Surfing with the Bard Lesson Plans

Hamlet Relationship Role Plays
Submitted by:  Amy Ulen and Erik Johnke
Date:  August 16, 2003

Objective:   To help students to connect the scene with their own personal experience(s) or that of people they know.

Materials:  III.i.88-163, pen and paper


  1. Divide students into as many male/female pairs as possible.
  2. Have couples create a romantic relationship history between Harrison and Olivia.  Students should be as specific as possible:
    • How did you meet?
    • What do you like about each other?
    • What is your song?
    • What do you do together?
    • Etc.
  3. Set the scene by telling the students that Olivia and Harrison are two teens who have been in love for a long time.  Olivia's parents are opposed to the relationship and want her to break up with Harrison.  Harrison's friends think he should dump Olivia before he "gets hurt."
  4. Role-plays
    • Olivia's parents confront her about her relationship with Harrison.
    • Harrison's friends confront him about Olivia.
    • Harrison and Olivia try to break up with each other.
  5. Acting III.i.88-163
    • Pairs will join to form groups of four.
    • One pair will act the scene while the other pair feeds-in the lines.
    • After both pairs have had an opportunity to act the scene, ask for volunteers to share the scene with the whole class.
  6. Class Discussion
    • Discuss the similarities and differences between the role play and scene.
    • Discuss "honesty" in this scene.
    • Discuss "farewells" in this scene.
    • How would Ophelia be different if she were alive today?
  7. Homework ~ Re-read the scene and write an entry in either Hamlet's or Ophelia's journal about this experience.



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