Novel guide: https://docs.google.com/document/d/1bzaySf2VLiJbNrNmDj_Sf0Cti2Qh0Jlr79_o4L39ayY/dit?usp=sharing
Preparation notes and questions:
Big, broad Ideas (Targets):
1. Function of plot, characters, and/or setting within a text. (C3)
• What significance does the presence of Fortinbras as a character have?
• What purpose does Horatio have in the play?
• Did Ophelia kill herself?
• What function does the play/theater have in Hamlet?
2. Function of contrasts within a text.
• Does Hamlet’s madness and Ophelia’s madness differ? If so, what’s the significance between this
contrast in how madness is portrayed between the two characters?
• Hamlet and Fortinbras are both similar in that their father’s both died and they wanted to avenge
their father’s death, however the way they came about this was very different. What is the
significance in the contrast between Hamlet and Fortinbras’ characters?
3. Function of a symbol.
• When Ophelia starts going mad, she distributes flowers to people and even describes what each
flower stands for. What do these flowers symbolise and what significance do they have?
• What is the significance behind Yorick’s skull in the graveyard scene in Act 5?
4. Function of specific textual details in revealing character motivation and perspective.
• Do you think that Gertrude drank the poisoned wine on purpose?
• In the BBC version, it appears that Gertrude knowingly drank the poisoned wine. What does this
reveal about her character?
• When King Claudius was “praying”, was he aware that Hamlet was about to kill him?
• Was Gertrude aware that King Claudius killed King Hamlet?
• How does Hamlet’s attitude towards death change throughout the story?
5. Function of specific textual details in the development of theme. (C6)
• What techniques does Shakespeare employ to develop the theme of mortality within the play?
• What techniques does Shakespeare employ to develop the theme of madness within the play?
Mrs. Brayko’s Comments:
Olivia, This holds together quite well. I like how focused you got and that you were able to bring in your textual evidence effectively. The paper was easy to follow and included much good analysis (and a better sense of zooming in and out). Future focus: Nuancing your sentence structures to put the emphasis in the right place – more so on the development of the theme than on the techniques being utilized.
Poet chosen: Wole Soyinka
Prompt: One of the strongest human drives seems to be a desire for power. Write an essay in which you discuss how a character in a novel or a drama struggles to free himself or herself from the power of others or seeks to gain power over others. Be sure to demonstrate in your essay how the author uses this power struggles to enhance the meaning of the work.