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Where does one begin to discuss one of Shakespeare's most famous plays?  The entry in Wikipedia provides this background to the play:


"The Tragedy of Hamlet, Prince of Denmark, or more simply Hamlet, is a tragedy by William Shakespeare, believed to have been written between 1599 and 1601. The play, set in Denmark recounts how Prince Hamlet exacts revenge on his uncle Claudius, who has murdered Hamlet's father, the King, and then taken the throne and married Gertrude, Hamlet's mother. The play vividly charts the course of real and feigned madness—from overwhelming grief to seething rage—and explores themes of treachery, revenge, incest, and moral corruption."


Our viewing of the play is going to look at a few themes:  how family is represented in the play, whether or not Hamlet's character accurately represents a teenager, how the story is impacted by the medium (e.g. film, book, graphic novel, audio version) used to tell it, and where does the truth lie in the story.


We should begin by reading and viewing Hamlet before we explore some of those themes.  When you are working through the five acts, take note of

(i) the family members' relationships with one another and the gender roles and steerotypes attached to them. 

(ii) the behaviour of Hamlet and Ophelia (and perhaps their relationship as well).  Are they realistic teen figures? Do you think Hamlet is pretending to be mad, really mad, or just being difficult?

(iii) how the different versions of the story impact on how we understand or relate to the characters.

When possible, record the evidence (noting the page, scene, or line)..


Reading Act One

Click here for summary of Act One

Read Act One from the No Fear Shakespeare Hamlet Graphic Novel.



Reading Act Two

Click here for summary of Act Two

Read Act Two from the original text version of the play.  Click the icon below for an electornic version of Hamlet with parallel texts.


Viewing Act Three 

Click here for summary of Act Three

Watch Act Three (from the 1996 film version of Hamlet (starring Kenneth Brannagh)

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Listening to Act Four

Click here for summary of Act Four

Click on the picture to listen to Richard Burton and company's performance of Act Four.


Viewing Act Five

Click here for summary of Act Five

Watch Act Five (from the 1996 film version of Hamlet (starring Kenneth Brannagh)

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Understanding the Form

Inside Hamlet


Back to Telling the Story... 


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