This close reading assessment features 11 text-dependent, high-order questions to promote improved reading comprehension and analysis of Shakespeare’s Hamlet (Act 1, Scene 2). Hamlet’s first soliloquy is featured. By engaging in this exercise, students will analyze character motivations, examine word choice to discern meaning, draw logical inferences about the significance of given details, apply knowledge of literary devices (metaphor, hyperbole, and situational irony), and articulate ideas in writing with clarity and precision. An answer key with detailed rationale for each correct option is included, as are Word Document and PDF versions of the assessment.
This resource aligns well to Academic Literacy Project teaching principles. These worksheets serve well as the basis for small-group discussions. Through these discussions, students decode Shakespeare’s language and pose/respond to questions relating to plot, broad topics, and character development, demonstrating an ability to analyze how complex characters transform and advance the plot and themes by applying logic and citing compelling, meaningful textual evidence. They will also evaluate their peers’ reasoning and use of rhetoric to advance claims, clarifying or challenging unclear ideas. Using this resource for structured guidance, students, ultimately, will present information, conclusions, and supporting textual evidence clearly, concisely, and appropriately, thereby helping their peers – and teacher – comprehend their thinking.
In addition to helping students gain deeper understanding of the material and greater confidence in their ability to read and comprehend complex texts, this resource helps prepare students for ACT reading question types.
More specifically, questions pertain to the following:
- Citing textual evidence in support of a claim
- Analyzing character behaviors to draw logical inferences about character development and motivations
- Applying knowledge of figurative language and articulating rational interpretations
- Analyze complex vocabulary and phrasing in context to determine meaning and intended effect
- Analyze an excerpt to discern tone in context