The Analytical Breakdown of Hamlet, Act 1 Notes #2

Report
Notes #2
 Act 1 – Exposition
 Act 2 – Complications (Rising
Action)
 Act 3 – Climax
 Act 4 – Reversals (Falling Action)
 Act 5 – Catastrophe / Denouement
(& Recognition)
The exposition includes…
1. Main characters, a.k.a. dramatis personae
2. Establishment of time and place, setting
3. Explanation or allusions to the antecedent
action of the story
4. Introduction of the germ of conflict and
dramatic tensions
 Questions
 Darkness
 WAR!
 Ghost
 Mood
 Foil
 Omens
“This bodes some strange eruption to our state.”
– Horatio, 1.1.69
 Contrasting mood
 Claudius’ rhetoric
 Introduction to Hamlet’s melancholy
 appearance v. reality
 first soliloquy = his true feelings
 Hamlet’s friends = new mood
 stichomythia = importance of the information
“… Foul deeds will rise
Though all the earth o’erwhelm
them to men’s eyes.” – Hamlet 256-257
 Another mood shift: Intimate family conversation
 characterization of all  important family dynamics
 Social hierarchy
 Laertes = partying player
 Ophelia = an idealist with no power
 Polonius = bumbling fool
 Treatment of Women:
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attempts to control Ophelia
expectation of the day =obeys her father
“You speak like a green girl…” (101)
“Think yourself a baby…” (105)
“Ay, springes to catch woodcocks” (115)
 Ghost watch v. Claudius’ party
 Hamlet seeking truth
 Foreshadows his own downfall:
 Vicious mole… stamp of defect… dram of eale…
 Ghost beckons Hamlet  he must follow
“Something is rotten in the state of Denmark.”
– Marcellus (90)
 Suspense of entire Act leading to
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this scene
Ghost tells all! Do we believe him?
Hamlet’s 2nd soliloquy
Importance of swearing/oaths
Hamlet’s plan to “put and antic
disposition on” (172)
“The time is out of joint: O cursed spite,
That ever I was born to set it right.”
-- Hamlet (189-190)
 Course of action becomes more
complicated and the "tying of knots"
occurs
 Interests clash, intrigues are
spawned, events accelerate in a
definite direction
 In other words: tension mounts and
momentum builds!
Hamlet’s Soliloquy:
9 changing moods
THE STRUCTURE OF HIS
SHIFTING MOODS,
PARALLELS PERFECTLY
THE STRUCTURE OF
THE SHIFTING
EPISODES OF ACTION
IN THE WHOLE
SCENE!
Scene 2: 9 Episodes
 #1: 1 – 39
 #2: 40 – 85
 #3: 86 – 168
 #4: 167 – 216
 #5: 217 – 309
 #6: 310 – 358
 #7: 359 – 520
 #8: 521 - 534
 #9: 535 - 590
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Episode:
#1: 1 – 39
#2: 40 – 85
#3: 86 – 168
#4: 167 – 216
#5: 217 – 309
#6: 310 – 358
#7: 359 – 520
#8: 521 - 534
#9: 535 - 590
With your assigned
“episode,” complete the
following:
You will something very similar to last
class…
 Choose the 5-10 most important
lines in your episode
 Act them out dramatically
 Explain (1) the context, (2) explain
why this mini-scene is important to
the complications of Act 2, but this
time… (3) write two guiding
questions re: this passage

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