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SUBJECTS — Drama/England;
SOCIAL-EMOTIONAL LEARNING — Revenge; Fighting; Grieving;
MORAL-ETHICAL EMPHASIS — Fairness; Caring; Respect.
Age: 12+; MPAA Rating: PG; Drama; 1990; 135 minutes; Color.
This is an accessible version of Shakespeare's classic. Mel Gibson's portrayal of Hamlet is strong and full of life. The action of the play is easy to follow and moves quickly. The costumes, artistic design, and scenery are rich and beautiful.
The interpretation suggested by this Learning Guide emphasizes Shakespeare's message about the moral and practical pitfalls of revenge. This analysis maximizes the play's relevance to teenagers by prompting them to work out their own feelings about "payback" (revenge). The background and discussion questions in the Guide will introduce the process of critical thinking about great works of literature.
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Hamlet is one of the greatest plays ever written. The TeachWithMovies.com Learning Guide presents an interpretation interesting to young people because it focuses on revenge, a concept that teenagers are dealing with as they grow to maturity.
Learning Guide Excerpt
To demonstrate how our Learning Guides can be used by teachers to improve lesson plans, we have set out below three paragraphs from the Learning Guide to Hamlet.
Hamlet shows what the loss of a loved one does to four different people. By comparing what happens to each of them, we can discover at least some of what Shakespeare is trying to tell us in this play. Much of it is about revenge....
Laertes, Ophelia's brother, [unlike Ophelia] has an outlet for his grief. He seeks revenge, becoming an eager conspirator with Claudius against Hamlet. In the duel, Laertes' own instrument of revenge, the poisoned sword, is unexpectedly turned on him when he drops it and Hamlet picks it up. Hamlet begins to use the sword in the duel and cuts Laertes. Laertes meets death because of the unintended consequences of his act of revenge. (In this way Laertes' fate is similar to that of Romeo in Romeo and Juliet. Romeo avenges Mercutio's death by killing Tybalt. In the play, killing Tybalt leads inexorably to Romeo's death and that of Juliet. While Romeo's death is not as immediate as Laertes', it is also an unintended consequence of an act of revenge.)
The law of unintended consequences holds that whether or not what you do has the effect you intend, it will have consequences that you don't expect. Some unintended consequences can be very unpleasant. [The Learning Guide continues to show how and why the law of unintended consequences applies with particular force to acts of revenge.]
The Learning Guide to the film Hamlet contains sections on Benefits of the Movie, Possible Problems, Helpful Background, Discussion Questions, Links to the Internet, and Bridges to Reading. The Discussion Questions are divided into three categories: Subject Matter, Social-Emotional Learning, and Moral-Ethical Emphasis.
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