Showing posts with label Claudius. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Claudius. Show all posts

Saturday 24 August 2013

Worksheet - 'Hamlet' Movie Screening

Screening Movie: Kenneth Branagh’s ‘Hamlet’. Based on William Shakespeare’s ‘Hamlet’

Pre-Viewing Tasks:
  •          Genre of the Play – Tragedy  > Shakespearean Tragedy > Revenge Tragedy
  • ·         Plot Overview of the Play
  • ·         Play as Renaissance Text – Renaissance Humanism: “What a piece of work is man . . .”
  • ·         Why delay in taking revenge? Moral anxiety, uncertainty of truth, appearance and reality, human predicament. Oedipus complex.
  • ·         Plot Structure of the Play: T.S. Eliot: ‘artistic failure’ & Freytag’s pyramidical plot structure.
  • Various approaches to Hamlet: i) Textual Analysis, ii) Genre Study, iii) Historical & Biographical Study, iv) Moral Philosophical Approach, v) Psychoanalytical Approach, vi) Mythological & Archetypal Approach, vii) Feminist Approach, viii) Cultural Studies, ix) Formalist Approach: Dialectic as Form
While - Viewing Tasks:

  • ·         Hamlet’s Madness – his dual personality – when with himself/Horatio (Ego/alter-ego) and when with ‘Others’.
  • ·         The beginning. Symbolic significance of Ghost Scene.
  • ·         Scene: This too too solid flesh . . . Frailty, thy name is women.
  • ·         Scene: What a rogue, slave ass am I . . . bloody, bawdy villain!  Remorseless, treacherous, lecherous, kindles villain! , vengeance! . . . The spirit that I have seen  May be the devil
  • ·         Scene: Play within the play
  • ·         Scene: Polonius – the father: a man of practical affairs – his advises to son and daughter – spying son.
  • ·         Scene: To be or Not to be, that is the question!
  • ·         Scene: Nunnery Scene: Mirror Scene
  • ·         Scene: Claudius’s Prayer Scene & Hamlet’s moral dilemma: Pray can I not -
  • ·         Scene: Gertrude’s bedchamber scene: Second appearance of Ghost – visible only to Hamlet and murder of Polonius.
  • ·         Scene: Ophelia’s madness
  • ·         Scene: Laertes’ s anger & motives to avenge his father’s murder
  • ·         Scene: How all occasions do inform against me, And spur my dull revenge! What is a man, If his chief good and market of his time Be but to sleep and feed? a beast, no more . . . O, from this time forth, 
  • My thoughts be bloody, or be nothing worth!
  • ·         Scene: Grave Digging Scene
  • ·         Scene: Fencing scene: Duel between Hamlet and Laertes.
  • ·         Scene: The End: Fulfilled the call for sacred duty to avenge the murder of father.

Post – Viewing Tasks:
(Give responses to these questions in the comment section below this blog-post)
  • ·         How faithful is the movie to the original play?
  • ·         After watching the movie, have your perception about play, characters or situations changed?
  • ·         Do you feel ‘aesthetic delight’ while watching the movie? If yes, exactly when did it happen? If no, can you explain with reasons?
  • ·         Do you feel ‘catharsis’ while or after watching movie? If yes, exactly when did it happen? If no, can you explain with reasons?
  • ·         Does screening of movie help you in better understanding of the play?
  • ·         Was there any particular scene or moment in the movie that you will cherish lifetime?
  • ·         If you are director, what changes would you like to make in the remaking of movie on Shakespeare’s ‘Hamlet’?
  • In the beginning of the movie, camera rolls over the statue of King Hamlet out side the Elsinore castle. The movie ends with the similar sequence wherein the statue of the King Hamlet is hammered down to the dust. What sort of symbolism do you read in this? (Clue: In Book IX of 'Paradise Lost', Satan reflects on his revenge motive:       "But what will not ambition and revenge; Descend to? Who aspires must down as low; As high he soared, obnoxious, first or last, To basest things. Revenge, at first though sweet, Bitter ere long back on itself recoils." Is it not King Hamlet's ambition to avenge his death responsible for the downfall of his kingdom which is symbolically pictured in last scenes?)
  • While studying the play through movie, which approach do you find more applicable to the play? Why? Give reasons with illustrations.
  • Which of the above mentioned approaches (in Pre-viewing task) appeals you more than other?Why? Give reasons.
  • Take this QUIZ on the play 'Hamlet' to check your understanding of the play:
     Quiz on Hamlet


  • Hamlet. By William Shakespeare. Dir. Kenneth Branagh. Perf. Kenneth Branagh. Prod. David Barron. Warner Home Video, 1996.
  • —. Hamlet. Ed. Charles Kean. 10 January 1859. 24 August 2013 .
  • Guerin, Wilfred L., Earle Labor, Lee Mrogan, Jeanne C Reesman, John R. Willingham, ‘A Handbook of Critical Approaches to Literature’, OUP. 2006.
  • Eliot, T.S. Hamlet and His Problems. The Sacred Wood: Essays on Poetry and Criticism.  1922.
  • Freytag, Gustav. Die Technik des Dramas (Technique of the Drama). 1863
  • The Films of Kenneth Branagh by Samuel Crowl. Shannon Blake Skelton. Theatre Journal, Vol. 58, No. 4, Film and Theatre (Dec., 2006), pp. 714-715 (article consists of 2 pages) Published by: The Johns Hopkins University Press DOI: 10.2307/25069943 Stable URL:
  • Shakespeare at the Cineplex: The Kenneth Branagh Era by Samuel Crowl. Peter Parolin, The Sixteenth Century Journal, Vol. 36, No. 4 (Winter, 2005), pp. 1185-1186, (article consists of 2 pages) Published by: The Sixteenth Century Journal DOI: 10.2307/20477651. Stable URL:
  • Thank You, Kenneth Branagh. Brenda Walton. Journal of Adolescent & Adult Literacy. Vol. 49, No. 7 (Apr., 2006), pp. 556-559. Published by: WileyArticle Stable URL:
  • A Touch of Vaudeville. Steve Vineberg. The Threepenny Review. No. 71 (Autumn, 1997), pp. 19-21.  Published by: Threepenny ReviewArticle Stable URL:
  • Sharing an Enthusiasm for Shakespeare: An Interview with Kenneth Branagh. Gary Crowdus and Kenneth Branagh. Cinéaste, Vol. 24, No. 1 (1998), pp. 34-41. Published by: Cineaste Publishers, IncArticle Stable URL:
  • HAMLET by Kenneth Branagh. Manuel Quinto. El Ciervo. Año 46, No. 556/557 (julio-agosto 1997), p. 38. Published by: El Ciervo 96, S.A.Article Stable URL: