My Take On Hamlet

The standard English classes at Leesville Road High School require students to read certain books. Through these books I've come to understand that reading them isn't as bad of an outcome as it may seem. (Photo courtesy of Cierra Short)

Throughout high school, students in every grade level must read an abundance of books for the standard English curriculum. Many times the books are not selections we students are prone for attraction. The books students must read are more of classics like To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee or The Great Gatsby by Scott Fitzgerald.

My freshman year of high school I recall reading A Raisin In The Sun by Lorraine Hansberry. The play, starring the Walter Younger and “Mama,” was my favorite. The story was very touching to me and truly had a story to tell.

Not all books I’ve come across thus far in high school have been as great of a read as A Raisin In The Sun. My sophomore year, I specifically remember the despise I felt when we would read Oedipus Rex. It seemed as if the play would never end, and I became very weary of the “tragic hero” plot theme.

William Shakespeare has been a huge part of the English curriculum due to his contributions to English literature through his dramas and plays. I first encountered Shakespeare my freshman year when as a class we read Romeo and Juliet by William Shakespeare.

In my opinion, the famous English writer can come across as very confusing and nerve-wracking. Although his works are very influential, I wouldn’t read them outside of the curriculum in school.

Recently in my senior English class we’ve explored the seventeenth century. William Shakespeare played a huge part of the seventeenth century and the making of “metaphysical poetry.” The idea of metaphysics is very evident in the famous Shakespeare work, Hamlet.

Through my journey of reading Hamlet, I can genuinely say Shakespeare had an abstract mind. If it weren’t for my English teacher, Mrs.Whitley, guiding me and my peers through the book, I would be lost and astray.

The book goes through a series of five acts starring the main character, Hamlet. Hamlet is the most obscure character I have encountered in my journey of reading. He is an emotional wreck, seeking to get revenge on his uncle for killing his father. He learned about his father’s death through an avenged version of his father’s ghost. Is it just me, or is that not weird?

In Denmark, Hamlet’s family dethrones royalty due to their family issues. The ideology of Hamlet as a character is still relevant in today’s century. There have been theories of Hamlet experiencing melancholy through the novel, but I would classify Hamlet as just depressed. I would say he is borderline bipolar, but who wouldn’t be with all the pressure on his shoulders.

I wouldn’t have been able to properly read and understand the play without Mrs. Whitley’s analysis. With her analysis, reading Hamlet in our English curriculum isn’t half as bad. Mrs. Whitley guided students through the book as a class and together we read aloud.

Specific students were assigned to a specific character as they read their scenes aloud. Every once in awhile, Mrs.Whitley would stop and explain what was happening in the scene. I found this method more useful then past experienced methods of just reading alone at home, then coming back the next day ready for a pop quiz. Instead of leaving her students astray to read for themselves, Mrs.Whitley included her students in our reading for a better understanding.

Through her teaching of Hamlet, Mrs.Whitley expressed enthusiasm every day to her students. This enthusiasm towards the text made Hamlet accessible and actually made my reading interesting. The Understanding of Hamlet comes easy to some students and difficult to others, but with Mrs. Whitley’s help, I was able to comprehend the context. With more teachers as intentional as Mrs. Whitley I’m sure students will see the true motives behind the books we read in school.


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