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ELEMENTS OF TRAGEDY IN HAMLET He is a nobleman revered by his countrymen who strives to alter the world around him Ultimately he must forfeit his own life to see justice done The plot that unfolds in Shakespeares drama includes politics murder and domestic strife HISTORICAL CONTEXT OF HAMLET Students will be interested to know that the story of Prince Hamlet was not original with Shakespeares version The basic plot was found in ancient stories which eventually made their way to Scandinavia specifically Denmark The Signet Classic edition contains more specific background on the origins of this story in A Note on the Sources of Hamlet and in Sylvan Barnets prefatory remarks Barnet also includes more general information about Shakespeare the Elizabethan theater and the various texts of Hamlet Suggested teaching strategies utilizing this information are included in the activities for use before reading the play SHAKESPEARES LANGUAGE The enormous contribution which William Shakespeare has made to the English language is evidenced in the volumes of scholarly endeavor devoted to his body of works and in the direct and indirect allusions to his words in contemporary language and culture A richness in imagery and an ability to tap the depths of meaning in every word make the reading of a Shakespearean play more than memorable ACTIVITIES FOR DISCOVERING AND APPRECIATING SHAKESPEARES LANGUAGE A list of possibilities follows Absent thee from felicity awhile V i All is not well I ii The bird of dawning singeth all night long I i Brevity is the soul of wit II ii Frailty thy name is woman I ii Give me that manThat is not passions slave III ii Give thy thoughts no tongue I iii How all occasions do inform against me IV iv I am sick at heart I i I could a tale unfold I v In my minds eye I ii It cannot come to good I ii It started like
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