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?

18 Sept. Poster Reflection & Hamlet 1.1


Take five minutes and respond to the following. Be prepared to share your answers in discussion:
  • 1. According to your First Week Videos, what WOVEN mode did you anticipate offering the most challenges? How did you address challenges you perceive in the mode you discussed through any portion of the Poster assignment? 
  • Mahara How-To

    Student Teaching Groups & Date Sign-up

    • Get into your assigned groups and them fill out the Student Teaching Date Preference form below. Just fill out one form per group, please.

    ENGL 1101.F2

    Group Number Group Members
    G1 Zeyu, Enerelt, Jialou, Firaas
    G2 Brandon, Max, Hannah, Hui Min, Dorian
    G3 Jintong, Fei Pei, Hae Won, Eni
    G4 Mark, Tejas, Jiale, Akhil
    G5 Jarod, Elton, Esther, Sanyu
    G6 Thiago, Danya, Akshay, Elias, Ashley

    ENGL 1101.N1

    Group Number Group Members
    G7 Patrick, Margaret, Mathew, Mai
    G8 Melissa, Samantha, Henrick, John
    G9 Dov, Omar, Dustin, Giancarlo
    G10 Danny, Maya, Kyle, Rishi
    G11 Henna, Lauren, Jeremy
    G12 Shrya, Greyson, Alvin, Summahay

    ENGL 1101.D2

    Group Members Group Members
    G13 Brandon, Ravi, Andres, David
    G14 Ben, Anna, Siddarth, Cecelia, Andrew
    G15 Maya, Manisha, Avni, Jennifer
    G16 Kevin, Jason, Brett, Wyatt
    G17 Shakeeb, Mitchell, Michael Tang, Andy
    G18 Thomas, Kenny, Michawel Chen, Kiet

    Student Teaching Date Preference Form



    • Given what you already know about Hamlet and/or what Stephen Greenblatt covers in the introduction, in what ways is Hamlet psychological? In what ways is the play political? 

     “Who’s There” (1.1.20): Nonverbal Communication & Interpretation

    First, what are some characteristics of Nonverbal communication and how does Nonverbal communication effect meaning?

    Get into pairs and choose one person to play Barnardo and one person to play Francisco.

    Read through the lines according to the directions below, and then be prepared to share your interpretations with the class

    • 1. Read lines 1.1.1-1.1.20 with no inflection
    • 2. Read lines 1.1.1-1.1.20 and emphasize the psychological themes audiences can expect from the play 
    • 3. Read lines 1.1.1-1.1.20 and emphasize the political themes audiences can expect from the play


    RQ: Hamlet, Intro. & Act 1.1


    Keep the following questions in mind as you read Hamlet, Scenes 1.1-1.2. The questions are designed to guide your reading practices and our class discussions. You are not required to provide formal answers in class or online.


    “Who’s there” (1.1.1)?

    Who’s there first? Why does Bernardo ask Francisco to disclose himself and not the other way around? What’s implied by this funny, famous opening? Is this a play about trying to find out who’s there and ultimately failing in the attempt?

    Why “unfold” (1.1.2)?

    What does Francisco mean when he says, “You come very carefully upon your hour” (1.1.4)? Why is Francisco “sick at heart” (1.1.7)?

    Why does “rivals”(1.1.11)  mean partners?

    Why do Barnardo and Marcellus want Horatio to join them on the watch (1.1.22-26)?

    What time is it? What time did Barnardo and Marcellus see the ghost before?

    What does the ghost look like? How do the men of the watch know he is the ghost of old Hamlet?

    How do they know the ghost “would be spoke to” (1.1.44)?

    What’s the first question that Horatio asks the ghost? What does Horatio imply that the ghost “usurp’st” (1.1.45)? Why is the ghost offended by Horatio’s question?

    What confirms for Horatio that the ghost is real, or that the ghost is “something more than fantasy” (1.1.53)?

    What sort of relationship do the characters have to nature?

    According to Horatio what does the appearance of the ghost mean for Demark? What precedent does Horatio site for similar supernatural and portentous events? Did the Romans heed such signs as reanimated corpses, floods, eclipses, and comets?  Do the characters in Hamlet read the signs?

    What does the triple repetition of the word “like” (1.1.40, 1.1.43, & 1.1.44) signify? Is the ghost a reanimated corpse OR as is the ghost, as Stephen Greenblatt suggests, “an embodied memory” (212)? But if yes, then what memory or better yet, who’s memory?

    What is the boundary between memory and haunting?

    For what reasons do the watcher surmise the old king (or something “like” it) has returned from the grave as a ghost?

    Why do the actors keep sitting down, (1.1.34, 1.1.69)?

    When Horatio, Benardo, and Marcellus look out over the wall, what sort of activities are going on? Why is Denmark preparing for war and against whom?

    Why does Horatio couch the description of Fortinbras and the preparation for war in terms that evoke eating?

    Why is Horatio who addresses the ghost? Why don’t Marcellus or Bernardo address the ghost? Why did they have to bring in Horatio special?

    What three exhortations does Horatio put the ghost?

    Who else made three statements before a cock crowed?

    Why does Horatio stop questioning the ghost?

    What are some reasons the Horatio and Marcellus give for why the ghost disappeared?

    How does the first scene establish for the audience that they are about to watch a play that is topsy-turvy, dislocated, or in Hamlet’s own words, “out of joint” (1.5.186)