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Hamlet: The Perfect Play to Teach

Complexity, Action, Romance...


Which of Shakespeare's plays is your favorite to teach? These three high school teachers make the case for Hamlet as the perfect play for high school students. Finding relatable moments and suiting the action to the word through performance will bridge the gap between students and Shakespeare.


"It's a play about uncertainty, a play about taking action when you don't want to, about finding meaning when you lose faith," says Charlene Beh.


"In a time of very impulsive action for students," says Jill Burdick-Zupancic, "I think Hamlet offers an opportunity to look at things that happen if you act in the complete opposite of that, which is Hamlet's inaction."


According to Emily Tuckman, when students relate on an emotional level to the characters they're studying, they find themselves wanting to learn even more. Students can put themselves into Hamlet and Ophelia's shoes, for example, because they can feel many of the characters' same conflicts and passions, even if the context is different.


Hamlet is considered to be Shakespeare's most popular play. Scholars and Actors alike return to it time and again for philosophical and emotional engagement and connect with the timeless thoughts captured there. How often have your students felt the way Hamlet or Ophelia feel? What can we learn from their actions?












Secondary School Shakespeare Festival

Teacher Resources

Study Guide: Hamlet

Teaching Hamlet Resources from Folger Education

Hamlet: Insider's Guide

Teacher Talk

The play has “enough language and plot ambiguity that there are so many different readings of it. That makes it interesting to secondary students.”


~Jill Burdick-Zupancic

Thomas Jefferson High School for Science and Technology

Alexandria, VA

"There's so much about performance... all these things students can do to think about how they would perform those moments from Hamlet."


~Charlene Beh

Newton North High School

Newtonville, MA

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