27 Sept. Hamlet Act 2 & Student Teaching Activity Prep

Featured Image: Da Vinci’s Vitruvian Man, 1490

Hamlet, Act 2: Overview & Pathological Collectables/Collectors

Remember that in the conclusion to his chapter,”Pathological Collectables,” Scott Herring tells us that he hopes to make “good on museum studies scholar Susan M. Pearce’s claim that ‘unacceptable collectors, among other things, are making important assertions about the ‘ordinary’ material world and out relationship to it, [a relationship] which we ignore to our detriment'” (84). By this Herring means that while people who have trouble letting do suffer pathological attachment to things, and should certainly be diagnosed and treated, they are also responding to and embodying ways larger social forces fail around grief, loss, and anxiety.


Take 5-7 minutes and respond to the following:
The characters spend the bulk of act two trying to diagnose Hamlet. Make a list of the diagnoses that are proposed. Are the proposed causes of Hamlet’s madness psychological or social?

Reaction Activity

  1. Get into your Student Teaching Groups, read through your assigned questions and the text the question asks about.
  2. Next, respond to your assigned question in 2-3 sentences at the number that corresponds to your group number on the board.
  3. Finally, once you have finished writing down your response, move to another group’s response and then read through it, and in 1-2 sentences explain why you agree or disagree with the other group’s responses on the board.

Group/Number Questions
G1, G7, G13 Polonius responds to Hamlet’s seeming craziness with “That he is mad, ’tis true. ‘Tis true ’tis pity,/And pity ’tis ’tis true–a foolish figure” (2.2.1125-1126). What’s Polonius even saying here? Do you agree with Polonius’s assessment, why/why not?
G2, G8, G14 What plan(s) do Polonius, Claudius, and Gertrude hatch to discovery the cause of Hamlet’s madness (2.2.1197-1201)? Do you think their will be plan(s) successful, why/why not?
G3, G9, G15 What does Hamlet mean when he says, “I am mad but north-north-west. When the wind is southerly I know a hawk from a handsaw” (2.2.1426-11427)?
G4, G10, G16 What is the topic of the speech that Hamlet begins, and the First Player completes (2.2.1510-1559). Why does Hamlet like the speech so much?
G5, G11, G17 What’s Hamlet’s assessment of the Player’s speech (2.2.1589-1611)? Do you think that his analysis of the speech is accurate, why/why not?
G6, G12, G18 What does Hamlet plan to do to “catch the conscience of the King” (2.2.1645)? Do you think does Hamlet’s attempt to discover Claudius’s secrets will be more or less successful than the ways the other characters have tried to discover his?

Back to the Paper Claims…

Take a few minutes and respond to the following. Please bring this response with you to class next Tuesday:

  • What is the relationship between Hamlet (or Hamlet) and one of the following key terms: hoarding, collectables, vibrant matter, preservation, waste, recycling, or accumulation?

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