Scene i: we will read this one together. Notice the king’s response to the news of Polonius’ death.
Scene ii: We will watch this one. Pay careful attention to the sponge metaphor.
Scene iii: We will watch this one, too. Note Hamlet’s baiting of the king, his reference to heaven and hell, and the king’s last lines about England.
Scene iv: We will skip this one. Basically, Fortinbras (remember him?) is waging a war that, on paper, he cannot win. News of this will drive Hamlet into action. What? A question from the audience? Shocking.
Curious student: I’m curious. Why are we skipping this scene?
Mr. Pedrech: Well, many productions skip this bit, too. In fact, those productions often leave Fortinbras out of the story entirely. I think you will see why when we get to Act V.
Scene v: In this crucial scene, we learn that Ophelia has gone mad because of her father’s death at the hands of Hamlet. Those examining the play through a feminist lens will find this scene most compelling: remember that while both characters have faced similar struggles, Hamlet is acting mad, but Ophelia is truly mad. We will act out the remaining lines.
Scene vi: We will skip this one, too. Basically, Horatio receives a letter from Hamlet explaining that the Prince is on is way back to Denmark, but his “friends” Rozencrantz and Guildenstern are still on their way to England. Odd.