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Arts Toolkit

Arts Toolkit: Drama Video Clips

Shakespeare: Scene from Hamlet



Lexington (KY) actor Kevin Hardesty performs the famous “To be or not to be” soliloquy from Act III, Scene I of the Shakespearean tragedy Hamlet. When the play opens, Hamlet’s father, the King of Denmark, has mysteriously died two months earlier, and the King’s brother, Claudius, has assumed the throne and married the King’s wife and Hamlet’s mother. Hamlet meets the Ghost of the dead King, who accuses Claudius of murder. Hamlet must decide the truth of the accusation and what course of action to take. Hardesty opens the segment with a brief introduction to the scene. This segment was produced especially for the Drama Arts Toolkit.

Suggested Uses:

  • Discuss the role of the actor in creating a character.
  • Use for scene analysis.
  • Introduce or enrich the study of a Shakespearean play.
  • Use as a prompt, along with the “Responding to Drama” guide, for writing a critique of a performance.
  • Use the Shakespeare scenes to discuss his use of language or to compare/contrast characteristics of tragedy and comedy.
  • Pair the scene from Hamlet with the Macbeth scene performed Kabuki-style on the Kabuki videotape/DVD to compare and contrast characteristics of Shakespearean and Kabuki drama and/or to compare/contrast two tragic heroes.

Lesson plans using this resource:

  • Character Motivation (8-12)
    Students analyze one of Shakespeare’s protagonists/antagonists and present a monologue or video to demonstrate a personal interpretation of character motivation and experience.
  • Analyzing a Soliloquy (9-12)
    Students analyze a famous Shakespearean soliloquy for meaning, language, and context and select and perform a Shakespearean soliloquy.

For more information:

(These links may leave the Arts Toolkit.)

See the Much Ado About Shakespeare guide in the Drama Arts Toolkit binder.


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