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Students studying Hamlet?Hi! I'm new here and I'm just wondering if there any of you...

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hippychix | Student, Grade 9 | (Level 1) eNoter

Posted July 2, 2009 at 10:59 AM via web

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Students studying Hamlet?

Hi!

I'm new here and I'm just wondering if there any of you out there who, like me, are studying Hamlet at school at the moment. I'd like to hear what your opinions are. Thanks! :)

11 Answers | Add Yours

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litchick2011 | High School Teacher | (Level 1) Assistant Educator

Posted July 2, 2009 at 12:05 PM (Answer #2)

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It has been years since I have read the play, but I have read it a number of times, so I am certainly up for any questions or discussion ideas you may have!

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sharrons | High School Teacher | (Level 2) Adjunct Educator

Posted July 2, 2009 at 12:54 PM (Answer #3)

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Hamlet is a riveting story about REVENGE with a suspense.  The plot twists and turns like a country road. :)

I taugh AP English IV this semester, and we studied Macbeth; however, I allowed my students to watch the movie Hamlet for a comparison/contrast of a Shakespearian tradgedy.

I can tell you that my students were more enthrolled with Hamlet than Macbeth.  They were almost literally at the edge of their seats, and in spawned a lot of spontaneous conversation and dialogue.

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epollock | (Level 3) Valedictorian

Posted July 2, 2009 at 3:07 PM (Answer #4)

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Hamlet is a somewhat difficult story for most students to contend with. Generally for the most part, since it is his longest play, students tell me that many parts are boring, and some of the language is just too difficult to comprehend even with notes. I tend to stick with shorter plays, unless there is a request for the play in class.

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Susan Hurn | College Teacher | (Level 1) Educator Emeritus

Posted July 2, 2009 at 8:00 PM (Answer #5)

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I always introduced the play by telling my students a story about a young man who goes away to school, leaving his mother and father at home. While he's away at school, he finds out that his father is dead and his mother has suddenly married his father's brother! (By this time, I had their attention.) So he leaves school and goes home immediately. He has barely had time to deal with these blows when he finds out that not only is his father dead, he had been murdered in a really nasty way--by , guess who, his brother. And on top of that, his father had been the king, his mother the queen, and now his uncle is wearing his father's crown and sitting on his throne with Hamlet's mother beside him. Question: So, you're Hamlet. What would you do? And by the way, you are a deeply spiritual person. 

This introduction got everybody interested in the play, and off we would go. The text is difficult, and students can get lost in the subplots, but lots of class discussion and some board notes pulled them through any confusion. Following the unit, I would show Mel Gibson's Hamlet, always a big hit. The visuals made the story real to them. Despite its challenges, Hamlet afforded some great learning opportunities for my students.

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hippychix | Student, Grade 9 | (Level 1) eNoter

Posted July 3, 2009 at 5:27 AM (Answer #6)

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It has been years since I have read the play, but I have read it a number of times, so I am certainly up for any questions or discussion ideas you may have!

Hi, thanks for your post! Do you know where I can get a translation of Hamlet into modern English? I can understand it for the most part but the particularly long chunks of passages (especially in the middle of Act 1- Scene 1) are not really my thing, lol! :)

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Susan Hurn | College Teacher | (Level 1) Educator Emeritus

Posted July 3, 2009 at 7:23 AM (Answer #7)

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hippychix, I'm not #2, but this might help. I'm looking at a parallel text version of Hamlet, Shakespeare on the left page, modern English on the right page. It may be just what you are looking for. It is published by Perfection Learning Corp. of Logan, Iowa, as part of the Shakespeare Parallel Text Series, Third Edition. Copyright 2004. It also includes some excellent supplementary material as well. Perfection Learning  phone number 800-831-4190; fax 800-543-2745.

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hippychix | Student, Grade 9 | (Level 1) eNoter

Posted July 3, 2009 at 11:14 AM (Answer #8)

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hippychix, I'm not #2, but this might help. I'm looking at a parallel text version of Hamlet, Shakespeare on the left page, modern English on the right page. It may be just what you are looking for. It is published by Perfection Learning Corp. of Logan, Iowa, as part of the Shakespeare Parallel Text Series, Third Edition. Copyright 2004. It also includes some excellent supplementary material as well. Perfection Learning  phone number 800-831-4190; fax 800-543-2745.

Hi. Thanks for the post. Well, I searched enotes and I think I've found the page that your reading at the moment. (The url is: http://www.enotes.com/hamlet-text/act-i-scene-i) It's a clever idea, and it definetely helps. Thanks so much! :)

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luannw | High School Teacher | (Level 2) Senior Educator

Posted July 3, 2009 at 5:37 PM (Answer #9)

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"Hamlet" is a play of questions and few answers.  When I teach it, I try to get my students to think about some of the questions and draw their own conclusions based on our interpretation. I've had several students tell me they really enjoyed "Hamlet".  If you are looking for an easily accessible side-by-side translation, you might try the "No Fear Shakespeare" series.  Good luck with your study of my favorite Shakespearean play.

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hippychix | Student, Grade 9 | (Level 1) eNoter

Posted July 4, 2009 at 8:34 AM (Answer #10)

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"Hamlet" is a play of questions and few answers.  When I teach it, I try to get my students to think about some of the questions and draw their own conclusions based on our interpretation. I've had several students tell me they really enjoyed "Hamlet".  If you are looking for an easily accessible side-by-side translation, you might try the "No Fear Shakespeare" series.  Good luck with your study of my favorite Shakespearean play.

From what I've read of it so far it seems to be a good play but also quite ambiguous as you mentioned. Thanks for your tip and help! :)

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Noelle Thompson | High School Teacher | eNotes Employee

Posted July 16, 2009 at 7:59 PM (Answer #11)

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As an enotes contributor, I am ALWAYS reading Hamlet.  (Ha!)  It is one of my absolute favorite Shakespearean plays (and I've read most all of them).  The irony about me is that the revenge plot isn't what thrills me (it's supposed to).  I absolutely LOVE the banter (can I call it banter?) between Hamlet and Ophelia.  Perhaps even more, I love comparing that banter in versions of Hamlet.  My favorite?  The one starring Mel Gibson.  But, you know what's the best satirical piece?  The Mystery Science Theater 3000 version featuring an old (and BAD), German version of Hamlet.  You've got to be sharp to grab all the humor, but it's phenomenal.  Regardless, enjoy reading the wonderful play and the bawdy exchanges between the sexes within it!  : )

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jseligmann | High School Teacher | (Level 2) Associate Educator

Posted October 30, 2009 at 11:24 PM (Answer #13)

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Can you read this on your own and completely understand it?:

So, oft it chances in particular men,
That for some vicious mole of nature in them,
As in their birth—wherein they are not guilty,
Since nature cannot choose his origin—
By the o'ergrowth of some complexion,
Oft breaking down the pales and forts of reason,
Or by some habit that too much o'erleavens
The form of plausive manners, that these men—
Carrying, I say, the stamp of one defect,
Being nature's livery, or fortune's star—
Their virtues else—be they as pure as grace,
As infinite as man may undergo—
Shall in the general censure take corruption
From that particular fault. The dram of evil
Doth all the noble substance of a doubt
To his own scandal.

Do you see what Hamlet is saying? Do you understnd each word and its context? Could you explain what is expressed above, line by line, to someone else? These are big questions and demand the utmost candor on your part. And this is an easy passage. Really.

When I teach Shakespeare, I do not send my students home to read a scene or an act; we read it aloud in class, enact it, day by day, line by line, and we chew on it and digest it. I don't know many students today who can dedicate themselves to really understand what they are reading when they read Shakespeare alone. It's a serious and laborious task. Sorry, but most students, if given an assignment to read at home, either will not do so because it's just too difficult to understand sufficiently, or they will resort to online interpretations and summaries. How sad.

Hamlet, like all of Shakespeare taught in high schools needs a guide who knows the territory and understands how to get the most out of it and to make it breathe, give it the life it calls out for.

Hamlet is exciting, heady stuff, but it is hard work for today's young reader. Most students do not have the basic knowledge or stamina to go it alone. And that is not meant to belittle anyone. The writing, the poetry, the humanity of the play is formidible and mature. But with the right guide, its riches can be revealed to you and relished.

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