Hamlet Dramaturgy

Informing Bethany Lutheran College's Spring 2013 Production. Shows at: April 19, 20, 26, 27 at 7:30pm and April 21 at 2pm

Resources/Places to Reference

This is just a selection of some material on Hamlet. Many sources are referenced in the blog itself, but I certainly have more sources that just haven’t made their way into something yet. Feel free to ask about any of it.

I have all except the marked resources in print format, if you would like to borrow my copy,  or if you’re interested in reading on other themes in Shakespeare or “Hamlet” I can give you some reading material. Feel free to email me at: Lydia.Grabau@blc.edu

On Performing Shakespeare:

“Speaking Shakespeare” by Patsy Rodenburg

This book is particularly good for giving exercises to improve vocal performance. Rodenburg asserts many things I don’t necessarily agree with, but her work is valuable for understanding how best to perform the Bard’s work in the classical style. It’s definitely a worthwhile read if you have trouble performing the work or if you don’t know where to start with memorizing and performance.

“Clues to Acting Shakespeare” by Wesley Van Tassel

Van Tassel’s book is more approachable than Rodenburg’s in many ways. It’s a fairly quick read, and explains more about how to mentally approach preparing for the text.

“The Actor’s Guide to Performing Shakespeare: For Film, Television, and Theatre” by Madd Harold

This is by far the easiest read of the bunch, Madd Harold even breaks the book down into small sections so it’s easy to find exactly what you want in the contents and get to the material. Harold also spends considerable time discussing Hamlet in popular culture and how that affects performance.

“Perspectives on Shakespeare in Performance” by J.L. Stylan

Chapter 9 of this book is specifically on the performance of Hamlet and synthesizes many theorists on the topic. Interesting theories covered.


“Hamlet: Enter Critic” Edited by Claire Sacks and Edgar Whan

“The Meanings of Hamlet” by Paul Gottschalk.

“Twentieth Century Interpretations of Hamlet” Edited by David Bevington

“Hamlet’s Enemy: Madness and Myth in Hamlet” by Theodore Lidz

A collection of critical works written from Shakespeare’s contemporaries through 1957. Also, has a significant list of references that could be accessed for more research.

– Cambridge University Press’s Article on Performance and Criticism.

This article gives a broad overview of the various criticisms on Shakespeare’s work and performance. If you are thinking about getting into some more cerebral research, this might be a good place to start.

– “Olivier, Hamlet, and Freud” by Peter Donaldson.

– From the Journal of Ethics: “Hamlet” by Claude C. H. Williamson.

Williamson judges “Hamlet” as an intellectual work of art, and discusses the flaws in assessing many different theories.

– From the Journal of Speculative Philosophy “Hamlet” by D. J. Snider

This article addresses the many conflicting theories on “Hamlet” and the themes in Shakespeare’s tale.


– “Revenge, Honor, and Conscience in Hamlet” by Harold Skulsky.

– Catherine Belsey’s: “The Case of Hamlet’s Conscience” .

– “On Ophelia’s Madness” by Carroll Camden.

– “Hamlet’s ‘Too, Too Solid Flesh'” by R. Chris Hassel, Jr.

– “Hamlet and Counter-Humanism” by Ronald Knowles

– By Julie Maxwell: “Counter-Reformation Versions of Saxo: A New Source for Hamlet?”

– “Hamlet and Oedipus” by Ernest Jones

 Research on Shakespeare and his work: 

– “Shakespeare’s Ear” by Joel Fineman.

– “Space and Scrutiny in ‘Hamlet'” by Robert E. Wood.

– Mark Eccles’ “Recent Studies in Elizabethan and Jacobean Drama” .

– “Shakespeare’s Coriolanus: Elizabethan Soldier” by Paul A. Jorgensen.

– Cambridge University Press’s In-Depth Biography of William Shakespeare .

Character Research: Polonius 

Pregnant with Madness: Ophelia’s Struggle and Madness in Hamlet” by Yi-Chi Chen
Tragic Justice and the House of Polonius” by Myron Taylor
These are two poems about Polonius:
Polonius Watches Laertes Leave” by ARNO KARLEN
Polonius Ponders Words” by ARNO KARLEN
Characterization in Polonius’ Advice to Laertes” by Josephine Waters Bennet
Hamlet’s Polonius and Shakespeare’s‘” by Walter Gierasch
Polonius as an Adviser” by Robert G. Berkelman
Character Research: Horatio
Horatio: A Shakespearean Confidant” by Francis G. Schoff
Horatio, After the Death of Hamlet” by Robert Cooperman
Introduction to Horatio.
Horatio in Hamlet.
Character Research: Rosencrantz and Guildenstern
True Friends of Hamlet” by Alice Morgan
The ‘True Friends’ of Hamlet?” by Robert H. Morgan
Rosencrantz and Guildenstern” by Preserved Smith
A Note on Hamlet’s ‘I am Most Dreadfully Attended‘” by Derick R. C. Marsh
The ‘Letters Seal’d’ in ‘Hamlet’ and the Character of Claudius” by John M. Major
Hamlet and the Pirates: A Critical Reconsideration” by Martin Stevens
Rosencrantz and Guildenstern Character Analysis

Lydia Grabau, Dramaturg

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