Hamlet Pre-Viewing Powerpoint Notes

For comparison, we will examine another of
Shakespeare’s tragedies.
Hamlet may be the greatest English play ever
written. The character of Hamlet is so
ambiguous, so contradictory that we are not
sure if he is really good or if he is bad. Does he
deserve his fate or is he heroic?
This ambiguity of character lends the play its
Using the members of your
group as characters, outline a
brief revenge story. What
caused the situation to turn to
revenge? What was the nature
of the revenge? How does the
revenge turn out?
The Law of Unintended Consequences states
that almost all human actions have at least one
unintended consequence: "There shall be some
unexpected result." In other words, each cause
has more than one effect, and will include
unforeseen effects. Less of a law or rule itself, it is
more a call to rulers and law makers [and
decision makers] to beware.
-Unintended consequence. (2007, October 7). In Wikipedia, The Free
Encyclopedia. Retrieved 18:59, October 16, 2007, from
“Everything comes with a price.” –Alan Nichol
So in a story where a character sets out to get
revenge, and devises a plan specifically to get
revenge, will that plan play out perfectly?
What are other possible outcomes that could
occur? (This is a rhetorical question, no
answers are needed.)
In his famous short story “The Cask of Amontillado”
Poe’s main character, Montresor, claims that in
order to get “real” revenge, one must fulfill 3
One must make oneself known as an avenger on
the revengee.
One must punish and get away with it.
One must NEVER feel guilty about what they have
done to get revenge.
Only then has one TRULY gotten revenge.
Hamlet – son of Gertrude and the dead King Hamlet
Gertrude – Queen and Hamlet’s mother
Claudius – Hamlet’s uncle and now step-father
Horatio – Hamlet’s friend
Polonius – Advisor to the new King
Ophelia – Polonius’ daughter and Hamlet’s girlfriend
Laertes – Ophelia’s brother
Rosencrantz and Gildenstern – childhood friends of
Hamlet’s Ghost – young Hamlet’s father in ghostly
The Oedipus complex in Freudian psychoanalysis refers to
stage of psychosexual development in childhood where
children of both sexes regard their father as an adversary
and competitor for the exclusive love of their mother. The
name derives from the Greek myth of Oedipus, who
unwittingly kills his father, Laius, and marries his mother,
In Jungian thought, the Oedipus complex tends to refer only
to the experience of male children, with female children
experiencing an Electra complex in which they regard their
mothers as competitor for the exclusive love of their fathers.
-Oedipus complex. (2007, October 13). In Wikipedia, The Free
Encyclopedia. Retrieved 19:10, October 16, 2007, from
Is Hamlet basically good or basically bad?
Is he cunning or crazy?
Is he a good son? Nephew? Friend? Boyfriend?
Is Hamlet brave or cowardly?
Is he in-the-right or in-the-wrong?
Is he all talk or is he a man of action?
These questions, and others, are left for you to
decide, and in so deciding, making the play
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