Hamlet Teaching Resources
Hamlet English Key Stage 3
What can an opera do that a play can't?
- In how many different ways can you read it? Nervously? Breathlessly? Excitedly? Does it look like normal Shakespeare? Do you notice anything about the line-lengths?
- Try and read it exaggerating the punctuation, or making it sound as if you are interrupting the speaker before.
- What do you think is the ‘thing’ that has ‘appeared again tonight’?
- What atmosphere do you think Shakespeare is trying to create, and what tools has he been able to use to create this atmosphere?
Both the director (Neil Armfield) and the opera’s composer (Brett Dean) are able to add their own ideas of the play’s atmosphere.
Discuss and list the various different techniques that are used to create this atmosphere, and then decide how many of them are unique to the art-form of opera.
- How many different words can you find in this excerpt that relate to things hellish or supernatural?
- Can you see where there is a description of what the ghost looks like?
- Given the language that Hamlet uses, why do you think Horatio and Marcellus advise Hamlet to leave the ghost well alone?
- What does Hamlet decide to do, and why? If you were directing this scene, how would you encourage the actor playing Hamlet to deliver his lines?
- What immediately strikes you about this scene, compared to the same scene in the play excerpt that you have just read?
- Who is singing ‘Angels and ministers of grace defend us’?
- What is added to the scene by the nature of the music, and how it is being sung?
Some of the decisions about how Hamlet might play this scene have been made by the nature of the music he has to sing. Some of the decisions have been made by the singer. What do you think Hamlet is feeling in this scene? Does it tally with the ideas you had about the scene from the play?