It is Spring time again, when my thoughts bend toward crocuses, robins, sunshine, detox diets, and the beginning of another Hamlet unit. I know that I’ve blogged many times about Hamlet, but I love to explore this play and I doubt that I’ll ever get to the bottom of it.
Though my current class will see some of my earlier focus — having students play the role of film director by making such decisions as how they would stage the ghost and who they would cast in each role, etc. — the focus this time is on the text. Because the culminating activity will be a collaborative essay (through the use of their individual blogs and comments) we’re spending a little more time than usual debating some questions, including:
- Is it important to the story whether or not Hamlet believes in heaven?
- Is Gertrude a sinister accomplice of Claudius? (Consider the deaths of King Hamlet and of Ophelia.)
- Could the ghost be a figment of Hamlet’s imagination?
- Is Hamlet mad?
- Is Hamlet really a tragic hero, or is he a villain?
- Does Hamlet really love Ophelia?
- Do Rosencrantz and Guildenstern get what they deserve?
- Does Hamlet have an Oedipus complex?
- Does Hamlet’s behaviour suggest that he’s closer to 16 than to 30 years of age?
I especially like the collaborative essay for this class, because I’ve got a group that is particularly fond of debate. Their first blog posts are up and their first comments are due by the end of the week, responding to at least two others that have approached an issue from an opposing angle. By the end of next week, partners should have surfaced for a virtual debate via their blogs, and by the end of the following week their collaborative essays, in a “They say, I say” format, will be typed.
I think that the current group that I’ve got will be able to pull this off and have fun with it. Time will tell.
Image by bansidhe