This fun & engaging assignment is designed to heighten and enhance students’ analytical abilities by comparing protagonists from two dramas: William Shakespeare’s Hamlet and Aaron Sorkin’s The West Wing (“Two Cathedrals” episode). In lieu of a traditional writing assignment, this exercise encourages students to adopt the role of a music concert promoter for the “Princes & Presidents Tour” and create a poster featuring the two compelling characters, Hamlet and President Jed Bartlet. Students will choose one character as the headlining act (the most interesting) and the other as a featured performer, using the poster templates provided or creating their own design, and “argue” their position via the promotional language they employ.
This assignment can be used as a stand-alone assignment, combined with in-class discussion, or as a precursor to either a written essay or to the suggested larger team assignment, The Great Debate: Hamlet vs. Jed Bartlet (See separate lesson listing).
- It is recommended that students experience the Literary Analysis Meets The West Wing exercise (see separate listing) where they partake in general analysis of the “Two Cathedrals” episode. This will provide helpful context and equip students well for any future analysis or other pursuits related to these works and characters.
- This poster project assumes students have completed their reading/viewing of both Hamlet and The West Wing “Two Cathedrals” episode.
- The attached assignment handout and poster templates can be provided in hard copy or digital form. NOTE: The digital format allows students to type on the poster provided and pack more language into the poster space provided.
- This assignment should take 1-day (homework or in-class) and provide tangible fodder for a day of discussion or preparation for a larger team debate.