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Hamlet, Prince of Denmark. Act I, scene i 1.What time is it? Where are we? What’s the weather like? 2.Who do we meet in this scene and what is their status?

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Presentation on theme: "Hamlet, Prince of Denmark. Act I, scene i 1.What time is it? Where are we? What’s the weather like? 2.Who do we meet in this scene and what is their status?"— Presentation transcript:

1 Hamlet, Prince of Denmark

2 Act I, scene i 1.What time is it? Where are we? What’s the weather like? 2.Who do we meet in this scene and what is their status? 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?

3 Start identifying patterns/motifs Motif = recurring imagery and/or symbolism, a recurrent thematic element 1.Rottenness, decay, sickness 2.Perception vs. Reality: “It was like the king” 3.Playacting, theatre, pretending to be someone you’re not 4.Cosmetics 5.Ears 6.Following 7.Memory

4 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.

5 The Origins of Hamlet The Ur-Hamlet: 1560 Political Drama, not same character names, clearly different lines of dialogue King usurped by brother Shakespeare’s Hamlet: less political, more domestic

6 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 go…and as sincere as the Holy Spirit itself in their essence.” Each represent the stages of Hamlet’s psychological progress. Exploration of conscience.

7 Horatio Horatio is omnipresent. We are Horatio. Hamlet’s perpetual audience. Without Horatio, we are “too distanced from the bewildering Hamlet for Shakespeare to work his guile upon us.”

8 Hamlet The first truly modern man What is Hamlet’s tragedy? –“The tragedy of a man ___________.”

9 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 Hamlet’s father, is a man of action, and his character serves as a foil to the contemplative Prince Hamlet.

10 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.

11 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, v).

12 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 Ophelia’s 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).

13 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, Rousselot 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, Ramirez III.iv.63-98: “Look here …” (m) - McFeeley, Wedekind, Miller IV.iv.34: “How all occasions…” - Antes, Jorgensen, Fontanilla,

14 Soliloquies / Monologues Branagh film time codes I.ii.133: “O that this too too sullied flesh…” - :18:35 II.ii.316-334: “I will tell you why…” (m)- 1:13:00 II.ii.485: “O what a rogue…”- 1:26:40 III.i.64: “To be or not to be…”- 1:33:30 III.ii.1-47: “Speak the speech…” (m) – 1:44 III.iii.78: “Now might I do it…”- 2:09 III.iv.63-98: “Look here …” (m) - 2:14 IV.iv.34: “How all occasions…” - 2:35

15 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, Walke 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

16 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 play? Why does Shakespeare include this speech? What can we learn about ourselves/humanity? Perform speech in your own words…be creative!

17 Nunnery Hamlet consigns Ophelia to a life of pious chastity. Yet, in effect, he is murdering Ophelia, and starting her on the path to suicide. Hamlet’s lack of sympathy shown here (and in Polonius’s murder, and his killing of R&G). Hamlet is violent with them, especially Ophelia…Hamlet’s failure to love? He does not want or need love…lonely life.

18 “the play’s 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, etc. 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)

19 “To be, or not to be…” (III.i.56) Not merely a meditation seriously contemplating suicide. The question is, “what is the power of Hamlet’s mind over a universe of death, or a sea of troubles?” The sea of death must end consciousness (“conscience”). 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 lose) –The undiscovered country (the land of death from which no traveler returns…except for King Hamlet) Thus, it’s about Hamlet’s will. He can’t will himself to action, but perhaps the true nature of action is in the mind.

20 The Grave-digger One of the great clowns (drunken Porter from Macbeth, Cleopatra’s asp salesman) The Gravedigger is the reality principle, mortality, while Hamlet is death’s scholar.

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

22 Themes What is Shakespeare’s message? A meditation on death and how we react to the inevitable When “playing” becomes deceit, the theatricality of life, and how theatre holds the mirror up to ourselves.


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