English 11 Honors hosts ‘Hamlet’ discussion with Shakespeare professor

December 10, 2022 — by Jonny Luo and Victoria Hu
Photo by Allison Tan
Juniors listen to Professor Warren as he discusses Shakespeare’s “Hamlet.”
Around 25 juniors attended the event and listened to Professor Emeritus Michael Warren from UC Santa Cruz.

English 11 Honors teachers hosted Professor Emeritus Michael Warren on Dec. 8 to help students better understand Shakespeare’s message, themes and background in “Hamlet,” the play they are currently reading in class. 

English 11 Honors teachers Natasha Ritchie and Amy Keys invited Warren to speak, as they have in past years before the pandemic. Ritchie, who took classes from Warren at UC Santa Cruz, hosted the discussion in Room 002 after 6th period. Warren has been coming to the school to discuss Shakespeare for the past decade. 

He covered topics such as character motivations and development, differences between versions of the play and language tricks Shakespeare employed. 

“I admire immensely what [the teachers and I] do here,” Warren said. “The fact that there is a school in which a group of students as large as this will stay for an extra hour of class to talk about Shakespeare is something I’m profoundly grateful for, and I have to say, it has given me hope for the future.”

Warren has been studying Shakespeare for more than 70 years. Students like junior Riya Jwalanna appreciated the insight they gained from his perspective, which provided more nuanced context on how social factors in Elizabethan England motivated Shakespeares’ decisions.

“The way he spoke didn’t feel like it was in a classroom, and I felt like I was in a college presentation,” Jwalanna said. “He had a lot of explanation and great insight past the questions we asked, and I thought it was a great event.”

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