This lecture, sponsored by Sigma Tau Delta, uses the classic text by John Dover Wilson, What Happens in Hamlet, to initiate some important considerations on appreciating and teaching Hamlet. Attached as addenda 3 is a Handout which includes the list of soliloquies, keyed to act, scene, lines, as recorded in both the Riverside 2nd edition and Norton 3rd edition texts.
Wilson often gravitates to conundrums of the text. Is Hamlet fearing his own mental instability when he warns Marcellus and Horatio that he may put an "antic disposition" on? Why does Shakespeare give us two versions of an acted prologue, the first mimed in dumbshow? What is the full significance of Hamlet preventing Horatio from drinking from the poisoned cup?
In addition to Wilson's work, the lecture emphasizes the significant process of working through the play, soliloquy by soliloquy (credited to the example of Philip J. Finkelpearl). This essay hints at how the Q1 (1603) so-called "bad" quarto of Hamlet is relevant to study of the play (also taken up elsewhere), especially as Stephen Greenblatt looks at the composition of this play in the arc of his earlier and later works in Will in the World.
Consideration of the importance of Horatio and the re-entrance of Fortinbras, are crucial to appreciate the full scope of a cathartic experience. This is demonstrated by reflecting on ways the Ingmar Bergman's world tour Hamlet, experienced at the Brooklyn Academy, June 1988, brings new and alarming stage interpretations to a comprehension of the text.
Gates, Joanne E. "What Happens (And Doesn't) In Hamlet (And Who Cares?)" Sigma Tau Delta Lecture for English Department, Jacksonville State University. Presented 2005.