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Understanding Play Structure &Hamlet

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1 Understanding Play Structure &Hamlet
Week2 段馨君 副教授 國立交通大學 人文社會學系

2 Play Structure Virtually all plays are divided into what has come to be called three-act structure. Act 1 : exposition having a lot of introductory element Act 2 : complication usually be the darkest with the antagonists having a greater encompass Act 3 : resolution the resolution and the protagonists prevailing

3 Act 1 Plays don't begin at the beginning.
Begin at a point just before the primary conflict erupts out of the story. Point of Attack-first thing the audience will see or hear as the play begins. High point- Act I has been heading for from the moment the Inciting Incident has been introduced earlier. The Inciting Incident- introduces the major conflict of the play.

4 Act 2 Climax Peak of conflict and tension
Usually has to start at a lower level of conflict than the end of Act I.

5 Act 3 This is the final summing up of the Consequences of the events that triggered the Conflict and the play. The Resolution is the last image audiences carry away as they leave the theatre.

6 Five-act play Until the 18th century, most plays were divided into five acts Act 1 : Exposition Act 2 : Complications Act 3 : The Climax of Action Act 4 : Falling Action Act 5 : Denouement

7 Five-act play Act 1 : Exposition Act 2 : Complications
time and place are established. We learn about the antecedents of the story. Act 2 : Complications The course of action becomes more complicated, the "tying of knots" takes place. Interests clash, intrigues are spawned, events accelerate in a definite direction. Tension mounts, and momentum builds up. Act 3 : The Climax of Action The development of conflict reaches its high point, the Hero stands at the crossroads, leading to victory or defeat, crashing or soaring. Act 4 : Falling Action Reversals. The consequences of Act 3 play out, momentum slows, and tension is heightened by false hopes/fears. If it's a tragedy, it looks like the Hero can be saved. If not, then it looks like all may be lost. Act 5 : Denouement The conflict is resolved, whether through a catastrophe, the downfall of the hero, or through his victory and transfiguration.

8 Hamlet

9 About Hamlet Full title · The Tragedy of Hamlet, Prince of Denmark
Author  · William Shakespeare Genre  · Tragedy, revenge tragedy Setting time  · The late medieval period, though the play’s chronological setting is notoriously imprecise Settings place  · Denmark Tone  · Dark, ironic, melancholy, passionate, contemplative, desperate, violent

10 Background Tragedy by William Shakespeare, believed to have been written between 1599 and 1601.

11 Background Shakespeare's Hamlet was a remake of an already popular play, based in turn on an episode from the Dark Ages, the lawless, might-makes-right era that followed the collapse of Roman-era civilization.

12 Background Hamlet is Shakespeare's longest play and among the most powerful and influential tragedies in the English language. During Shakespeare's lifetime, the play was one of his most popular works.

13 Character Hamlet Prince of Denmark, son of Queen Gertrude and the late King Hamlet. He is believed to be mad following the death of his father.

14 Character Mother of Prince Hamlet, widow of King Hamlet. King Claudius
Brother of the late King Hamlet.  He murdered his brother in order to gain his throne.  Queen Gertrude Mother of Prince Hamlet, widow of King Hamlet. 

15 Character Polonius Father of Laertes and Ophelia.  Advisor to King Claudius. He believes that Hamlet's madness is caused by his love for Ophelia which he has ordered her not to requite. 

16 Character Ophelia Daughter of Polonius and love interest of Hamlet.  When Hamlet rejects her and eventually kills her father, Ophelia goes mad. 

17 Character Laertes Son of Polonius and brother of Ophelia.  He is sent to France but returns seeking vengeance after the murder of his father.

18 Character Horatio Friend and confidant of Hamlet. Hamlet shares with Horatio all of his experiences and misgivings in the situation involving his father.

19 Plot rising action  · The ghost appears to Hamlet and tells Hamlet to revenge his murder; Hamlet feigns madness to his intentions; Hamlet stages the mousetrap play; Hamlet passes up the opportunity to kill Claudius while he is praying.

20 Plot climax  · When Hamlet stabs Polonius through the arras in Act III, he commits himself to overtly violent action and brings himself into unavoidable conflict with the king. Another possible climax comes at the end of Act IV, when Hamlet resolves to commit himself fully to violent revenge.

21 Plot falling action  · Hamlet is sent to England to be killed; Hamlet returns to Denmark and confronts Laertes at Ophelia’s funeral; the fencing match; the deaths of the royal family.

22 Film-DVD Director: Laurence Olivier Leading actor: Laurence Olivier
Year: 1948 Showing Part: the dead king From 28:41 to 39:00

23 Film-DVD Director: Kevin Kline Leading actor: Kevin Kline, Dana Ivey
Year: 1990 Showing Part: Polonius tests Hamlet From 43:55 to 47:20

24 Film-DVD Director: Laurence Olivier Leading actor: Laurence Olivier
Year: 1948 Showing Part: Ophelia and Hamlet From 53:45 to 59:22

25 Film-DVD Director: Michael Almereyda
Leading actor: Ethan Hawke, Julia Stiles Year: 2000 Showing Part: Hamlet in Blockbuster, searching for DVD From 40:10 to 42:33

26 Film-DVD Director: Michael Almereyda
Leading actor: Ethan Hawke, Julia Stiles Year: 2000 Showing Part: Hamlet tests his uncle in the movie theater From 52:30 to 57:37

27 Film-clip Director: Richard Schechner Leading actor: George Hannah
Year: 2000 Showing Part: The fight of Hamlet and Laertes From 02:18:00 to end

28 Major Conflict Hamlet feels a responsibility to avenge his father’s murder by his uncle Claudius, but Claudius is now the king and thus well protected. Moreover, Hamlet struggles with his doubts about whether he can trust the ghost and whether killing Claudius is the appropriate thing to do.

29 Hamlet’s role in revenge
one of Hamlet’s flaws is that he took revenge into his own hands and not resort to law. However, in Shakespeare’s time, Hamlet, the son of a murdered father, and more importantly, the son of an usurped king, was not only the legitimate revenger, it was his duty to take revenge and restore order to Denmark.

30 why doesn't Hamlet kill the King when he is praying?
The King's praying, so he'll just go to Heaven if Hamlet kills him now. Hamlet can never make up his mind about anything. Hamlet thinks too much. He's a wimp.

31 Themes The impossibility of certainty the complexity of action
the mystery of death the nation as a diseased body

32 Motifs Incest and incestuous desire ears and hearing death and suicide
darkness and the supernatural misogyny

33 Symbols The ghost Yorick’s skull the spiritual consequences of death
the physical consequences of death

34 Many Hamlet Laurence Olivier Mel Gibson, with Glenn Close as Gertrude
Richard Burton Kenneth Branagh

35 Many Hamlet Campbell Scott Ethan Hawke, with Julia Stiles as Ophelia
Kevin Kline, with Dana Ivey as Gertrude Ethan Hawke as Hamlet

36 Reference Play structure
Hamlet Analysis

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