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IOC Hamlet Critical Perspective help

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Hi Guys, so my IOC is not far away and Hamlet may in fact be one of my passages. Now the problem which I am having is based upon the way in which i should approach studying the text, as I have had to different English teachers (last one left last year) with two different approaches.

Now last year my English teacher dedicated 80% of our Hamlet lessons on its interpretations and criticisms. By this I mean ;

- Religion: catholicism vs protestantism

- Philosophical: Renaissance and humanist views

- Feminist

- Psychoanalytical: inability to make decisions- views from Coleridge, etc

- Dramatic structure: Aristotle's tragic hero

However, our new teacher is more interested in the passage itself and its significance WITHIN the play, not what Shakespeare was trying to convey during this time. So obviously i must explore the passage itself and the themes it encompasses, however how important is it to talk about such interpretations and criticisms? And if very, then how far to i analyze the passage in that perspective? E.g the tomb imagery within the Grave Digger scene and its symbol of the glory of language.


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I luckily got a Hamlet soliloquy for my IOC instead of one of the awful novels. Since the IOC is mostly about the passage and how it fits in with the rest of the play, I would not worry too much about outside interpretations and criticisms. They can be a way to enhance your IOC and fill some time if it comes to it, though. If you want to insert criticism, do it where it's relevant. If you were discussing a certain theme and you read a criticism or took notes on something you could spend a couple of seconds talking about that. Don't go something like "language is very important in this scene and it's a symbol of madness and then Aristotle thinks Hamlet is a hero." Instead say something more along the lines of "This symbol is representative of ______, showing ______. In one interpretation of the play the critic ____ believes that Hamlet's inability to make decisions is due to ______, which can be seen through __________. Now onto the next point..." Your teacher also might ask you a question on the passage where you could draw from your interpretation and criticism knowledge, and you could shine there :)

Good luck!

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