Hamlet’s Soliloquies: Method and Madness

Is Hamlet truly mad, mad by design—or both? Shakespeare poses this question early on in the play and then leads his audience on an adventurous five-act journey into the ebbs and flows of Hamlet’s inner life. Looking closely at Hamlet’s several soliloquies, readers and actors alike discover explicit and implicit clues and cues for the character’s action—and inaction. In three 90-minute class meetings we will analyze the soliloquies line-by-line and moment-by-moment to discover how the character shifts in mood and thought. To see how some of the more famous actors have arranged and rearranged the soliloquies, the class will compare excerpts from films of Hamlet, featuring such actors as Laurence Olivier, Derek Jacobi, Kevin Kline, and Ethan Hawke.

Instructor: Gay Smith

Three Tuesdays:
6:00-7:30pm in the Butterfield Room
September 14, 21, 28

Gay Smith

Smith is professor of theater emeritus at Wesleyan. She is the author of most recently published Lady MacBeth in America, From the Stage to the Whitehouse, and seminal books on George Sand’s theatre career and has worked as a dramaturge for more thn 30 years with the O’Neill National Playwrights’ Conference, Denver Performing  arts Center, Padua hills Playwrights in Los angeles, and 7-Devils in McCall, Idaho. She is currently working on an anthology entitled Irish Plays and Politics.