Hamlet in His Own Words: March 26-April 16

A Four Part Series with Alan Stanford
March 26-April 16, 2021 | 2pm ET*

*Please note – the US went through Daylight Savings Time on March 14, which may effect the live broadcast time for our International viewers.

MARCH 26 | Part 1: All Those Soliloquies | Watch Here
APRIL 2 | Part 2: Hamlet & His Mother | Watch Here
APRIL 9 | Part 3: Those We Hold Close | Watch Here
APRIL 16 | Part 4: What King is This | Watch Here

If asked to name any of Shakespeare’s plays, the average person will most surely have Hamlet in the top three. It is perhaps his most famous play, most studied play, and probably his most quoted – and misquoted.

No other character in Shakespeare is quite so self-analytical. Over the next four weeks, we are going to listen to Hamlet discussing and examining himself ‘in his own words.’ We will examine what he thinks of himself and his situation; what draws him towards and causes him to resist the actions that he must inevitably take to avenge his father’s murder. Join us each Friday as we travel with Hamlet from mild academic to almost a King.

This webinar series is free and appropriate for all ages. Join us Fridays from 2-3pm ET for these lively, interactive hours of discussion.


Hamlet is possibly the most famous (and possibly most dreaded) amongst students for his soliloquies. Those five speeches by which he tells us, and indeed himself, what he is thinking as his story unfolds. These soliloquies are remarkable on several levels. They are quite perfect in their use of language, in their succinctness, and their demonstration of the line of development in Hamlet’s character. In this week’s webinar, we will consider the level of inner understanding that Hamlet shows as he speaks both to himself and the audience as the play progresses.


Of all the relationships within the play, that between Hamlet and his mother, Gertrude, is the most complex. His love of her as his mother and his hatred of her betrayal of his father is a perpetual conflict for him. Added to this s the admonition by the ghost of his father that no harm nor blame should come to Gertrude. He becomes, in a sense and in his own mind, her defender, her confessor, her protector. This week we will examine this mother/son relationship in their own words. Shammen McCune* and Alec Silberblatt* will be joining us to bring the text to life.


Aside from Claudius and Gertrude, there are two characters most dominant in the effect they have on Hamlet. And they each have a very close, if profoundly different relationship with Hamlet.
The first is Horatio. Also ‘at school’ in Wittenberg, he comes to Elsinore to support his friend. He is the witness to all that befalls Hamlet. He acts as both a chorus to Hamlet’s actions and an ever-present commentator and questioner of Hamlet’s motives.

The other closeness is with Ophelia. Though we can never be too certain of the official level of their relationship, Ophelia is close enough to Hamlet to cause concern in both her father’s and her brother’s mind. This week we will listen to and examine the conversations between these couples, and welcome Lamar K. Cheston* and Allison Svagdis to the program.


As the play draws to its inevitable conclusion, Hamlet has changed from a mild academic to a man of action. He has been through the nightmares of the ghost of his father, the promise of vengeance, the killing of Polonius, the banishment, the discovery of his death sentence, the condemning of his former friends to death, and the death of his beloved Ophelia. And yet he demonstrates that he has grown in inner strength and a level of wisdom that supersedes all those around him. In our final webinar on Hamlet, we will hear him speak as the wise king he might have been. Alec Silberblatt* and Lamar K. Cheston* guest on this week’s program.