Hamlet: Prince of Denmark by William Shakespeare

118 TUTOR: Fleur Lloyd

"Haste me to know't; that I, with wings as swift/ As meditation or the thoughts of love,/ May sweep to my revenge”

Hamlet is Shakespeare's most popular, but 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. Its fascination, however, lies in its uncertainties. Who is the Ghost-Hamlet's father demanding justice, a tempting demon, or an angelic messenger? Was Gertrude his mother, unfaithful to her husband and complicit in his murder? Does Hamlet go mad, or does he merely adopt madness as a guise? And why does he not act? This is just a glimpse of the conflict we will explore.

2 AM
AM course

Course Notes

Hamlet was written by William Shakespeare sometime between 1599 and 1601. It is Shakespeare's longest play, with 29,551 words. As we read it therefore, it may be necessary to excise some of the text. However, not the wonderful soliloquies, which do not interrupt the plot, but instead highlight each block of action, developing the revelation of Hamlet's view of what is "rotten in the state of Denmark."

Every great male and female actor longs to play this role. Frances De La Tour, recalled, on the night of her last performance, that she was devastated at the thought of never having the opportunity to say those wonderful lines again.

A recent play, The Motive and The Cue by Jack Throne, reimagines the time when John Gielgud directed Richard Burton in a Broadway production at the Lunt-Fontanne Theatre in 1964-65, the longest-running Hamlet in the U.S. to date. The play reveals how every Hamlet is unique. It presented the audience with just the moments of high drama and left us longing to see the whole play.

To this end, we shall all have a chance to read aloud - although this is not compulsory -to explore interpretations and to unpack difficulties in the text. If time permits, we will view extracts from film and television versions.

NB. MCSS will provide you with copies of the text as it is important that we are all reading from the same pages.

Course Tutor

Fleur Lloyd

About Fleur


Fleur Lloyd Tutor has worked in the theatre as well as teaching both literature, drama and creative writing in schools, colleges and universities. She has taught creative writing and Literature courses at Marlborough Summer School for 17 years and in 2022, she gave a lecture on Desert Island Poems and her book "Just Write” was published. Last year her lecture was on Poetry for all Seasons.




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