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Hamlet Act 1 Discussion Questions

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  • 0:04 Level 1 - Remember
  • 0:56 Level 2 - Understand
  • 1:28 Level 3 - Apply
  • 2:07 Level 4 - Analyze
  • 2:41 Level 5 - Evaluate
  • 3:09 Lesson Summary
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Instructor: Jason Lineberger

Jason has 20 years of education experience including 14 years of teaching college literature.

Are you using Shakespeare's play 'Hamlet' in your class? Here are discussion questions for Act 1, listed by Bloom's Taxonomy, so you can reach students at their current level before pushing them to those higher order thinking skills.

Level 1 - Remember

Are you using Shakespeare's play, Hamlet, in your class? Here are discussion questions for Act 1, listed by Bloom's Taxonomy, so you can reach students at their current level before pushing them to those higher order thinking skills. The following five tiers of questions should help them to better remember, understand, apply, analyze, and reflect on what they've read.

The Level 1 level of questions should focus on how well students remember basic plot points, characters, and details from Act 1 of Hamlet.

For example:

  • What do the guards decide to do about the ghost in scene 1?

  • Who is the current king of Denmark?

  • Who is the previous king?

  • How is Hamlet related to the current king?

  • What does Polonius order his daughter to do, regarding Hamlet?

  • What is one reason Hamlet gives for not liking the party being thrown by the current king?

  • What does the ghost want Hamlet to do?

Level 2 - Understand

Level 2 will go a little bit more in-depth to test students' understanding of the act they've just read.

For example:

  • Prediction - how will Hamlet carry out the ghost's demands?

  • Shakespeare makes clear distinctions between the rankings of characters. Classify the characters in two groups, royalty and commoners. Where does Ophelia fall?

  • Hamlet is a play about secrets. Summarize the secrets being kept so far in the play.

  • Hamlet is starting to build up stress. Explain all the stressors in Hamlet's life at this point.

Level 3 - Apply

The questions in this Level 3 will allow students to contextualize and further interact with Act 1 of Hamlet, applying their own experiences to the text.

For example:

  • Claudius is now acting as Hamlet's father. What advice would you give him about raising a son like Hamlet? What advice would Polonius give him?

  • Hamlet has been ordered by the ghost to take revenge, yet it's unclear whether the ghost is good or evil. How should Hamlet proceed?

  • Laertes gets life advice from his father. Put that advice into your own words and into a modern context.

  • What approach do the guards take to dealing with the ghost? Why do they take that approach?

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