ENG 4U: A Back-Channel for Hamlet

This image was found on Wikipedia. According to American and Canadian law, it is in the public domain.
This image was found on Wikipedia. According to American and Canadian law, it is in the public domain.

Please take out your devices and go to the website listed on the board.

Today, we are going experiment with back-channeling. Back-channeling is a way of tracking questions, comments, or issues from a group of people without disturbing the main discussion. We will use Today’s Meet to create a back-channel; you may post any of the following to our room:

  • questions about the action/dialogue
  • observations about what is happening
  • any predictions you may have about what might happen next

The Scenes

Yesterday, Horatio and company saw the ghost of Hamlet’s father. Recall that they decided to tell the young prince about what they saw.

Scene ii takes place in the Danish court. Claudius (Hamlet’s uncle) and Gertrude (Hamlet’s mother) are our hosts. Claudius  explains his marriage to the audience, and then addresses the issue of the pesky young Fortinbras (remember the young warrior who won’t leave Denmark alone). Laertes, a young student who is the son of Claudius’ key advisor, Polonius, asks to return home. Hamlet will approach the king and queen; we need to pay careful attention to the nature of their discussion.  Hamlet will be left alone; let’s see what happens. Finally, Horatio  arrives to share news of the ghost.

As we read through the scene, I’d like to watch for these particular lines:

Therefore our sometime sister, now our queen,
With mirth in funeral and with dirge in marriage,

A little more than kin, and less than kind.

Not so, my lord; I am too much i’ the sun.

 ’tis unmanly grief;


O, that this too too solid flesh would melt
Thaw and resolve itself into a dew!
Or that the Everlasting had not fix’d
His canon ‘gainst self-slaughter!


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