Archive for the ‘Drama’ Category

all the worlds a stageThe advent of feminism and psychoanalytic criticism in the 20th century has forever influenced the way we look at Hamlet; therefore, we’ll be looking at the women of Hamlet through these lenses and discussing the interpretation many directors have placed on the play as a result.


Hit more to see the handout and links to the videos.



image from

Part of your Hamlet project will require writing a script for your video (written portion due October fourth).  So how do you do that?

Probably the easiest thing to do is to use a screenplay template in your word processing program or Google Doc to help with formatting.

Additionally, scriptologist has a great overview of how to format a screenplay.

Writers Store has a an annotated visual you can use to see how it all plays out.  And both BBC and have nice instructional examples.  More on how to format a script after the page break:


insantiyAs we begin reading Hamlet, I thought I’d highlight just a few of the numerous resources on the play:

Chop Bard is an entertaining podcast (well, at least to lit nerds like me) that you can listen to online or download as a podcast.    I highly recommend this resource!  Each episode takes you through what a good reader would do as she annotated the text and incorporates lots of research.

Another great audio source is  Librivox has hundreds of open source titles available as audiobooks for free.  The readings are by volunteers, so some are better than others.  The three versions of Hamlet they offer aren’t the greatest recordings I’ve found on Librivox (Elizabeth Klett’s Pride and Prejudice, Jane Eyre, and Turn of the Screw are fantastic), but they might be helpful.

Click through the page break for more:


Having trouble figuring out the meter and sound stuff we’ve been doing in class?

1. Don’t worry, you won’t have to perform scansion on a test or quiz.  I just want you to have some experience with it and see just how much great poets put into their work — how  everything in a great work contributes to meaning.

2. There’s a pretty helpful survey of meter, rhythm, and prosody in the introduction to chapter 12 of Perrine’s Literature: Structure, Sound, and Sense (the blue and red textbook we’ve been using in class) and I found a nifty outline of said intro here.

Aaaaaand, if you want to “go hard on that tetrameter” like M.C. Lars, the sound notes from class are chillin’ back here.: sound devices 2018

Thanks to Carl Runyon of Owensboro Community College, notes from Perrine’s Literature: Structure, Sound, and Sense can be found after the break . . .

“thus conscience does make cowards of us all” (III.i.91)

In class we’ve been talking about sound devices 2018 that you need to apply on the assignment Song annotation and translating early modern English which needs to be done in your notebook by 9/17.  There will be a sound device quiz on Sep. 12th, too.  On Tuesday, September 11th we’ll annotate Hamlet’s first soliloquy in class AP English 12 Hamlet Act I Soliloquy Assignment  which should also be kept in your notebook.  (Check yourself: Act I Soliloquy scansion for correct scansion).

The source play for Hamlet was originally a revenge tragedy in which the son (Hamlet, Jr.) had to avenge his murdered father, but the challenge in getting to the king was this big ol’ bodyguard.  Shakespeare replaced the character of the bodyguard with a much more effective form of a bodyguard: conscience.  So why is this important?  It establishes the play as one focused more on contemplating human psychology than one focused on plot and action.  In fact, it’s often seen as a play of inaction.  Knowing this should help us identify some of the subjects and motifs of the play, such as:

  • The relationship between thought and action
    • Appearance vs. reality — spying and deception — Mirrors / glass / reflection / foils 
  • Corruption — gardens / weeds / rot / poison / misogyny
    • Incest . . . talk about “things rank and gross in nature” (legal incest, not literal . . . remember, they had very different ideas about biology)
  • The nature of our existence and of death — religion / cosmos / fate
  • Madness (true or feigned)
  • Duty: personal vs. moral vs. national . . . and, of course, the ethics of revenge

    things rank and gross posses it merely


Secondly, if you think about the historical context of the play, there’s some really interesting stuff going on.  We (well, we the audience, so England) have a female monarch, we just finished bloody conflicts over Catholicism vs.  Protestantism (Thanks a lot Henry VIII! :)) and sticking with Catholic iconography and practice at the time the play was performed could have dire consequences.

In the 100 years prior to Shakespeare’s Hamlet, (a blink of an eye in history) we’ve realized the Earth revolves around the sun, the Earth is round, the Earth is twice the size we thought, and then there’s Luther posting his 95 Theses on the door of  . . . wait for it . . .  wait for it . . . WITTENBERG Castle Church! (Wait, isn’t Wittenberg where Hamlet goes to college?  Yep, nailed it!  #sopunny #onebusycentury).