Hamlet Research Lesson Plan
To have students read Hamlet and process it by responding creatively to each of the acts by:
1. Creating a summarizing work of art for each act
2. Creating a final summarizing work for the whole play.
3. Compile the works of the entire class and present it in a local or school art gallery for the viewing of others.
- Hamlet: The play
- Artistic mediums of any kind
- Film Productions of Hamlet
There are about 32,065 words in the masterpiece Hamlet. The play itself is meant to be seen visually, usually as a play production, it was not meant to be just read. It has been said that a picture is worth a thousand words and so students will represent the words of the play Hamlet, visually as it was meant to be presented. However their visual representation will not be a moving living play, but a snapshot of time, or summarizing picture that truly captures a thousand words of the theme and content found in this wonderfully written play.
Hamlet is a tragedy. What is a tragedy?
- Dramatic composition, often in verse, dealing with a seriousor somber theme, typically that of a great person destinedthrough a flaw of character or conflict with some over powering force, as fate or society, to downfall or destruction.
- Hamlet is more than just a tragedy, it is a revenge tragedy which usually had some things that went along with it in Elizabethan times; Melancholy hero / avenger, a villain, complex plot, murder, play within a play, madness (real or fake).
There are many themes of death and revenge in Hamlet:
- Hamlet vows to avenge his father’s death at the hands of Claudius.
- Laertes vows to avenge his father’s (Polonius) death at the hands of
- Young Fortinbras vows to avenge his father’s death at the hands of Old King Hamlet.
- Pyrrhus kills Priam, whose son killed his (Pyrrhus’) father [from the play
- within the play scene.
When and where does the play take place?
- In Denmark on the verge of a war about 1200 A.D. although the characters do reference things from Shakespeare’s day.
Reading the Play
- Have the students read the play act by act. As they do so discuss themes with them that they discover through the reading process. Help them in their discussions see the themes found in the five lesson plans that follow afterward as well as come up with themes of their own.
- As you use the five lessons plans that follow to cover the material of the play and specific themes take a few moments in each class to talk about the themes students discover through the reading process.
- Encourage critical thinking and discussion between students about the play and also how they can represent discovered themes or motifs that stand out in a visual form.
- If there is time in class have the students separate after their discussions and work on the ideas they have been developing one with another
Students will be graded on their understanding of the play by their ability to support the themes they found, along with the support and connections they can draw from their created works of art.