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Illuminating Our Human Experiences: Soliloquy from Hamlet 

Teachers' Rating:
  3 ratings

Bert Sharkey. John Barrymore as Hamlet. Engraving, early 20th century

December 2008
Patricia da Silva teaches at Christopher Columbus High School in Bronx, New York

Plays/Scenes Covered
Hamlet 3.1.56-89 or any other soliloquy
What's On for Today and Why

This lesson is meant to be conducted over a period of at least 3 class periods, which may or may not be consecutive. Teachers will introduce the soliloquy as a literary device and the themes of William Shakespeare’sHamlet. However, the techniques in this lesson may be easily adapted for other plays!



  • Teachers will instruct students to write creative reflections about their lives
  • Teachers will instruct students on how to use technology, in the form of Photo Story 3, as a way of presenting this narrative writing

What You Need
  • A copy of Hamlet’s soliloquy or the actual play with this section bookmarked
  • Illumination of the soliloquy in Hamlet 3.1
  • Access to Photo Story 3 Program
  • We recommend you download Windows Media Player 11-see link below.

Paper copy or self-made story board (recommended)

Hamlet's soliloquy
Windows Media Player 11
What To Do

Day 1

Introduce the soliloquy as a literary device (definition, purpose [both dramatic and literary])


1. With the students, read and analyze Hamlet’s soliloquy in 3.1 of the play.  The essential question should be about how Hamlet views his or our collective human experience, and whether or not his claims are still valid today.

2. Demonstrate the Photo Story 3 Illuminated Text model of the soliloquy.  With the students, analyze how the Illuminated Text’s creator interpreted and applied the original text (through the use of contemporary images, highlighted words and background music).


Day 1 Homework or Day 2 Class Activity

Instruct students to write their own soliloquies, either as dramatic speeches or poems (minimum of 10 lines), about contemporary life for themselves and/or their society. 

Students may chose a monologue or a soliloquy for their wriiten work and subsequent illumination. Have  students justify and explain their decision to either address their speeches to an audience or to themselves. 


Day 2 Homework or Day 3 Class Activity/Homework

Instruct students to use Photo Story 3 to illuminate their soliloquy.  [Demonstating how to use Photo Story 3 may take an additional class period, and keep in mind that some students may request more time to acquire appropriate images and soundtracks for their project]. It is strongly recommended that time is spent familiarizing students with  the concept of a story board. This will help students to think of images they would like to use to illuminate their text. The story may also help students remain focused on completing the task, especially if they are allotted time to search online for images/soundtracks.





How Did It Go?

Work will be formally or informally assessed (at teacher’s discretion).  The written personal narrative, along with the students’ reflection of whether or not to write for an audience or themselves, may be graded separately or as a part of the completed illuminated text project.  The teacher may also want to develop a rubric collaboratively with students, to grade each segment individually or as a complete project.


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.

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2 CommentsOldest | Newest

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  Common Core State Standards

There are no standards associated with this Lesson Plan.
How To

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.

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