The Bill / Shakespeare Project presents: This Week in Shakespeare news, for the week ending Monday, March 16th, 2015

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This week’s Shakespeare news review includes the US Senate congratulating Oregon Shakespeare Festival for its 80th anniversary, recreating the Globe theater with old shipping containers, Shakespeare Week in England, Cincinnati Shakespeare Company’s PROJECT 38 Festival, and a boatload of reviews of Cymbeline, the new Ethan Hawke Shakespeare biker mash-up.. PLUS our usual recap of this week’s daily highlights in Shakespearean history.

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Hamlet: Act Four, Scenes Five through Seven

When we last left the Hamlet plot summary, we were at the end of Act Four, Scene Four, with our melancholy Dane watching the approach of the Norwegian army under Fortinbras, waiting to be taken to his death in England by Rosencrantz and Guildenstern, and deciding to make his own thoughts “bloody” (IV.iv.66). As we enter Act Four, Scene Five, we’re back into the palace at Elsinore, with Queen Gertrude refusing to see someone.

If it was only so easy as to be Claudius… but it isn’t.

It’s the now “indeed distract” (IV.v.2) Ophelia, despondent over the death of her father.

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Podcast 97: Hamlet: The Plot, Part Two

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This week’s podcast continues our three month-long discussion of Hamlet with the second of a three-part plot summary.

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Hamlet: Act Three, Scene Four-Act Four, Scene Four

When we last took a look at the Hamlet plot summary, Hamlet had found Claudius seemingly at prayer. Hamlet had the proof he needed to avenge his father’s murder, but as killing a man at prayer would send him to heaven, Hamlet decides against it. Ironically, Claudius couldn’t bring himself to pray.

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The Name Game, Part the Second

Hamlet.

Interesting name.

So similar to Hamnet, the name of Shakespeare’s dead son, fraternal twin to daughter Judith. Hamnet died in August of 1596; Hamlet was written at some point between 1599 and 1602. It might be neat (and by that I mean “well-composed” and “skilled and precise,” as opposed to, like, “really cool”) to think that Hamnet’s death and the birth of Hamlet might be related, but it’s probably not the case, and such critical opinion has fallen out of vogue. The connection to Twelfth Night is probably more probable.

But worth a mention, all the same.

The Bill / Shakespeare Project presents: This Week in Shakespeare news, for the week ending Monday, March 9th, 2015

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This week’s Shakespeare news review includes the nationwide tour of a First Folio, “Atomic Shakespeare,” DruidShakespeare, “Gary Busey’s One-Man Hamlet,” and Forensic Shakespeare. PLUS our usual recap of this week’s daily highlights in Shakespearean history.

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Hamlet: Act Three, Scenes One-Three

Our Hamlet plot summary picks up with the first three scenes of Act Three.

When we left Hamlet, the Prince of Denmark, he had devised a plan to use the performance of a play to “capture the conscience” (II.ii.543-4) of the king. When we rejoin Hamlet the play, Claudius enters with his queen, Polonius, Ophelia, and his spies Rosencrantz and Guildenstern. The king asks for reports. Rosencrantz admits that Hamlet himself admits his “distracted” (III.i.5) state, but nothing more; Guildenstern feels that Hamlet’s “crafty madness” (III.i.8) hides “his true state” (III.i.10). Both Rosencrantz and Polonius note Hamlet’s “joy” (III.i.18) at the players; Claudius states his “content(edness)” (III.i.24) at the news.

At this point, Claudius sends away the courtiers and his wife, as the king and Polonius set Ophelia out as bait for Hamlet while they hide to watch. Hamlet enters and begins what most consider to be (see what I’m doing here?) the most famous speech in all of Shakespeare:

To be or not to be — that is the question…
  • III.i.56

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Podcast 96: Hamlet: The Plot, Part One

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This week’s podcast kicks off our three month-long discussion of Hamlet with the first of a three-part plot summary.

Continue reading “Podcast 96: Hamlet: The Plot, Part One”