The Tragedy of Hamlet

Essential Questions

  • What is our responsibility to ourselves, our parents, and society?
  • Where is the line between sanity and madness?
  • What causes us act? What causes us to delay or be inert?
  • What is the nature of revenge? What is the nature of justice? Are they the same thing?
  • How does corruption infect the individual and society? How do we rid ourselves of corruption?

Mon 3/12
Submit drafts of sites for Lit Circle books

To Be OR Not To Be

Introduction to the Play with scene cards

  • What does the line mean?
  • How can you make the words mean something more by how I use my voice and body?
    • Rules of the Game:
      • Only use the words on the card
      • Must add gestures and movement
      • May add props, costumes, chairs, etc.
  • Find a partner and create a scene with just the two lines and perform

Closing Questions:

  • What are some of the inferences we can make about the play based on these lines?
  • Do we see any patterns?

HW: Reading excerpt from Aristotle’s Poetics Due Wednesday snow day or no snow day </strong.

  • Main Ideas
  • Key terms
  • Confusing Information

Tues 3/13
Aristotle’s Poetics

  • What does this mean for the reading of Hamlet?

Reading full 1.1 and 1.2 with notes on Hamlet vs. Claudius and Hamlet’s mental state

  • How does Claudius’s language in his speech reveal character?
  • In the lines between Claudius and Hamlet (1.2.66-96), what is each character’s subtext to their lines?

Wed 3/14
Snow day

Thurs 3/15
Viewing 1.1 & 1.2

Close reading of Claudius’s opening speech and their exchange

  • Acting out the exchange between Claudius & Gertrude and Hamlet
  • Hamlet’s soliloquy

HW: Reading 1.3-1.5

Fri 3/16
Reviewing the first act

  • Family relationships between Polonius, Laeretes, and Ophelia
  • What can we infer from Polonious’s choice of words and the sentence structure of “but” in lines 60-87 (44-45)
  • Understanding the ghost
  • What is significant about Hamlet’s speech after his encounter with the ghost?

Mon 3/19
Reading and annotating the introduction of Hamlet for lines of inquiry

HW:  Journal #1 on google classroom

Tues 3/20

Wed 3/20

Thurs 3/21
2.1 In class

  • Playing what isn’t seen in lines 2.1.84-134
  • One student read and the others mime the actions described
  • What does the scene demand of Hamlet?


  • What is Hamlet up to in this scene?
  • Why is he treating Ophelia this way?
  • Why Ophelia of all people?
  • Does he love her?  If not, how does he show this?  If Yes, what possible reasons could he have for putting on this show for her?  What are you basing this on from the play so far?
  • Does Ophelia love Hamlet?  What is her reaction?  What is the support for her feelings?

HW:  2.2

Fri 3/22

Working with Act 2 Scene 2

  • Hamlet’s 2nd soliloquy

HW: Journal #2

Mon 3/26

Reading Act 3 Scenes 1 & 2

HW:  Reading Act 3 Scenes 3 & 4

Tues 3/27

The famous soliloquy

Revising the Hamlet’s famous soliloquy

  • What purpose does a soliloquy serve?
  • What happens in a soliloquy (usually)?

Hamlet and Ophelia’s exchange

  • Hamlet knows from the beginning of the scene that Polonius and Claudius are watching him
  • Hamlet does not know until later in the scene.  When do you think this happens based on the text?
  • Hamlet never knows he’s being watched
    • What is his objective?
    • What specific gestures, inflections, movements, or pauses should the actor use to support this objective?
    • How does the objective inform the subtext?

Converting the soliloquy into an argument

  • Two students read
  • Two groups read using pitch, tone, inflection, and stress to emphasize the meaning of words and lines reading in unison (practice & reading)

Adrian Lester

David Tennant

Benedict Cumberbatch

Laurence Olivier

HW:  Soliloquy assignment

Wed 3/28

Thurs 3/29
Work day for the soliloquy assignment

  • Submit by end of period

HW:  Revise the Critical Lens site for Tuesday’s class

Mon 4/2

Tues 4/3
Reviewing Scenes

Reading 3.3 – 3.4

  • What is Hamlet’s state going into this scene?
  • What position is Gertrude now in?

HW:  Journal 3

Wed 4/4
Reading Act 4

HW: Finish reading Act 4

Thurs 4/5
Act 4 & Cutting Lines with your group

Comparing Ophelia’s

  • How does Ophelia’s madness compare to Hamlet’s?
    • Olivier (1.42.58)
    • Tennant (2.13.48)

HW:  Enjoy the break!

Mon 4/16
Writing the journal entry for Act 4

Tues 4/17
Reading Act 5 Scene 1 and answering questions

HW: Act 5 Scene 2 and questions on classroom

Wed 4/18
RSC Hamlet (2.35.25-2.47.37)

HW:  Read Act 5.2

Thurs 4/19
Reading journal for Act 5

HW:  Review Aristotle’s Poetics

Fri 4/20 

Mon 4/23
In class reading of criticism

HW:  Final journal entry on Hamlet criticism.  Complete journal due Monday at beginning of class

Tues 4/24
In class essay – Passage Response

Wed 2/25
In class essay – Open Response using Hamlet

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