Prologue This project was created within a senior World Literature class at Plymouth South High School in Plymouth, Massachusetts. The objective of reading this play was to further our understanding of Shakespeareâ€™s work. Our class project on this play was to create a collaborative graphic novel. After reading every act, the class split into groups to pull out significant points and sketched out a basic idea of what the scenes should look like. Then the illustrator would gather up the scenes to finalize them, i.e. work out minor details and grammatical errors. Also the illustrator would sketch them out, and ink over them. For the layout of the scenes, the illustrator created a basic layout in AutoCAD (computer aided drafting), to help organize the key points throughout the play. When the graphic panels were completed, the editors scanned the originals onto Adobe Acrobat Pro and designed what the graphic novel layout should look like. The editors used the snipping tool to get an enhanced image quality. By choosing the placement and size of each image we were able to emphasize crucial events in the story. Each act was laid out on a Word document. While the editors worked on the layout, the rest of the class created summaries of each act and were added to the images. Then the final product was saved as PDF files merged together. Finally, we uploaded the final PDF to www.issuu.com.
Act One In Act 1, scene 1 of William Shakespeare’s Hamlet, the guards of the palace are having a late night conversation. King Hamlet has just recently died (in actuality, he was murdered by his brother Claudius, who soon after took over his Kingdom and married his wife – this is not known by the kingdom at large yet!). The palace guards think that they are seeing a ghost who they believe to be the spirit of King Hamlet. The guards then debate whether or not to tell Prince Hamlet about his father’s ghost. During Act 1 we also see Hamlet and Claudius’ first interaction, where we become familiar with Shakespeare’s many puns. We then move on to Hamlet’s first soliloquy, where he expresses his pain for his father’s death as well as his anger and desperate want for revenge. Next, before Laertes leaves for college in France, he and Polonius lecture Ophelia concerning Hamlet and tell her to break up with him. They are concerned about his intentions and that it would be in her best interest to leave him. Ophelia then listens to their advice, and Laertes leaves the scene, ending Act 1.
Act 2 Summary Hamlet, after the dreadful breakup, ventures off to Ophelia’s bedroom where he is overcome by love madness. He grabs her by the wrist and looks upon her face for a long time. Then he lets her go and walks out her bedroom still setting a gaze upon her. Ophelia conveys this awkward moment to Polonius and tells him how Hamlet reacted to Ophelia’s sudden break up. Polonius contemplates to tell this uncanny incidence to Claudius. In the meantime Claudius and Gertrude send Rosencrantz and Guildenstern to spy on Hamlet’s recently odd behavior. Hamlet suspects immediately that Rosencrantz and Guildenstern were sent to look after him. Finally Polonius explained his theory to Claudius about how Hamlet’s behavior may have been impacted by the break-up between Hamlet and Ophelia. Even though Claudius does not believe in Polonius’s judgment about Hamlet, he still makes up his mind to spy on Hamlet with Polonius by his side. Now Hamlet listens to a speech done by one of the actors that portrayed a nephew avenging his father’s murderer which was similar to Hamlet’s and Claudius’s situation. Hamlet realized how he has not fully attained the emotional magnitude that he should have felt as the way the actor did. Hamlet develops a plan in which he asks the players to perform the significant play of “The Murder of Ganzago.” This play will help Hamlet determine if Claudius really murdered his brother or not.
Act Three Starting the scene Rosencrantz and Guildenstern are giving their report to King Claudius saying that Hamlet outsmarted them. Then Claudius talks to Gertrude about Hamlet and what he has been doing lately. Later, the King and Polonius hide and wait to see what he’ll say to Ophelia. Hamlet says his infamous “To be or not to be” soliloquy before coming in to talk to her. He debates life and death and whether it is better to live with what he is going through or throw it all away. Then, Ophelia comes in and Hamlet starts talking crazy. He talks about how he never actually loved her and how she should become a nun, which could be a pun for a whore. Afterwards Hamlet exits; Claudius and Polonius come out and Ophelia says that Hamlet has gone crazy, but Claudius has doubts. Later Hamlet runs into a troupe of actors. After talking with them for a while he comes up with a plan to prove Claudius’s terrible action. His plan is to have a play shown that mimics how Claudius killed Hamlet’s father. As it works, Claudius erupts and storms out of the show. Claudius confesses in a soliloquy to killing the previous King. Hamlet says he can’t kill him right then because if he did, Claudius would be sent to heaven for praying and asking for forgiveness. After that Hamlet goes to talk to his mother, the Queen. Unknown to him Polonius is spying. Hamlet actually gets somewhat violent with Gertrude. When she yells for help Polonius accidentally responds and Hamlet stabs him through the curtain. Once Hamlet and Gertrude are done talking, Hamlet leaves, dragging the body in tow.
Act Four Act Four begins with Gertrude telling Claudius about her meeting with Hamlet, how Hamlet was very aggressive towards her and that Hamlet has killed Polonius. After hearing this, Claudius decides to stick with his plan to send Hamlet to England and now he has a probable reason. Claudius sends Rosencrantz and Guildenstern to find Polonius’s body but when they asked Hamlet where he had put the body, Hamlet will not give them a straight answer. Hamlet goes on to explain that it doesn’t matter if you’re a king or a beggar once you die; status doesn’t matter anymore. Everything is now ready for Hamlet to be shipped to England. However, Claudius is hesitant about how to send Hamlet away and doesn’t know how the public or Gertrude will handle it. Hamlet is loved by the public and Claudius does not want to risk how the public feels about him by treating Hamlet poorly. With this Claudius plans to send him away but he will also be sending a letter to the king of England to have Hamlet killed upon arrival. Before Hamlet gets on the ship he runs into Fortinbras and his army marching through Denmark to attack Poland. Hamlet talks to Fortinbras and finds out that the land they are fighting for is almost worthless and really small, almost pointless to fight for, so Fortinbras’ captain explains. This really motivates
Hamlet to think that about how these men fighting for nothing can kill, and risk being killed. Why can’t he kill Claudius, when he has such good reason -- his father’s death. Here, for the first time in the play Hamlet really seems ready to go; this is the most driven for revenge he has been. Meanwhile, Laertes has returned back to Denmark because he has heard of his father’s death. He and his sister Ophelia are having a very hard time with this. Laertes demands for revenge on Hamlet and Ophelia starts to go crazy, dancing and singing everywhere. As this is going on, Hamlet is sneaking back to Denmark with no one’s acknowledgement, to finally act on his plan to take Claudius’s life. This act ends with Ophelia being found in a river; she has drowned from her clothes being extremely heavy. Many believe that it was not accidental but a suicide because of the way Ophelia had been acting about her father’s death
Act Five In the beginning of Act Five, two gravediggers are discussing Ophelia`s death. People are debating whether or not she deserves a Christian burial because people think she committed suicide and that is believed by many to be against the law of God. Hamlet watches as the gravediggers dig up existing graves, disturbed about the digging up of the skulls because it is done so impersonally. Hamlet discovers that this particular gravedigger has been digging graves since the day Hamlet was born, pointing to some of the existential themes of the play. Later on, in the same graveyard, Hamlet and Laertes are fighting about who loved Ophelia more; the fight occurs right at her grave! Hamlet reports to Horatio that he discovered that Rosencrantz and Guildenstern were spying on him. Hamlet switched the letter ordering his death with one that would order theirs. Meanwhile, Laertes and Claudius have plotted how to allow Laertes to get his revenge on Hamlet, while still making his death look accidental. They will set up a fencing match between the two, but ensure that Laertes’ sword is sharp (not dull) and poisoned; Claudius will also have a cup of poison nearby as a back-up plan. Hamlet gets the first hit. Gertude drinks the poison (unknowningly) as a tribute to her son’s fencing skills. Then, Hamlet is hit by Laertes’ poisoned sword, but, in the scuffle that follows, he ends up with Laertes’ sword, with which he hits Laertes – both are now poisoned. Hamlet has been slain and nothing can make him better. Horatio’s mission is to tell Hamlet’s story to the people of Denmark. At the end of the scene we are informed that Rosencrantz and Guildenstern are indeed dead, and that Hamlet gives his “dying voice” to Fortinbras as the predicted future leader of Denmark
Credits Illustrator Andralynn J.
Editors Leslie B. Ashley O. Megan W. Ms. Bettencourt Mr. Kulowiec
Writers and Contributors Sammy A.
R. J. C.