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Hamlet 1: His Father's Ghost

Hamlet returns home to find his father has died. Zimbabwean actor Tonderai Munyevu explains how Hamlet is about a man who has to figure out what happened while he was away.

Task 1

Task 2

Task 3

We use 'would' + infinitive to talk about habits and repeated actions in the past. Talking about his childhood in Zimbabwe, Tonderai remembers:

We always heard Shakespearean lines or words spoken without realising that they were Shakespearean. 'All that glitters is not gold' is something that we would say. 'Constant as the northern star' is something that we would say. 'To be or not to be' is something that we would say.

This meaning of 'would' is similar to 'used to'.


Task 4



Language level

Upper intermediate: B2


I do not understand why in this context, "would + verb" is used to describe something that has occurred in the past.

Hello Dieudonné,

In more technical terms, this is related to the use of 'will' to express habitual aspect; among other things, 'would' can be a past form of 'will', and so can be used to talk about past habitual actions.

In terms of learning to use English, though, I'd recommend that you just learn this as one of the uses of the modal verb 'would'. You can read a bit more about the tenses we most commonly use in this respect on our Talking about the past page.

Hope this helps.

All the best,


The LearnEnglish Team

very curious to know after this one part of hamlet why hamlet's uncle killed his father..would see in next one

I cannot play videos in this section, I get Connection Error. Some other content on this site works perfectly.

Hello Meg3

I'm sorry to hear that. Is the video still not working for you? It's working for me right now. If you can't see it, can you see any of our Starting Out videos? What about our Video zone videos?

In any case, I'd suggest trying a different web browser and/or using a different device to see if that solves the issue.

All the best


The LearnEnglish Team

nothing but his face looks scary==

'The Searchers' by John Ford is a great example of, in this case, an old soldier returning to his home. It is a western, so the story sets in the Old West in 19th century. As the title implies, it´s a search of a woman who was kidnapped by Comanches. She is a relative of the protagonist, so he and another man just travel around the arid landscape of the desert for years to find out the presence of the girl. For me, the western narratives are not interesting; actually, I prefer to focus on the narrative of the landscape, that Ford in this, and in many other films, express with a poetic sensitivity that describe perfectly the vast nature of United States. In a sense, The Searchers propose a reflection on redemption, self control, psychological troubles, of the main character, as in Hamlet, that is the perfect expression of the Self.

I was remembering about the sound of music movie that the girl is returning to your country to see if she was really prepared to be a nun, or to see the world and she could experiment and take some relationship. It is different story that, at the end they finally, fell in love, and get married.

Hi, British council teamwork
I have a question has perplexed my humble mind, the quotation which is the advice that ploniuos have it to his son "To thine own self be true" yes I knew it means be true with your self but I need analysis for the sentence syntactically

*gave it to his son
Sorry for technical mistake because I have turned on predictive text feature