learning goal: Is Hamlet “passion’s slave”?  How do you know?

In Act 3 Scene 4, Hamlet confronts his mother.

With a partner, or on your own, read this whole scene.  I recommend you use Shakespeare in Bits (see link and sign-in info on “Raw materials” page of this blog), but you decide what works best for you.  If you and a partner are inclined, you might try each taking one of these two roles and read the scene aloud together, at a volume that allows others to do this work, too.

After reading the scene, mark and be ready to explain lines that confirm or adjust the opinions of Hamlet you held before this scene.  Which of his qualities are reinforced and which contradicted by his behavior in this most heated of scenes?  Where produces the passion in his encounter?  To borrow from his words to Horatio, does this scene show Hamlet to be “passion’s slave”?  He has said to Horatio, “give me that man that is not passion’s slave and I will wear him to my heart’s core.”


Sorry I cannot be with you, but I am serving on a jury and will be gone at least through Tuesday.