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Agenda Appearance vs. Reality – theme in Hamlet

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1 Agenda Appearance vs. Reality – theme in Hamlet
Go over discussion questions for Act 1 Homework: Study for Unit 6 exam Due Wednesday: A Man for All Ages worksheet (side 1) Decoding Hamlet (Act 1) Discussion questions *these are up on SharePoint if you lost yours*

2 One of the many themes in Hamlet …
Appearance vs. Reality But Hamlet takes it a step further. He not only investigates other people, he also peers into his own soul and asks philosophical and religious questions about life and death. Hamlet’s obsession with what’s real has three main effects: 1) he becomes so caught up in the search for reality that he ceases to be able to act; 2) in order to prove what’s real and what isn’t Hamlet himself must hide his “reality” behind an “appearance” of madness; 3) the more closely Hamlet looks, the less real and coherent everything seems to be. Many analyses of Hamlet focus only on the first effect, Hamlet’s indecisiveness. But the second two effects are just as important. The second shows that the relationship between appearance and reality is indistinct. The third suggests that the world is founded on fundamental inconsistencies that most people overlook, and that it is this failure to recognize inconsistencies that allows them to act. Hamlet’s fatal flaw isn’t that he’s wrong to see uncertainty in everything, but that he’s right. This also ties in to the first line of the play, “Who’s there?” what version, real or fake, of each character is being portrayed. Don’t know people’s real intentions.

3 Think of ways in which appearance does not match reality in society today
Tiger Woods Wholesome image, in reality he was not the person the public thought he was Online dating Profile pictures Mr. & Mrs. Smith Your average looking couple – but really are spies

4 Appearance vs. Reality Get into partners, or groups of 3
One handout per group (on desk) Many of the characters say and do things outwardly that do match their true intentions. Write down one example from each of the five scenes where you feel that appearance does not match reality. Please cite lines from the play You have about 10 minutes to work on this, then we will come back together as a class and go over some important lines from Act 1

5 Characters in Hamlet Gertrude Polonius Hamlet Claudius Appearance
Reality Gertrude Upset about her husband’s death, just like Hamlet is Polonius Gives loving advice to his children Hamlet Depressed Love for Ophelia Claudius Sad about the death of King Hamlet Happy to have Hamlet back in Denmark Quickly remarries Tells Hamlet to stop grieving “To thine own self be true” is conflicting He really is depressed In love, according to Ophelia Takes the crown and marries Gertrude Is he being genuine? In Act 1, scene 2 of Hamlet, Gertrude asks why Hamlet is still in mourning two months after his father died: “Why seems it so particular with thee?” Hamlet responds: “Seems, madam? Nay, it is, I know not ‘seems.’” ( ). The difference between “seems” (appearance) and “is” (reality) is crucial in Hamlet. Every character is constantly trying to figure out what the other characters think, as opposed to what those characters are pretending to think. The characters try to figure each      One character who enables us to examine the theme of appearance versus reality is Claudius, the new King of Denmark. In Act One, Scene Two Claudius acts as though he really cares for his brother and grieves over the elder Hamlet's death. This is shown in his first speech addressed to his court, "and that it us befitted/To bear our hearts in grief, and our whole kingdom/To be contracted in one brow of woe" (Shakespeare I22-4).  It is shown further on in the same speech when he says, "our late dear brother's death" (Shakespeare I219).  However, this is not how Claudius truly feels about his brothers death, for Claudius is the one who murders elder Hamlet.  We see the proof of this in Claudius' soliloquy when he appears to be praying; "O, my offence is rank, it smells to heaven./It hath the primal eldest curse upon't/A brother's murder" (Shakespeare III336-38). Polonius, the trusted councillor to the king, appears to be a good man, and a trusting and caring father, to both Laertes and Ophelia. To Laertes upon his preparation to leave for college, Polonius gives his blessing: To thine own self be true, And it must follow as the night the day Thogh canst not the false to any man. Farewell, my blessing season this in thee. (Shakespeare, Hamlet, Act I, sc III, lines 78-81). However, once Laertes has left, Polonius sends Reynaldo to spy on his son, because he does not trust him, despite his prior blessing. To Ophelia, he says he wants her to break off her relationship with Hamlet. He says he is worried for her, and that he does not trust the prince, when he is, in reality, using the lost love of Hamlet, and the resulting madness, as a way to get onto good terms with, and become an ally of sorts with King Claudius. He was not concerned with his daughter's emotions, or his son's privacy. While he appeared to be honorable, he was a sneaky, manipulative man.

6 Act 1, scene 2 Use of puns Hamlet’s first soliloquy (1.2.133)
“A little more than kin and less than kind” (1.2.67) Hamlet’s first line of the play “I am too much in the sun” (1.2.69) Hamlet’s first soliloquy ( ) What lines discuss suicide? How does he feel about the world? What are the causes of his pain? How does Claudius compare to his father? In what lines do you see misogyny (dislike, hatred, or distrust of women)? Soliloquy: A kind of internal debate spoken by a character who is alone on stage (or thinks he/she is alone) Reveals the character’s true thoughts and feelings - Hamlet speaks his first soliloquy after the being asked by his mother and stepfather not to return to school in Wittenberg, but to remain in Demark – seemingly against his wishes. - Hamlet thinks about suicide for the first time (wanting his flesh to “melt” and wishing that God had not made “self-slaughter” a sin, saying the world is “weary, stale, flat and unprofitable” -suicide seems better than living in a painful world - but it goes against religion It’s like a garden that no one’s taking care of, and that’s growing wild. Only nasty weeds grow in it now. Causes of his pain: intense disgust at his mother’s marriage to Claudius - they got married too quickly, less than 2 months after his dad’s death - his shoes that he wore to his father’s funeral were not worn out by the time they married Compares Claudius to his father (his father was “so excellent a king” while Claudius is a bestial “satyr” - misogyny: “Frailty, they name is woman”, incest – commenting that his mother moved “with such dexterity to incestuous sheets” and the bad omen the marriage represents for Denmark “it is not nor it cannot come to good”

7 Act 1, scene 3 “To thine own self be true” (1.3.85)
Polonius gives very different advice to children How does his advice to Ophelia contract his advice (quote above) to Laertes?

8 Anthesis Identify examples of antithesis in Claudius’ speech ( ) Explain what emotions and/or conflicts these lines convey to the audience. The description of the Ghost ( )

9 Homework: Due Wednesday: Study for Unit 6 exam
A Man for All Ages worksheet (side 1) Decoding Hamlet (Act 1) Discussion questions

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