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BYU-I - FDWLD 201 - Class Notes - Week 3

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BYU-I - FDWLD 201 - Class Notes - Week 3

School: Brigham Young University - Idaho
Department: OTHER
Course: World Foundations 2
Term: Winter 2018
Tags: Hamlet, Shakespeare, theater, world civilization, Art, Music, and theology
Name: World Foundations Week 3 Notes
Description: These notes cover Hamlet as well as lesson/week 3.
Uploaded: 02/22/2018
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background image Hamlet Notes, Overview, and Movie Study Guide For this assignment, you will watch a movie of the play Hamlet. The 
movie is a 1947 adaptation of the play written and directed by Sir 
Lawrence Olivier, who ranks among of the greatest interpreters of 
Shakespeare. Olivier stars in the title role, with a cast of substantial 
talent, particularly Jean Simmons, who plays Ophelia. It is filmed in 
black and white, and makes use of a rather stark, and occasionally 
abstract, set. In many respects, the movie is filmed much like a play, 
and it will give you a limited sense of how the story would unfold on a 
live stage. Olivier’s interpretation, as is the case with all interpretations
of Shakespeare, has its detractors, since parts of the play are cut or 
modified to reduce its duration. For those who wish to see an excellent 
film of the entire play (not a word is cut out) see Kenneth Branagh’s 
movie (4.5 hours in length, but worth every minute of it).
As you watch the movie, keep in mind the apparent inability of Hamlet 
to reconcile his sense that there is some kind of afterlife that demands 
justice for his father’s murder, and his inability to face his own 
mortality or to find happiness in this life. He is caught between the 
medieval worldview, with its conviction that this life is not nearly as 
important as the afterlife, and the humanist’s angst over whether or 
not there is any existence beyond death at all. Whether medieval in 
outlook or humanist or both, one thing seems clear: Hamlet cannot find
happiness following the death of his father. Because we each must face
death and test whether or not we truly believe in life hereafter in the 
very moment of our death, Hamlet’s story is universal, and the play’s 
appeal has weathered the test of time, ranking to this day among the 
most performed works.
Overview of William Shakespeare and Hamlet 
(Presented in last week’s material)
William Shakespeare (1564-1616) ranks among the most prolific 
playwrights of history. He composed 38 plays, 154 sonnets, and two 
long narrative poems, of which we know. His works are more often 
performed than those of any other author, and have been translated 
into many languages. His effect, then, upon the modern world is very 
significant. An actor of talent in his youth, he became a playwright to 
the British crown and is invariably associated with the reign of Queen 
Elizabeth I (1533-1603). Since his death, he has received about as 
many posthumous honors as Britain can bestow. 
background image His plays fall into three main categories: Comedy, History, and Tragedy.
We will focus upon his tragedies. To understand them, however, 
requires also an understanding of comedy.
A comedy, which may include a great deal of humor, is not defined by 
being merely funny. A comedy is a play that ends well for the 
protagonist. You may recall that Dante’s great poem is called a 
“comedy,” yet there is only occasional humor in it. It is a comedy 
because Dante the protagonist, escapes Hell, is sanctified on Mt. 
Purgatory, and eventually enters into the presence of God. Thus, for 
Dante, the ultimate “comedy” is redemption and salvation, whereby 
one’s soul escapes death and sin, and receives eternal life. In 
Shakespeare’s plays, comedy consists mostly of a happy ending while 
in this life. In this sense, his comedies reflect a humanist approach, 
focusing on this life, as compared to Dante, whose comedy focuses 
entirely upon the next life, reflecting the medieval regard for salvation 
as the only truly happy ending. 
Tragedy, in contrast, is a story that does not end well for the 
protagonist. The book purchased for this course contains four of 
Shakespeare’s tragedies, sometimes called the “Four Great Tragedies.”
In each of these four plays, the protagonist, the title character, dies, 
reflecting a humanist concern with death as the final end of existence. 
This is not to say that some humanists did not believe in life after 
death, because many did. Instead, it reflects a concern with the 
shortness of existence, its limitations and brevity, what might be called
the existentialist’s primary angst, or “anxiety:” that once one dies, all 
existence ends; there is no afterlife. Of the four great tragedies, 
Hamlet is filled with existential anxiety more than the others, and the 
young prince’s meditations upon death reflect a near-obsession.
Hamlet is most certainly a tragedy in that it ends in untimely death, 
and not for Hamlet alone. When the curtain descends on the play, nine 
have died: Hamlet (the Prince), Hamlet (his father, the dead King and 
ghost), Gertrude (his mother and Queen), his uncle (Claudius), Ophelia 
(suicide produced by madness), Laertes (by his own poisoned blade), 
Polonius (killed mistakenly by Hamlet), and two former school 
companions of the Prince, named Rosencrantz and Guildenstern (killed 
through the King’s conspiracy). The only person mentioned 
prominently in the play who dies a natural death is the court jester of 
Hamlet’s youth, Yorick, and he died twenty-three years earlier. All 
others are taken by murder, conspiracy, mistake, or suicide. The 
audience is left to contemplate the meaning of death and its 
imminence, its immediacy, for each member of the audience. The play 
is a very sobering reminder that we may each be taken by death in an 
instant, for good reason, or for no reason at all. The play broods upon 
background image the very angst of existence (and non-existence) from almost the 
moment the curtain rises, until it falls at the end. It is a fitting contrast 
to Dante, whose poem focuses upon the intelligible afterlife as a 
medieval believer would, and Shakespeare’s own day, a renaissance 
humanistic culture whose reliance upon reason and the senses fixes its
concern to the sensible world, although it raises many questions as to 
the nature and reality of the afterlife.
background image Study Guide Questions This study guide consists of matching questions in which the dialogue 
or action of the movie is matched to its speaker/character. The 
matching questions are intended to accomplish two things: 
(1) Help you follow the story, and make certain you understand it
(2) Draw your attention to key text. 
The study guide questions are in “chronological” order. However, the 
quiz randomizes the question order and the quiz format may look 
different than this study guide’s. To complete this study guide, match 
the action or dialogue with the character in the film that carries out the
action or speaks the dialogue. You may use your completed study 
guide to answer the questions on the quiz.
Action/Event or Dialogue Answe
r
List of 
Characters
1. “Tush, tush, t’will not appear.”  C A. Ghost 2.”Something is rotten in the State of 
Denmark.” 
G B. 
Doctor/Messeng
er
3. “That we with wisest sorrow think on him 
together with remembrance of ourselves.”
I C. Horatio 4.”With mirth in funeral and dirge in marriage 
in equal scale, weighing delight and dull, taken
to wife.” 
D D. Polonius 5. “Do not forever with thy lowered lid seek for 
thy father in the dust.” 
H E. Laertes 6.”Oh, that this too, too solid flesh would melt, 
fold, and resolve into a dew...How weary, stale,
flat and unprofitable seem to me the uses of 
this world.” 
F F. Hamlet 
(Prince)
7. “Perhaps he loves you now, but you must 
fear his greatness.” 
E G. Marcellus 8. “Above all, to thine own self be true, and it 
must follow as the night the day, thou canst 
not then be false to any man.” 
E H. Gertrude 
(Queen)
9. “I would not, in plain terms, from this time 
forth, give words or talk to the Lord Hamlet.” 
D I. Claudius 
(King)
10. “If you have hitherto concealed this 
sight...give it an understanding, but no 
tongue.” 
F J. 
Gravedigger/Clo
wn
11. “But to my mind, it is a custom more 
honored in the brech than in the observance.” 
F K. Ophelia

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Join more than 18,000+ college students at Brigham Young University - Idaho who use StudySoup to get ahead
School: Brigham Young University - Idaho
Department: OTHER
Course: World Foundations 2
Term: Winter 2018
Tags: Hamlet, Shakespeare, theater, world civilization, Art, Music, and theology
Name: World Foundations Week 3 Notes
Description: These notes cover Hamlet as well as lesson/week 3.
Uploaded: 02/22/2018
19 Pages 64 Views 51 Unlocks
  • Better Grades Guarantee
  • 24/7 Homework help
  • Notes, Study Guides, Flashcards + More!
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