Activity Overview

As students read, a storyboard can serve as a helpful character reference log. This log (also called a character map) allows students to recall relevant information about important characters. When reading a play, small attributes and details frequently become important as the plot progresses. With character mapping, students will record this information, helping them follow along and catch the subtleties which make reading more enjoyable!

Using a character map for Shakespeare is often even more beneficial. It also allows students to record the nuances of characteristics which create "foil" characters. The information that they record will help them to return and review personalities that contrast. The ability to visually see this helps students create connections and makes understanding concepts easier.

Hamlet Characters

King HamletThe Ghost
Prince HamletThe Protagonist
ClaudiusHamlet's uncle and current King of Denmark
GertrudeHamlet's mother
HoratioHamlet's best friend, they studied together at the university
PoloniusLord Chamberlain, Laertes and Ophelia's father
OpheliaPolonius's daughter, courting Hamlet
LaertesOphelia's brother
Rosencrantz and GuildensternCourtiers and former friends of Hamlet, who spy on him for Claudius
OsricA servant, summons Hamlet and Laertes to a duel
FrotinbrasKing of Norway
ReynaldoPolonius’ servant sent to France to spy on Laertes

Template and Class Instructions

(These instructions are completely customizable. After clicking "Copy Activity", update the instructions on the Edit Tab of the assignment.)

Student Instructions

Create a character map for the major characters.

  1. Identify the major characters in Hamlet and type their names into the different title boxes.
  2. Choose a character from the "Medieval" tab to represent each of the literary characters.
    • Select colors and a pose appropriate to story and character traits.
  3. Choose a scene or background that makes sense for the character.
  4. Fill in Textables with Plot Details, Characterization, Motives, Friends, and Enemies.

Lesson Plan Reference

Common Core Standards
  • [ELA-Literacy/RL/11-12/3] Analyze the impact of the author’s choices regarding how to develop and relate elements of a story or drama (e.g., where a story is set, how the action is ordered, how the characters are introduced and developed)
  • [ELA-Literacy/RL/11-12/5] Analyze how an author’s choices concerning how to structure specific parts of a text (e.g., the choice of where to begin or end a story, the choice to provide a comedic or tragic resolution) contribute to its overall structure and meaning as well as its aesthetic impact
  • [ELA-Literacy/RL/11-12/6] Analyze a case in which grasping a point of view requires distinguishing what is directly stated in a text from what is really meant (e.g., satire, sarcasm, irony, or understatement)


(You can also create your own on Quick Rubric.)

Character Map Template
Create a character map of the characters in the story. Put the character's name in the title boxes and choose a character and scene to represent each one. As you read, take notes on the characters by answering the questions.
33 Points
25 Points
17 Points
Character Picture & Scene
The characters and scenes are both appropriate for the book's characters.
Many of the characters and scenes match the book's characters.
More than half of the characters and scenes do not match the characters in the book.
Accuracy of Notes
Most of the information of the notes is correct.
Many of the notes have correct information, but some are incorrect or missing.
Less than half of the information of the notes is correct and relevant.
Work is complete, thorough, and neat.
Most of the sections of the character map were at least attempted and work is presentable.
Character map is unfinished and/or disorganized.

How To Analyze Foil Characters Using a Character Map


Introduce the Concepts

Teachers can begin by explaining the concept of foil characters and character maps. They can also introduce the significance of both concepts and how they can be used to gain a deeper understanding of fictional characters in literature.


Divide Into Groups

Divide the class into groups and ask them to pick a pair of foil characters to represent from the selected text. These characters ought to be distinctly different from one another in a way that adds to the story's themes, conflicts, or takeaways.


Examine Each Foil Character Separately

Analyze each foil character separately to start. Focus on the characteristics, drives, connections, and momentous occasions that shaped each character's personality and behavior as you fill in their parts on the character map.


Find Differences and Similarities

After you've finished analyzing each character individually, list the precise differences and similarities between the two characters. Talk about how these distinctions bring out important facets of each character and how they impact the themes or conflicts of the novel. These differences and similarities will be visible throughout the character map.


Summarize and Discuss

Synthesize the results from the character map to conclude the analysis. In light of the story's wider themes, messages, and character relationships, discuss the significance of the foil character duo.

Frequently Asked Questions About Character Map for The Tragedy of Hamlet

Which "Hamlet" Characters Suit Foil Analysis Using a Character Map?

Hamlet and Laertes, Hamlet and Fortinbras, and Hamlet and Claudius are some good examples of foil character pairs for character map analysis in "Hamlet." The investigation of concepts like vengeance, power, and morality is made richer by these pairs' dissimilar traits and motivations.

What Other Elements of "Hamlet" Can You Examine Using a Character Map?

A character map for "Hamlet" can be used to examine character changes, motivations, relationships (such as Hamlet's interactions with Ophelia and Gertrude), and the influence of the cultural setting on character behavior in addition to contrasts between foil characters.

What Connection Exists Between the Themes of "Hamlet" and Character Map Analysis?

Themes from "Hamlet," such as the intricacy of human nature, retribution, betrayal, and the effects of inaction, are intimately related to character map analysis. Students can better comprehend how these ideas are developed and expressed throughout the play by analyzing the traits and behaviors of the characters.

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