Shakespeare’s ‘Hamlet’


I am embarking on a free six-week programme online, starting today, which explores Shakespeare’s most famous play, Hamlet. In the year of his 450th birthday, Shakespeare’s Globe, in London, have declared that Hamlet will be touring every single country in the world, over the span of two years, in a celebration of the travelling companies (of which we see in the play itself) that travelled from country to country in Shakespeare’s day.

The course I am taking part in is a Future Learn course run by the University of Birmingham called Shakespeare’s Hamlet: text, performance, and culture (there is still time to sign up!). Each week we are given videos, articles and questions to consider based on areas such as the publishing history of the play, it’s genre as a revenge tragedy, the medical and psychological thinking related to Hamlet and even what it might mean for a woman to play Hamlet (which I am particularly looking forward to). Already the course has started off on an interesting note regarding the different text versions of the play that exist and which is truest to Shakespeare’s original, and the different performances of Hamlet that exist.

I am really looking forward to delving more into Shakespeare’s Hamlet over the next six weeks, I am hoping that it will be a fairly relaxed and leisurely course (it does say only four hours of work a week is required) and that I will learn even more about a play I have studied immeasurably over the years. I am hoping to buy tickets to see Hamlet at the globe this summer (they are released tomorrow) and I am also keeping my eyes peeled for the London stage production of Hamlet in the autumn which stars Benedict Cumberbatch, who I can imagine will make an excellent Hamlet, so this course will be an excellent refresher if I do manage to nab some tickets!


6 Replies to “Shakespeare’s ‘Hamlet’”

  1. I almost signed up for this one, but I made the silly mistake of singing up for three later in Feb and march so decided not to overload myself.

    Hope you continue to enjoy it! I look forward to reading your thoughts on Hamlet.

  2. I’m wondering how you’re finding the course now that we have had the second week. Have you taken any of the Coursera courses? In comparison I’m finding myself very disappointed by FutureLearn who don’t seem to offer anything like the amount of material or go into the subjects in anything like the same depth. Birmingham is my university so I was really hoping that there would be a bit more substance in this, especially as I know how brilliant the lecturers actually are. But, knowing that there is at least one true genius there I might be expecting too much.

    1. To be honest I haven’t had a chance to look at week 2 yet! I felt that we could have been given more information or links so we could have the opportunity to find out more if we wanted to in the first week. I have never done a coursera course so I have nothing to compare this to.

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