Hamlet: Themes and Lessons
Provides teachers with extensive information about Hamlet, including historical and theatrical context, character breakdowns, the concept of parallelism and opposition in the play, a look at humors and melancholy, and the theme of madness in the play. Scansion workshop and scene breakdowns help bring the text alive. YouTube research assists in the creation of classroom playlists for comparison purposes. A multimedia project focused on revenge is presented as a possible student activity.
Attendees receive resources, reproducible handouts and three lesson plans (scansion for acting clues, humors and melancholy, and Shakespeare’s flexible [and forward-looking] use of madness in the play).
[note: requires space enough for at least 10 attendees to be used as examples for the audience]
Hamlet: Intro, Sources, Themes, and Preview
Provides students with an extensive (and, thus, spoiler-filled) introduction to Hamlet, including discussions of historical context and sources, characters and themes. A breakdown of the provided Plot Map handout follows and ties together the concepts presented.
Hamlet: Scene Study (speech, scansion, and meaning)
After a brief introduction to blank verse, students are guided through a close reading of the “To be or not to be” speech in Hamlet, with special attention paid to rhetoric and vocabulary, as well as how character and action are revealed within the poetic line.
[note: requires space for up to 5 participants to perform]
Hamlet: “Madness, Humor(s), and Melancholy”
Give your students a break from the typical read-through of the play with this presentation that takes a close look at the motifs of madness and melancholy, and how these relate to the Elizabethan belief in concept of bodily humors in Hamlet. A breakdown of the provided infographic handout follows and ties together the concepts presented.
[note: this presentation is filled with spoilers!]
Hamlet: Review, Discussion and Q&A
A great way to end the unit of study on Hamlet, this review of the play includes Socratic discussions of the themes of revenge, madness, and self-doubt, with textual evidence cited for the concepts. The session ends with a Q&A and “stump Bill” segment.