The authoritative guide to teaching Shakespeare’s Hamlet, Shakespeare Set Free: Teaching Hamlet is an invaluable resource for teachers, students, and Shakespeare fans alike.
Hamlet is Shakespeare’s most popular and most puzzling play. It follows the form of a “revenge tragedy,” in which the hero, Hamlet, seeks vengeance against his father’s murderer, his uncle Claudius, now the king of Denmark. Much of its fascination, however, lies in its uncertainties.
Among them: What is the Ghost—Hamlet’s father demanding justice, a tempting demon, an angelic messenger? Does Hamlet go mad, or merely pretend to? Once he is sure that Claudius is a murderer, why does he not act? Was his mother, Gertrude, unfaithful to her husband or complicit in his murder?
Shakespeare Set Free: Teaching Hamlet breaks down the play in easy-to-understand sections and features essays from prominent Shakespeare scholars. This guide is an essential part of any teacher’s toolkit.
About the Author
Dr. Peggy O’Brien was named the Folger’s director of education in May 2013. A former Folger educator, she established the Library’s education philosophy and the bulk of its programs in the 1980s and led the department until 1994, when she left to become director of education programs for the Corporation for Public Broadcasting. Her long and distinguished career has brought her numerous awards and honors, including Doctor of Laws honoris causa from Trinity University, Doctor of Humane Letters honoris causa from Georgetown University, the Public Humanities Award from the DC Community Humanities Council, and the Folger Shakespeare Library’s 2008 Shakespeare Steward Award. Prior to her first appointment at the Folger, she spent a number of years teaching high school English in the DC Public Schools, and since then has taught undergraduate courses at Georgetown University.