Hamlet Lesson Plan

Instructor: Dana Dance-Schissel

Dana teaches social sciences at the college level and English and psychology at the high school level. She has master's degrees in applied, clinical and community psychology.

Once they finished reading the play, did your students grasp all the important elements of Shakespeare's 'Hamlet?' An entertaining video lesson provides a solid overview of key points and role playing reinforces key ideas. Related lesson and extensions support ongoing instruction.

Learning Objectives

Upon completion of this lesson, students will be able to:

  • outline the significance of the line ''To be or not to be''
  • list and describe key characters from Hamlet
  • summarize key plot points from the play Hamlet
  • role-play one act from Hamlet


1.5 to 3 hours

Curriculum Standards


Cite strong and thorough textual evidence to support analysis of what the text says explicitly as well as inferences drawn from the text.


Determine a theme or central idea of a text and analyze in detail its development over the course of the text, including how it emerges and is shaped and refined by specific details; provide an objective summary of the text.


Analyze how complex characters (e.g., those with multiple or conflicting motivations) develop over the course of a text, interact with other characters, and advance the plot or develop the theme.


NOTE: This lesson is designed for students who have already read Hamlet by William Shakespeare.

  • Begin by asking the class to name the most famous line from Hamlet, writing their ideas on the board.
  • Now play the video lesson Hamlet: Beyond the Famous Soliloquy, pausing at 2:04.
  • Is ''To be or not to be'' written on the board?
  • Now give the students 5-10 minutes to list key characters from Hamlet.
  • When each student has a list of characters, have them share their lists with the class briefly.
  • Play the video lesson and pause it at 2:56.
  • Review the list of characters described in the video lesson and compare them against those presented by the students.

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