Shop  |  Calendar  |  Join  |  Buy Tickets  |  Hamnet  |  Site Rental  |  Press Room  
About UsWhat's OnUse the CollectionDiscover ShakespeareTeach & LearnFolger InstituteSupport Us
Teaching Resources
• Teaching Modules
Teaching Modules Archive

   Sign up for E-news!
   Printer Friendly

Folger on the Ramparts

Teachers' Rating:
  2 ratings

Alexander Christie. Hamlet finding the king at prayer. Oil on canvas, 1842.

April 2002
Jeremy Ehrlich is Assistant Head of Education at the Folger Shakespeare Library. He has taught middle and high school English and drama in San Francisco.

Plays/Scenes Covered
Hamlet 1.4 and 1.5
What's On for Today and Why
Students will use the website "Hamlet on the Ramparts" to investigate different ways of producing the ghost scenes 1.4 and 1.5 of Hamlet. They will use this information to help them develop their own ideas on staging these important scenes.
What You Need
Folger edition of Hamlet
Available in Folger print edition and Folger Digital Texts


Multiple internet-linked computers

What To Do

1. Direct students to the "Hamlet on the Ramparts" site, at http://shea.mit.edu/ramparts. Walk the students through the site using a teaching station or by giving instructions to the class at their own workstations.


2. Bring students to the "Reading Room" by clicking on the appropriate link at the top of the page. Have students examine the different pieces of text available from 1.4 and 1.5 and have them select one piece of text to work on.


3. Take students through the sections "Adaptations and Promptbooks", "Art", and "Film". Then take them to another film clip: "Staging the Ghost" under "Tutorials and Guides". Be sure they get an understanding of the different resources available on the site.


4. Explain the concept of an "artistic choice" —a choice made by a director, designer or actor involving an element of a dramatic production not dictated by the script of the play. Have the students look through the different sites and list three different artistic choices that these productions have used.


5. Now that the students have some experience examining artistic choices, have them make their own decisions as to how they think their piece of text should be performed. Ask them to go through and identify set, costume, lighting and sound choices that they think would make their piece of text most effective.


6. Have the students share their choices with the class. Discuss how each piece of text contains multiple legitimate performance options.


7. Optional extension: in the Reading Room, have the students select their piece of text and then the same piece of text from the First Quarto, a publication of the play from 1603. Have them search for differences in the two texts. Which do they think is more effective? 

How Did It Go?
Were students able to access the "Hamlet on the Ramparts" site and navigate it effectively? Were students able to identify specific artistic choices from the different works available to them? Were they able to apply that information by identifying their own artistic choices for the scene? Did the exercise generate good discussion around issues of performance choices?

If you used this lesson, we would like to hear how it went and about any adaptations you made to suit the needs of YOUR students.

Login or register to post comments.

  Common Core State Standards

There are no standards associated with this Lesson Plan.
Additional Information

Note to Mozilla Firefox Users: If the PDF documents are freezing, please try the following fix: Go to Tools. Under Options click the Applications icon. Under Content Type, find Adobe Acrobat Document. Select Use Adobe Reader. If the option already says Use Adobe Reader, try changing the option to Use Adobe Acrobat.

Bookmark and Share   
     Copyright & Policies   |   Sitemap   |   Contact Us   |   About This Site
201 East Capitol Street, SE
Washington, DC 20003
Get directions »

Federal Tax ID #04-2103542
PublicReading Room
10am to 5pm, Monday through Saturday8:45am to 4:45pm, Monday through Friday
12pm to 5pm, Sunday9am to noon and 1pm to 4:30pm, Saturday
Main: 202 544 4600
Box Office: 202 544 7077
Fax: 202 544 4623