spied on:

    • he notices her in the soliloquy

    • so emotional that he doesn’t notice the spies

Knows he’s being spied on:

    • being smart, trying to confuse Polonius and Claudius

    • he’s pretending to go crazy

    • “Thus conscience does make cowards of us all,” (line 91)

    • Asks “Where’s your father?” to unnerve Claudius

He’s insane:

    • It’s obvious that he’s not lovesick

    • He says he’s going mad


HW: Re-read the end of the scene. Answer the group work questions for Hamlet’s interactions with Claudius and Rosencrantz and Guildenstern

Do Now: Write about a time when you noticed a change in someone or when someone noticed a change in you.
How did you/the person change? What factors led you/him/her to notice the change?

  • Physical changes are noticeable

  • Whitewashed

AIM: How and why does Hamlet change in Act 3 Scene 2?

  1. Describe Hamlet’s interaction with your character

  2. In what ways are these actions similar to or different from Hamlet’s previous actions in the play?

  3. What factors account for these similarities and differences?

Find quotes to support answers.


  • Encourages them

  • Gives them advice in order to get a good reaction from Claudius

  • Tells them not to overreact

  • Very bossy; attentive to detail


  • Wishes he had Horatio’s judgment and wisdom

  • Tries to get Horatio to help him in revenge plot

  • Needs a witness that he can count on to support his arguments

  • Offers Horatio material rewards for helping him


  • Less of a jerk to her

  • Sits next to her so that he can observe the king

  • More open with her

  • Extremely sexual comments

  • Excited about possibly getting confirmation of Claudius’ guilt

  • His actions don’t have any bearing on the future

  • Doesn’t care about anyone or anything else

  • Possibly feels like she still has feelings for him


  • Being a crazy idiot

  • Completely rude

How did Hamlet change?

  • Much more assertive

  • More resourceful

  • Actually happy for once

  • Playful mood


Read 3.3.
TWE does the king seem sincere?

TWE are the king’s actions consistent with his previous actions in the play?

Do Now: Which mousetrap do you think is most effective? Why?

-a cat

-homemade traps using paper towel rolls balanced on a side of a table on top of a garbage

-sticky paper, living mouse stuck on glue



-leads to the ultimate demise of mice

-must be trapped

AIM: In what ways is the play a mouse trap? TWE is it effective?
Mouse trap scene-

Identify the bait, deception, victim, and method

Victim/mouse/rat: Claudius

Bait: The play or Hamlet’s madness

Trapping method: Audience or The play or Horatio

TWE is it effective?

-Its ok, not dead, but has a reaction on Claudius


Confession of guilt on killing his own brother


HW: Read 4.1, 4.2, 4.3

List the consequences (chart) of Hamlet’s actions in act III.

Thursday 02/05/2010 Shakespeare Contest
Do Now: Write about a time when you or someone you know was blinded by rage.

  • Won’t listen to others and interpret what they say as bad

  • Friend punched a kid. (“the right thing to do”)

  • Blinded to rational thought to morals, rationality, consequences of actions.

  • Baby cousin threw DS onto TV.

Aim: In what ways is Hamlet’s rage blind him to the consequences of his actions?

Why is Hamlet angry?

  • Uncle murdered his father.

  • Mother married his uncle.

  • Ghost told him not to be upset with mother.

  • Knows for sure about Claudius’ murder

  • Had the chance to kill Claudius (mad at himself).

  • Got more upset after he kills Polonius.

  • Mad before he kills Polonius

  • Kills Polonius b/c he screams for help.

  • Also transferred his anger to Ophelia.

  • Threatens and yells at mother.

  • Reveals his fake insanity

  • Accuses her of being Claudius’ accomplice.

  • Queen seems not to know

  1. In what ways were the actions inspired by Hamlet’s anger?

  2. How should Hamlet have acted if he acted rationally?

  3. What possible consequences might arise from his actions?
  4. In what ways might these consequences help/hinder Hamlet’s plan for revenge?

Killing Polonius

  • Maybe open the curtain

  • Angry at missing chance to kill King

  • Overly excited

  • Wanted to kill anyone for being spied upon

  • Personal consequences with Ophelia

  • Laertes gets mad

  • Claudius is trying to get him out of the picture without killing him

  • Jail/ death

Revelation of his plan regarding R and G

  • Knows R and G are backstabbers

  • Queen could tell king and R and G

Accusing her of being Claudius’ accomplice/ revealing state of mind

  • Spitting out his mind

  • Completely inspired by rage

  • People might not believe he’s faking it

  • Get into later trouble

  • Trust queen more than Hamlet

  • Queen might blow Hamlet’s cover

  • Shouldn’t have told her anything about the plan

Predict what will harm him more?

  • Last scene was worse

  • Inaction causes Claudius to hold on to power

HW: Read 4.4. Annotate Hamlet’s soliloquy


Respond to the quote on the handout. TWE do you agree or disagree with the statement.

100% agree

-Maximize power to ensure survival

-can’t resist the lure that power has >Czar of Russia
Half and half

-type of ruler > essential quality

100% disagreement

-abuse of power>ruler shouldn’t cheat and abuse his power

-representative of a state>gives a bad sense of a ruler

-self preservation is not the objective of a ruler

-corrupt government led to downfall of nations

Nikolai Machiavelli- should king rule in divine right, or in a similar to Machiavelli’s belief
AIM: In what ways does Shakespeare portray Claudius as a Machiavellian?

TWE does Shakespeare support or oppose Machiavellian rule?

-shows shock on the murder of Polonius by Hamlet’s hands

-states that Hamlet is a threat and must be dealt with

-faking his anguish, happy that Hamlet could now be dealt with


British crown would assassinate Hamlet in England-England was tributary state to Denmark

Hamlet’s plan is elaborate, but not organized

Claudius’ plan is simple, organized, and resourceful

Claudius responds faster to Hamlet’s actions faster than Hamlet’s reaction.
TWE is Shakespeare seems to support or oppose Claudius’s Machiavellian tactics?

HW: Due after break – Read and annotate through the end of act 4.

Due January 13: Write an essay in which you existentially psychoanalyze Hamlet.

Be sure to address the following issues: 1. Trace his decisions back to the beginning of the play—what was his original choice?

2. After each decision, TWE is he aware of his free will? TWE does he exhibit bad faith?

3. How do his choices limit his possibilities as the play progresses?

Do Now: Write about a friend or rival against whom you measure yourself or against whom others measure you.

-rival from the 3rd grade, Pokémon gold and silver FTW > Pokémon battle

-parents compared with a sibling or a superior

-Basketball team compete for playtime

-Track team

AIM: How is Fortinbras a foil for Hamlet?
Hamlet’s at the face of his enemy, but his revenge couldn’t complete his revenge
Wants to use the intelligence bestowed upon them from god
If you think to much, you become a coward (if we think to much, we can’t act)
Gets excited to kill, but doesn’t actually kill
Consistent attitude,




-not acting

-fights for pity, shame


-Uncle is king

-Fathers are murdered

-trying to redeem their father

-acting (brought an entire army)

-speaks with the “royal we”

-sense of leadership

-fights for honor


HW: Read and annotate through the end of act 4.
Hamlet essay due January 13.
50 word Vocabulary will be up on the website by the end of the day
Do now: Record your best impression of Mr. Rubin
-“Do now”

-“What’s the Aim”

-“Who wants to type”
AIM: How does Shakespeare use language to create personality in his characters?
Find in the play where the character speaks
Record all of the common type phrases and rhetorical figures that he uses, how it relates to the character

-speak in short phrases > lack royalty > not well spoken

-A2S2 > ends every phrases with “lord”

-comic relief > Carl and Lenny


-speaks like a commoner

-repeats the same word over and over and over, only when he reflects upon himself

-A1S2 > uses apostrophe a lot, addressing an inanimate object > asks himself rhetorical questions that he later answers himself, schizophrenic

The Ghost

-dramatic speech > doomed/gothic tone > like he’s in hell > talks about blood and murder

-A1S5 >

-“I tell you” or “my lord” > henchmen speak

-Hendiadys - adjective and a noun, make them both nouns and put an “and” in between

-she acts differently in front of her father > doesn’t treat them like equals > helpless

-A1S3 > biblical illusion/references

-talking about the heart > passion

-refers himself as Denmark > speaks with the “royal we”

HW: Write a paragraph comparing the Peripeteia in Oedipus with the Peripeteia in Hamlet

Vocabulary quiz on words 1-25 one week from tomorrow

Hamlet essay due Jan 13.

Do Now: Write about something that you or someone you know did that led to unintended consequences.

  • Borrowed a book from teacher; kept it too long

  • Alarm clock woke up everyone except person it was supposed to wake up

  • Punched his friend, thinking he was the bully

Peripeteia: action that leads the opposite of intended consequences that causes a character’s downfall
AIM: How does peripeteia play out in Hamlet?
Ophelia has gone mad because Hamlet killed her father
What was Hamlet’s action that led to all of the changes in this scene?

  • He killed Polonius

What are the consequences?

  • Ophelia is mad

  • Laertes and Claudius are now working together

  • Instead of Laertes killing the king, the king will indirectly kill Laertes

  • Instead of ending the revenge cycle, the cycle continues


HW: Read 5.1 (Friday)

Essay due January 13

Vocabulary quiz one week from today
Do Now: Describe someone who is the complete opposite of yourself.

  • Doesn’t procrastinate

  • Outgoing

  • Well organized

  • Optimistic

  • Not skeptical

  • Quiet; shy

  • Cynic

  • Narrow-minded

  • Anxious; nervous

AIM: How does Shakespeare portray the minor characters ars opposites of Hamlet and what does this reveal about Hamlet’s personality?

Personality traits of Hamlet

  • Deceptive (pretends to be crazy)

  • Angry/bitter (tries to get revenge)

  • Hesitant(indecisive about taking revenge)

  • Intelligent(sometimes)

  • Wild mood swings

  1. In what ways is your character’s situation similar to Hamlet’s?

  2. In what ways does your character display the opposite traits or actions from Hamlet?

  3. Find a passage that displays these traits as the opposite of Hamlet’s. (write down the passage)


  1. Both aware of what happened with Polonius

  2. Gertrude feels guilty

  3. p. 205


  1. Father was killed

  2. Actually crazy; no evil plot behind it


HW: Read 5.1 for Friday

Hamlet Essay due one week from today

Vocabulary quiz on Tuesday

Do Now: Define the following terms in 2-3 sentences each:

Day: The period of time that it takes for the earth to rotate on its axis.

The time between someone’s waking up and going to sleep.

Tall: With above average height compared to the average for the subject

Not short

Light: The opposite of heavy

The absence of darkness

An illumination that helps people see

Empty: Not containing substance; lacking substance

Not filled with anything

Young: The opposite of old

Newly born

Slow: Something that takes longer to complete a task than something else

Opposite of fast

Nothing: The opposite of matter

AIM: How does he portray the minor characters in Hamlet as the opposite of Hamlet and what does this reveal about Hamlet?

    1. Also a plotter of someone’s death (like Hamlet) using intelligence and ulterior motives. Accused of killing Polonius.

    2. Acts quickly, but not as impulsively as Hamlet does. Has little sense of honor in his methods.

    3. passage from p.219, p.233

Laertes 1

  1. He’s a son who is honor bound to avenge his father’s death

  2. sdsdsd

  3. p.215,




Father killed

Depressed; does not act until ghost appears

Barges in on the king, demanding answers

Both fathers’ deaths occur under mysterious circumstances

Ghost tells Hamlet that Claudius killed his father; elaborate scheme using play; fakes madness

Confronts Claudius directly; gets answers more quickly; doesn’t mind asking for help; doesn’t care about morality or his own afterlife


Hamlet acts alone

Set up the play for the admission of guilt

Laertes conspires with Claudius

Want to simply kill Hamlet, and ethics be darned

Has a backup plan (better thought-out plan)

More resources because he’s working with the king

Laertes 2

  1. Less hesitant; acts instead of sitting back and trying to figure things out


HW: Read 5.1

Essay due Wednesday

Vocab quiz Tuesday

Do Now: Write an argument convincing me not to give homework for the rest of the year.

  • Homework takes up time in which you could be making money for college

  • We shouldn’t have homework because we need to write essays for college apps

  • Homework doesn’t involve a lot of thought-no intellectual benefit (need more significant assignments)

  • Saves time

  • It should be extra credit
  • We’d get more sleep

  • Focus on teaching in class instead of busy work

AIM: How can we improve our thesis statements?

  1. Analyze your thesis statement according to the criteria on the handout.

  2. Think of 3 pieces of evidence that would support your thesis.

Number 1

  1. ‘One might argue’ is too vague. However, the argument seems sound and clear.


HW: Vocabulary quiz tomorrow

Read and annotate 5.2 for Wednesday

Essay due Wednesday
Do Now: In what ways does a person’s social class affect his/her life in America?
-Higher class, equal intelligence has higher chance of succeeding

-More money, more opportunities

-Less money, more motivation

-less money leads to stress, less opportunities

-higher class=more ignorance?

-affects you earlier in life, then it becomes about what you do

-social class doesn’t say all
-Social class not necessarily about money.

-About “establishment”

AIM: How does Shakespeare comment on social class in Hamlet?
Create a social ladder in Hamlet

1. Claudius

2. Gertrude/Hamlet

3. Hamlet/Gertrude

4. Fortinbras


5. Polonius

6. Ophelia

7. Laertes

8. Horatio


9. Rosencrantz/Guildenstern

10. Guards

11. Marcellus


12. Servants

13. Osric


14. Gravedigger


15. Ghost

Play is very focused in higher class.

Committed suicide, so she (Ophelia) shouldn’t be buried, but gets funeral rites because she’s “noble,” shows differences in class.

If you have money, you can get away with almost anything.

Noble families have a coat of arms.

Social class doesn’t matter because everyone is equal in death.

HW: Read and annotate 5.2 for Thursday

Essay due tomorrow

Vocab quiz one week from today
Do Now: Vocabulary Quiz

Summarize the comments Hamlet makes about class in the beginning of 5.1

-higher classes have advantages

-class is irrelevant in the end of life/time/in the Garden of Eden

-artificial, created by humans
Lower class character is getting the better of the higher class character in the scene

-entertains the poor people

The gravedigger is more informed than the royalty/nobility.

Everyone ends up as dirt.

-lower class seems more informed/aware

HW: Read and annotate until 5.2.205

Do Now: Think about your favorite comedy, then write about why you find it funny. What specific types of jokes or comic techniques do you find funny?

-South Park- Kenny’s deaths, celebrity satire, Cartman

-Monty Python- sane to insane, randomness

-Chris Rock- racial

The Office, Tonight Show- awkwardness, makes fun of current events

-The Daily show- funny but not pointless

-Children shows – unintentially funny

-Everybody loves Raymond- relatable, down to earth

-King of Queens- Doug


-Seinfeld, Mel Brooks, hitchhiker’s guide to the galaxy, Airplane, Major League,

AIM: How does Shakespeare employ comic relief in Act 5, Scene 1?
Lines: 1-60, 146-187

Identify and explain the comedic techniques

TWE are they applied today; do people still make these jokes?

In what way does the humor relate to/comment on the rest of the play?

-Puns – lines 33-35 “bear arms,” still used today, comments on the differences between upper/lower classes “lying/lie-ing”

-Singing – eases mood, comedic, singing in a graveyard is dark humor

-Riddles – unexpected, humorous answer/response

-Generic joke – lines 167-180 “tanner” overly-literal

-Gravedigger getting better of Hamlet – lower class character gets the better of higher class character, ironic

-Dramatic Irony

-Makes fun of church/religion – makes fun of the conflict between churches, comments on current events

-Makes fun of himself by bringing up coat of arms

-Shakespeare uses humor to relate to something serious, comparisons, people are dying and it adds comic relief (relieves dramatic tension), less serious, longer scene to break tension

-Puns are funny because they have multiple meanings

What’s the funniest part of the scene and why?


HW: Read through 5.2.237
Do Now: Write about the most suspenseful movie you’ve ever seen. What techniques did the director use to raise or lower the dramatic tension.

-WALL-E – shows an obstacle than the main character must overcome, a time element

-Knowing – doesn’t give any info on what’s going on until the very end, hiding of information

-AF1, Deathnote - plot twists

-The Sixth Sense – lack of knowledge

-Mission Impossible 2 – Time element

Aim: How does Shakespeare raise and lower dramatic tension?

Rate the dramatic tension of your scene in the beginning and end of the scene.

In what ways does Shakespeare raise/lower the dramatic tension in your scene? Cite specific examples and techniques.

-7/10 at the beginning - Hamlet comes back, plotting his death

-9/10 in the end, 10 when Laertes finds out about Ophelia’s death, he becomes really angry (line 215)

-uses dramatic irony – Hamlet doesn’t know about the king’s plot, we know he’s going to die

-uses metaphors – “speech o’ fire”

-shift of point of view

-characterization of Laertes

-8 at the beginning

-drops at the end of the scene to 2

-uses comic relief to break down the tension

-ex. gravedigger singing

-satire, comedy lowers tension

-line 51

-Act/scene break serves as relief of tension, gives audience “time to breathe”

-when Laertes enters, the tension rises

-everyone is in the same area, dramatic irony

-anticipates some sort of confrontation

-Lines 265/271 – Hamlet challenges Laertes, raises tension, they fight, may be the climax of the play but isn’t, they get pulled apart and the tension relieves

-dramatic irony, physical confrontation, not knowing


-first it’s low – Hamlet talking to Horatio

-goes up, we find out Laertes and Hamlet will fight again

-Hamlet starts getting annoyed at Osric, may build to something

-second messenger is sent in to talk about the duel (pg 271), brings up more tension because it adds urgency and a time element (line 209)

Why does Shakespeare raise/lower tension?

-adds more tension

-for the audience, gives the a break

Finish the play. Write a paragraph identifying and explaining Hamlet’s agnorisis

Vocabulary part 2, Tuesday

Do Now: List three adjectives to describe yourself, then explain how each word applies to you.

-Optimistic - make the best out of things


-analytical – perhaps conflicts with idealism

-seed, sapling, tree

-creative, imaginative


-bipolar, stoic, judging
AIM: How does Shakespeare characterize Hamlet?

Lines 1-90

Lines 91-235

  1. In what ways does Shakespeare characterize Hamlet? Come up with 4-5 traits and cite examples from the text.

  2. TWE is the characterization similar/different to the previous characterizations?

Lines 1-90

-Bragging – forged a letter in nice handwriting, R/G die

-Pompous – proud of escaping Claudius, thinks he turned the tables




-different from his actions previously – always cautious, now on a rampage, Horatio may have something to do with it, apologizes to Laertes

Lines 91-265

-Mocking – (Line 265)

-No respect for Osric

-passive-aggressive – shows he’s two-faced

-more aggressive

-similar to previous characterization – confident in the plan

-plans are much more direct, no hesitation, after he sees Fortinbras he decides to become more active (Act 4)

-Needs a direct plan because he’s in more danger

-Shakespeare changes Hamlet to signify an end, to lead Hamlet to a final action
Tragic Hero:


-Commits a mistake


-Doomed from the start

-Loses everything

-Basically a good person, to let us feel bad for him

HW: Group questions

Do Now: Sit with your group

Write about something that evokes emotions of fear and/or pity in you

  • terrible things happening to good people

  • spiders

  • clowns

  • dogs

  • fear of epic fails

AIM: To what extent does Hamlet fit into the Aristotelian definition of tragedy?
Greek tragedies:

  • tragic hero

  • tragic mistake or flaw (hamartia)

  • action that has the opposite effect of what was intended (peripeteia)

  • reversal of fortune and a fall

  • the character realizing the results of the peripeteia (agnorisis)

  • complete destruction of the tragic hero (whether by death, forceful changing of personality, etc)

  • purging of emotions (catharsis)

The revenge cycle is now complete. Laertes took revenge on Hamlet, who is dead. Hamlet also took revenge on Claudius, who is dead. And Fortinbras takes revenge on Denmark by taking over it. Also, there is a total of 1 surviving character.

  1. In what ways does Shakespeare affect your element of tragedy?

  2. In what ways is it similar to or different to the same element in Oedipus?

Tragic Hero

  • Noble

  • Has a tragic flaw (overthinks things)


  • When Hamlet hesitated to kill Claudius (YEAH ERIC!) or when Hamlet I defeats Fortinbras I

  • both Oedipus and Hamlet experience hubris


  • Hamlet killing Polonius or Hamlet acting crazy

  • Just like in Oedipus, there is more than one peripeteia


  • Act 5 Scene 2 Line 4, or when Hamlet realizes the consequences of killing Polonius

Reversal of Fortune

  • Hamlet’s killing of Polonius

  • In Oedipus, the reversal was an act of curiosity. In Hamlet, it was an act of violence


  • After everybody dies


HW: Group project due tomorrow

Typed, cite examples from the text (quotes)

2 paragraphs + the answers to your questions
Arnold Canell Prize In English
Two pages, double spaced—A book that has influenced you in a significant way.


Do Now: Sit with your group

What are the advantages and disadvantages of looking at something through the following lenses:

A magnifying glass

See detail

Limits scope

Magnifies flaws

Traps light

Also obscures vision

Limit color vision

Other people can’t see your eyes

Sunglasses tan
A telescope

See far
limit scope

Limits close vision

Lack of detail

Go blind

Backwards—things are small

A microscope

Small things/microscopic

Specialized knowledge

Prepare specimen
Limit scope

Critical lens—looking at a text from a specific POV


HW: Study for the midyear

Do Now: Prepare for presentations
Aim: IWW can literary criticism inform our reading of Hamlet?
Literature=subconscious thoughts of author

Psychoanalyze characters

Method is influenced by Freud
Hamlet represses hi thoughts of betrayal –Claudius, Gertrude
Murderous desires
Repressed oedipal complex – Hamlet unconscious desire for Gertrude

Symbols daggers, bedchamber

Upset about what happened to Gertrude/how she changed
Claudius’ regret/remorse

Hamlet’s change towards Ophelia

Ghost =symbol fear or unresolved conflicts after death
Yorick’s skull=death, equality in death
Shakespeare might manifest his own oedipal complex
Shakespeare writing about his own son
Shakespeare’s dealing with his own feelings about death
Try to fit Hamlet into stereotypical reading
Readers are denial

Play supports a patriarchal POV

Two women are isolated

Had they worked together they could improve their situation

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