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Hamlet, Prince of Denmark


Hamlet, Prince of Denmark Act I, scene i What time is it? Where are we? What s the weather like? Who do we meet in this scene and what is their status? – PowerPoint PPT presentation

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Title: Hamlet, Prince of Denmark

Hamlet, Prince of Denmark
Act I, scene i
  1. What time is it? Where are we? Whats the
    weather like?
  2. Who do we meet in this scene and what is their
  3. Write down any descriptions of Denmark
  4. What does Horatio tell us about Fortinbras?
  5. What effect does the ghost have on the
    characters? On the audience?

Start identifying patterns/motifs
  • Motif recurring imagery and/or symbolism, a
    recurrent thematic element
  • Rottenness, decay, sickness
  • Perception vs. Reality It was like the king
  • Playacting, theatre, pretending to be someone
    youre not
  • Cosmetics
  • Ears
  • Following
  • Memory

Foil definition
  • One that by contrast underscores or enhances the
    distinctive characteristics of another a
    character whose qualities or actions serve to
    emphasize those of the protagonist (or of some
    other character) by providing a strong contrast
    with them.

The Origins of Hamlet
  • The Ur-Hamlet 1560
  • Political Drama, not same character names,
    clearly different lines of dialogue
  • King usurped by brother
  • Shakespeares Hamlet less political, more

The Soliloquies
  • Soliloquy a character alone on stage expressing
    his/her innermost thoughts and feelings directly
    to the audience.
  • The soliloquies are as deep as the soul of man
    can goand as sincere as the Holy Spirit itself
    in their essence.
  • Each represent the stages of Hamlets
    psychological progress. Exploration of

  • Horatio is omnipresent.
  • We are Horatio.
  • Hamlets perpetual audience.
  • Without Horatio, we are too distanced from the
    bewildering Hamlet for Shakespeare to work his
    guile upon us.

  • The first truly modern man
  • What is Hamlets tragedy?
  • The tragedy of a man ___________.

Something is rotten in the state of Denmark
  • Throughout the play, the ongoing border disputes
    and political machinations amongst Denmark,
    Norway, and Poland serve as a backdrop for the
    action in the Danish court (I.ii II.ii IV.iv
    V.ii). Prince Fortinbras, whose father was killed
    by Hamlets father, is a man of action, and his
    character serves as a foil to the contemplative
    Prince Hamlet.

Something is rotten in the state of Denmark
  • Most of the action of play occurs in and around
    the castle at Elsinore in Denmark. King Hamlet is
    dead, and Prince Hamlet has returned to Denmark
    from school in Wittenberg, Germany, only to
    discover that Queen Gertrude, his mother, has
    married his Uncle Claudius. Claudius has had
    himself crowned king.

Something is rotten in the state of Denmark
  • Hamlet is informed that what is apparently the
    ghost of his dead father has appeared to the
    palace guards (I, ii). When he later confronts
    the ghost, Hamlet learns that Claudius murdered
    his father and hastily married Queen Gertrude (I,

Something is rotten in the state of Denmark
  • Polonius (Lord Chamberlain), his son Laertes and
    daughter Ophelia are also important characters in
    this drama. Polonius and Laertes are concerned
    about Ophelias romantic involvement with Prince
    Hamlet and caution her against such a
    relationship. Polonius also provides fatherly
    advice to Laertes as he leaves for Paris (I, iii).

3 - Soliloquies / Monologues
  • I.ii.133 O that this too too sullied flesh
    Davis, Hennessey, Hogan
  • II.ii.316-334 I will tell you why (m) Gomes,
    Ozuna, Weingarten
  • II.ii.485 O what a rogue - Thompson, Rebboah,
  • III.i.64 To be or not to be - Karr, Reed,
    Carnesecca, Jones
  • III.ii.1-47 Speak the speech (m) - Americano,
    Cognetta, Pahl
  • III.iii.78 Now might I do it -Ng, Self,
  • III.iv.63-98 Look here (m) - McFeeley,
    Wedekind, Miller
  • IV.iv.34 How all occasions - Antes,
    Jorgensen, Fontanilla,

Soliloquies / Monologues Branagh film time codes
  • I.ii.133 O that this too too sullied flesh -
  • II.ii.316-334 I will tell you why (m) -
  • II.ii.485 O what a rogue - 12640
  • III.i.64 To be or not to be - 13330
  • III.ii.1-47 Speak the speech (m) 144
  • III.iii.78 Now might I do it - 209
  • III.iv.63-98 Look here (m) - 214
  • IV.iv.34 How all occasions - 235

3 - Soliloquies / Monologues
  1. I.ii.133 O that this too too sullied flesh
    Charron, Chun, Pace
  2. II.ii.485 O what a rogue - Carlsson, Meceda,
  3. III.i.64 To be or not to be - Castillo,
    Hidde, Suppes, Mattu
  4. III.ii.1-47 Speak the speech (m)- Castillo,
    Musci, Taliaferro
  5. III.iii.78 Now might I do it - Pham,
    Puhalrajan, Yin
  6. III.iv.63-98 Look here (m) - Chavez,
    Fontanilla, Paradis
  7. IV.iv.34 How all occasions - Glucksman,
    Karnik, Yadegar

Soliloquies / Monologues
  • Analyze the imagery, structure, word choices and
    rhetorical devices. How does Shakespeare write
    it? Divide up the speech beat by beat.
  • How does this speech relate to a theme of the
  • Why does Shakespeare include this speech?
  • What can we learn about ourselves/humanity?
  • Perform speech in your own wordsbe creative!

  • Hamlet consigns Ophelia to a life of pious
  • Yet, in effect, he is murdering Ophelia, and
    starting her on the path to suicide.
  • Hamlets lack of sympathy shown here (and in
    Poloniuss murder, and his killing of RG).
  • Hamlet is violent with them, especially
    OpheliaHamlets failure to love? He does not
    want or need lovelonely life.

the plays the thing
  • It is a play about playing, about acting out
    rather than avenging.
  • Notice how many references there are to acting,
    actors, plays, theatre, pretending to be someone
    else, tricksters deceit, plays within plays,
  • No other drama is so overtly audience-aware.
  • Shakespeare himself played the Ghost and the
    Player King
  • Hamlet practically raised until the age of 7 by
    Yorick (V.i.185-189), the royal trickster (hence
    great wit, very theatrical)

To be, or not to be (III.i.56)
  • Not merely a meditation seriously contemplating
  • The question is, what is the power of Hamlets
    mind over a universe of death, or a sea of
  • The sea of death must end consciousness
  • Consciousness (or being) is given the choice
  • Suffer stoically, or
  • Take arms against the sea, and thus end sooner.
  • 2 grand metaphors
  • The shuffled-off mortal coil (everything we shall
  • The undiscovered country (the land of death from
    which no traveler returnsexcept for King Hamlet)
  • Thus, its about Hamlets will. He cant will
    himself to action, but perhaps the true nature of
    action is in the mind.

The Grave-digger
  • One of the great clowns (drunken Porter from
    Macbeth, Cleopatras asp salesman)
  • The Gravedigger is the reality principle,
    mortality, while Hamlet is deaths scholar.

  • A meditation upon human fragility in
    confrontation with death (Bloom 3)
  • Central question How did Hamlet develop into so
    extraordinarily ambivalent a consciousness?

  • What is Shakespeares message?
  • A meditation on death and how we react to the
  • When playing becomes deceit, the theatricality
    of life, and how theatre holds the mirror up to
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