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THA 251: Hamlet: Home


Your Assignment

Your group is a team of dramaturgs, whose job it is to do research for a theatre company and director planning a production of Hamlet.  

There is a big divide between those who see Hamlet’s madness as merely an act, and those who see it as a real madness.  

Your job is to support your position, completing the specific investigations below, and preparing a presentation to the production team, which will take place on March 1.  

Assign these roles within your group: 

Taskmaster: who makes sure all parts of the assignment are completed. 

Scribe: Takes notes on the process of the group using the template.  Also turns in a list of names with assigned roles noted on it.  

Whip: Keeps everyone on task.  Brings group focus back when it wanders 

Standards-bearer: assures that the quality is high.  Questions whether your group can do better.

Your group needs to find answers in these three areas, and turn in, typed, the required writing and bibliographic information:

  • Textual Discrepencies
  • Design/Visuals
  • Production Reviews

F1 & Q2

F1 and Q2

Online Digitized Versions of Q2 and F1: FireFox works best

Physical books in Murphy

There are two places where you can find facsimiles of Q2 and F1 in the 2nd floor stacks of Murphy Library.

  • In the oversize collection browse the call numbers: PR2751 
  • in the regular stacks browse the same call numbers.

    Another helpful source is this book: The Shakespeare first folio: its bibliographical and textual history. W. W. Greg (Walter Wilson), 1875-1959.Reference Compact (in the basement) Z8811 .G74 

To do

I. Textual discrepancies

Explanation: The Second Quarto (Q2) edition of Hamlet, published from 1604-1605, and the edition of Hamlet contained in the First Folio (F1) of Shakespeare’s Comedies, Histories, & Tragedies, published in 1623, are the two main sources editors consult when compiling their editions of Hamlet, as do theatre professionals when contemplating a production. These two texts do not always agree with each other.

Assignment: Find the following three textual discrepancies between the First Folio (F1) and the Second Quarto (Q2) of Hamlet.

1.  Act II, scene ii

Q2 omits 32 F1 lines betweenHamlet’s line:  “Then is doomsday near.  But your news is not true.”


Hamlet’s line:  “But, in the beaten way of friendship, what make you at Elsinore?”  

2. Act III, scene iv 


Q2 omits Hamlet’s line (within):  “Mother, Mother, Mother!”

has his entrance two lines earlier than the F1 edition.

3. Act III, scene iv 

F1 omits 9 Q2 lines between Gertrude’s line:  “Alack, I had forgot.  ‘Tis so concluded on.” 


Hamlet’s line:  “This man shall set me packing.”

Make an argument for using either the F1 or Q2 version of these passages of text based on how they support your production’s position on Hamlet’s madness.  In each case, analyze how the differences in the text would affect how the scene plays, and, in turn, how it affects Hamlet’s character in regard to madness.  

Turn in: 3-4 sentences for each discrepancy listed above, describing the main idea your group has about that discrepancy and its effect.


Library Databases

Google Image Search

Search hamlet danish castle using Google images, then limit the results to interiors


Change the words and see other results. 

Example: interior medieval castle northern europe gives results with more of a Hamlet ambience. 


Send Me: San Fransisco Modern Art Museum

Text an emotion and receive an image of a piece of art back. The San Francisco Museum of Modern Art has invited people to text the number 57251 with the phrase “send me” followed by a word or an emoji — "send me a robot", for instance. 

The museum texts back with a related image from its collection. Try it!

Click here for an article from the NY Times.

Then, let's share! Using Yogile, a photo sharing thing-y, upload the images that you receive by following these steps:

1. Email them to

Online Resources

Costumes & Fashion Images

Looking for more books with visual images?  Try a subject browse search in the Library Catalog for stage props (or browse the shelves at PN 2091), a subject search for castles, or browse our art collection in the "N" section on the library's 2nd floor (don't forget many art books are in the oversize collection).

More Costumes and Fashion!

Production Reviews

Production Reviews

Print Indexes to Finding Play Reviews

Database Reviews

Theatre Review Journals

Several older journals (available in bound/compact periodicals or on microfilm) include reviews:

  • Dial (API Ser.2 Reel 546: v.1(1840)-v.4(1844), 1911-1929  Indexed by Readers Guide
  • Christian Century  (1937-1938 and 1943-1966 Bound, 1939-1942 and 1967-2002 MF. Indexed by Readers Guide 
  • Literary Digest (Microfilm: v.1(1890)-v.75(1922); Bound v.76(1923)-v.125(1938) Bound. Indexed by Readers Guide
  • Theatre (Bound v.17(1913)-v.26(1917)) Murphy does not own an index. Readers Guide does not index this title.
  • Theatre Magazine (Bound v.26(1917)-v.52(1930)) Murphy does not own an index. Readers Guide does not index this title.

Search Tips

When searching the Historical New York Times for reviews, here is a tip that will help keep your search words intact. In the search box, type the following:

hamlet near/5 stage theater theatre

The "near/5" tells the database that you want the words that follow (stage, theater, theatre) to be within 5 words of hamlet.

MLA Citation