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Suggested Essay Topics
1. Think about Hamlet’s relationship with Ophelia. Does he love her? Does he stop loving her? Did he ever love her? What evidence can you find in the play to support your opinion?
2. Consider Rosencrantz and Guildenstern’s role in the play. Why might Shakespeare have created characters like this? Are they there for comic relief, or do they serve a more serious purpose? Why does the news of their deaths come only after the deaths of the royal family in Act V, as if this news were not anticlimactic? Is it acceptable for Hamlet to treat them as he does? Why or why not?
3. Analyze the use of descriptions and images in Hamlet . How does Shakespeare use descriptive language to enhance the visual possibilities of a stage production? How does he use imagery to create a mood of tension, suspense, fear, and despair?
4. Analyze the use of comedy in Hamlet , paying particular attention to the gravediggers, Osric, and Polonius. Does comedy serve merely to relieve the tension of the tragedy, or do the comic scenes serve a more serious thematic purpose as well?
5. Suicide is an important theme in Hamlet . Discuss how the play treats the idea of suicide morally, religiously, and aesthetically, with particular attention to Hamlet’s two important statements about suicide: the “O, that this too too solid flesh would melt” soliloquy (I.ii.129–158) and the “To be, or not to be” soliloquy (III.i.56–88). Why does Hamlet believe that, although capable of suicide, most human beings choose to live, despite the cruelty, pain, and injustice of the world?
Hamlet SparkNotes Literature Guide
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30 Hamlet Essay Topics
Table of Contents
“The tragedy of Hamlet, Prince of Denmark,” which is most commonly known as “Hamlet,” is one of Shakespeare’s most well-known plays all over the world. The words “to be or not to be’ are so famous that it is very hard to find a person who has never heard them or quoted them in one way or the other. This play, a story of a philosophical sense of death centered on revenge, is a masterpiece from a legendary writer that leaves everyone in deep thought after reading it. This is one reason why it has become one of the most popular literature that students are commonly given essays to write on.
Do Not Know How to Select the Best Hamlet Essay Topics? Let Pros Assist You
As we have seen above, Hamlet is a masterpiece of literature. That being said, it means that the play has multiple aspects that are worth studying. This then means that there are many possible topics for a student to choose to base their essay on in the play. It can sometimes be hard for students to choose the most appropriate topic for their essays. Every student wants to get the highest mark possible; therefore, they all strive to select the best topic when it comes to drafting Hamlet essays. Here are some pointers on how to go about selecting a good topic for your essay;
- Ensure that the topic you choose can be connected to the present time. This should not be a tough thing to do since the play has many themes that can be connected to our modern times.
- Shakespeare did such a good job in that he could hide several philosophical questions hidden behind tragedies in the play. Always make sure that you choose a philosophy that you can be able to explain fully. This makes for the ideal topic as it gives you a lot of input material for your essay.
- It is always a good idea to base your essay on the character that you find to be your most favorite in the play.
- Identify some of the most dominant social norms in the said era and use them as your essay topics. However, make sure that you can satisfactorily describe these traditions and show their importance and influence of certain phenomenon in the play.
See A List of Hamlet Essay Topics to Start With
Here are some hamlet essay topics to help you out when you are looking to start on a Hamlet essay assignment given by your teacher:
- Since revenge and tragedy are some of the story’s outstanding aspects, do you think the play is a tragedy of revenge?
- Discuss the conflicts presented by the characters of Hamlet.
- Show how imagery implemented by the author affects the mood of the play.
- How does Hamlet’s revenge mission affect his relationship with Ophelia?
- Why do you think Prince Hamlet is so pessimistic when it comes to the concept of love?
- It is uncertain if Hamlet’s love for Ophelia is genuine. Do you think this has something to do with his obsession with revenge?
- What do you think is Hamlet’s stand on his relationship with Ophelia?
- Hamlet`s delays on exacting revenge, what do you think this says to his personality?
- Explain the relationship between Hamlet and his mother.
- Discuss the differences and similarities between Hamlet and Laertes.
- How does the marriage between Gertrude and Claudius contribute to Hamlet’s revenge plan?
- Discuss the differences and similarities between Claudius and Laertes based on their common hatred for Hamlet.
- Do you think that Hamlet was mad, or was it a ploy to exact his revenge?
- Describe the negative and positive roles played by women in the play.
- What age is Hamlet at the age of the play? Do his actions change his character in the end?
- Discuss the attitude that Hamlet has towards women, especially Ophelia.
- Is Hamlet a hero or a villain in the play? Explain.
- Discuss the various mood swings depicted by Hamlet in the play and show what causes them.
- Can Hamlet’s revenge ploy in the pay be justified? Discuss
- Please list the names of the various Hamlets’ protagonists and show their significance in the play.
- Identify and describe the main reasons why Hamlet is such an indecisive character.
- What do you think is Hamlet’s perception of death? Support your answer.
- Pick one theme in the play and show how the author has developed it throughout the play.
- Analyze the concept of love, friendship, and betrayal that is depicted in the play.
- Analyze the play’s deceptive nature and show why nothing in the play can be taken at face value.
- Is there a truth in this statement? “His madness is Hamlet’s true enemy.”
- Since Hamlet and Laertes are both looking for the truth, what are the fundamental differences between each character’s understanding of the truth? Explain.
- Explain how Hamlet’s speech influences his decision to become a passive character rather than stay an active one.
- How does the author develop Hamlet’s character concerning his idea of salvation and sin in the play?
- In this modern time, do you think it would be chauvinistic to consider women deceptive or not?
Hamlet Essay Questions Examples
Here are some Hamlet essay questions for you to consider:
- Describe how the author displays the idea of madness in the play “Hamlet.”
- Describe the reasons behind the introduction of comedy in the tragic world of Hamlet .
- What do you think is the author’s stand on the idea of revenge according to the play?
- Is Polonius the “intruding fool” as described by Hamlet? Explain
- What do you think is the importance of Fortinbras in the play?
- What do you think are Shakespeare’s suggestions about kingship according to the play? Support your answers.
- How important do you think the concept of ceremonies is, and how does it influence life in Elsinore’s court?
- Describe Horatio’s role in the play.
- Do you think Shakespeare depicts Claudius as a sympathetic figure?
- What is the significance of placing the play in the Christian universe?
Hamlet Argumentative Essay Topics: The Most Advantageous Ideas
- How would you classify the play? As a tragedy, drama, or revenge? Why?
- How did the author use imagery to change the tone and mood of the play?
- What morals can one learn from the play?
- Analyze the relationship between Hamlet and Ophelia.
- What role does the mother of Hamlet play? Is she a central character?
- How are women portrayed in the play?
- How do the characters treat women?
- Hamlet is painted as indecisive. Why?
- How is death portrayed in the play? How does it shape the outcome?
- Who, if anyone, is the hero? Is there a villain?
Exquisite Hamlet Essay Ideas from Master Writers
Here are some examples of Hamlet essay ideas that you could incorporate in your paper:
- Love- does Hamlet love Ophelia .
- Revenge- what kind of role does revenge play in Hamlet?
- Imagery- describes the role of imagery in the play.
- Tragedy- in your opinion, does Shakespeare make the play tragic? Explain.
- Comedy- identify and describe some of the comic scenes in the play.
We realize that writing an essay is never an easy job. This is the reason why we have created a company that connects students with exemplary writers. Whenever you are having a difficult time drafting your essay, contact us, and our college paper writers will make you an excellent article at very affordable rates. Do not hesitate. Call us now!
107 Exceptional Hamlet Essay Topics: Questions & Prompts
Every academic paper starts with a captivating idea, and Hamlet research paper or essay shouldn’t be an exception. In the list below, our team has collected unique and inspiring topics for you. You can use them in your writing or develop your own idea according to the format.
Here are some Hamlet essay topics for you:
- Elaborate on the weather in Denmark. How does it reflect the state of affairs and mood in the country? How does it change throughout the play? Start this Hamlet essay by describing the foggy weather in the first scene and gradually provide more examples as evidence.
- Think of irony in Hamlet . How and for what purposes did Shakespeare incorporate it in the play? Provide examples of the lines and situations that can be considered ironic.
- Reflect on Gertrude’s marriages. Why did she marry Claudius? Did they have an affair when King Hamlet was alive? Or did she agree on the new marriage to help the country?
- Compare and contrast Claudius and King Oedipus from Oedipus the King . What character traits do they share? Who is a better politician? Why?
- Explain whether you think Gertrude is on Hamlet’s or Claudius’ side. Did she switch the side by the end of the play? Analyze her conversation with Hamlet and how she later told Claudius that Hamlet was mad. Why did she drink the suspicious (poisoned) wine?
- Analyze the fact that dying Hamlet asked Horatio to spread his story. Will Horatio retell it without changes? Can he tell the truth about what happened at all?
- Examine an approach to violence in Hamlet . Are violence and aggression excessive in the play? How do characters react to it? Comment on how violence is mainly linked to vengeance.
- Consider the Ghost of Old Hamlet and all his appearances in Hamlet . Who saw him? Who do you think can see him? In your Hamlet essay, analyze every scene where he occurred and elaborate on why he did so.
- Talk about the relationship between Gertrude and Old Hamlet. Analyze what we know about their marriage and her reaction to her husband’s death. Did Gertrude see the Ghost in the scene with Hamlet? Could she have pretended that she didn’t?
- If Hamlet had survived, would he have been a good king? Analyze his strengths and weaknesses concerning the matter. Did he prove to be a good leader or politician in the play? Consider that Fortinbras explicitly stated that Hamlet could’ve become a good ruler.
- Elaborate on the way Hamlet killed Polonius in act 3, scene 4. Why did Hamlet act so quickly and calmly when he hesitates to kill his enemy, Claudius? Was this murder intentional? Did Hamlet regret it or freak out about it?
- Explore Hamlet’s mental state. How did grief affect him? His depression and suicidal tendencies are apparent. How do they change throughout the play?
- Compare Hamlet’s attitude towards the only women in the play, Ophelia and Gertrude. Why does he shame both of them for their sexual relationships? Examine his dialogues with his mother and his (ex)girlfriend, where he expresses cruelty. Elaborate on how his mother’s remarriage affected his relationships with the women.
- Examine the madness that Hamlet may or may not obtain. Thanks to his dialogue with Horatio, we know that he fakes his insanity. But could it have changed by the end of the play? What could’ve caused it? Analyze the evidence of his abnormal behavior and whether you can consider it natural, not acted.
- Analyze how Hamlet reflects on suicide. Provide examples from the soliloquies where Hamlet presumably tells the truth about his feelings. He considers suicide as an option, way out of the situation. Why doesn’t he commit it? Or was his death close to suicide?
- Consider whether the Ghost exists or not. A few people have seen him, but may it have been a case of mass hysteria? Hamlet may have gone mad over the death of his father and his mother’s remarriage. What if he imagined his dialogues with deceased King Hamlet? Provide evidence for that opinion or refute it.
- Elaborate on Hamlet’s trust issues. He suspects everyone from the start except for one person. Why does Hamlet trust Horatio? Analyze how the prince never lies during their conversations, even when the truth is a little insane. Why does Horatio believe everything he says?
- Examine friendship in Hamlet . Most of the relationships in the play are based on manipulation and benefit. Who can you see as friends in Hamlet ? Reflect on whether Hamlet values his friendship with Horatio. What can you say about Hamlet’s friends from childhood?
- Analyze the literary period during which Shakespeare came up with Hamlet . What features of the Elizabethan era does he illustrate in the play? Examplify various scenes and dialogues to prove your point.
- Consider prominent theatrical productions of Hamlet . How did they change over the centuries? What does modern theatre do that the Medieval one could not? Did theatrical performances evolve?
- Compare and contrast the original play and Lion King by Disney corporation. What are the key differences that were made in the cartoon? Why did Disney decide to come up with them? Analyze which version do you like more and why.
- Comment on the theme of death and mortality What events and objects made Hamlet obsessed with death? Elaborate on the role that religion plays in his considerations concerning the matter.
- Examine Claudius’ soliloquy . What’s its role in the play? What’s the crucial idea of his speech? Elaborate on the reasons why Claudius, the villain, has a soliloquy in Hamlet .
- Analyze all the symbols of death in the play What symbols from Hamlet refer to mortality? Speculate whether you can call fences, poison, unweeded gardens, flowers, and so on a symbol of death.
- Explore the conflicts of Hamlet . The play combines inner and outer conflicts, which are addressed mainly through Hamlet’s monologues. List the fundamental oppositions and lines that exemplify them.
- Reflect on Hamlet’s relationship with Gertrude Why is he upset with her? How does it affect his actions and opinion about all the women? Does Gertrude love her son?
- Analyze the setting of the play. Does the fact that Hamlet takes place in Denmark play any crucial role? Speculate why Shakespeare may have decided upon this country and support your opinion with evidence.
- Elaborate on Hamlet’s relationship with Ophelia. Does the prince consider her significant? Does he care about her? Compare how he treated Ophelia before and after her death.
- Comment on Hamlet’s religious beliefs Does religion have an impact on the prince’s decisions? Why is Hamlet considered a protestant? Prove your point by providing evidence from the play.
- Reflect on the theme of revenge Why does everyone value revenge in the play? Why do people passionately seek it in the society presented in Hamlet ? Elaborate on what impact it has on the characters’ motivations and decisions.
- Consider the language of Hamlet . Explain that Shakespeare’s play is well-known for its rich language and broad vocabulary. He composed a few characters who pay close attention to the words they say and hear. Why is language crucial for Hamlet?
- Examine Fortinbras. Who is he? Why is he a character foil for Hamlet? Analyze why he succeeded in everything he did and even became the king of Denmark.
- Analyze imagery and descriptions in the play. How does Shakespeare enhance each scene by alternating descriptions of the weather and nature? Provide examples of prominent images presented in the play and elaborate on their purpose.
- Compare Hamlet to Oedipus Rex . What do the characters of the famous plays have in common? Do they have a similar goal? Elaborate on how their character traits affect the endings of the respective plays.
- Explore the deception in Hamlet . What things and events are built on lies? Why and how do characters try to manipulate each other throughout the whole play?
- Elaborate on the imagery of rot and diseases How do unweeded gardens reflect the state of affairs? Explain how ill atmosphere foreshadows and represents problems caused by the actions of the royal court’s members.
- Comment on the role of Rosencrantz and Guildenstern in the play. Speculate whether they are simply comic relief characters or they have another purpose in Hamlet . Why did Shakespeare decide that he needed such characters in the play?
- Analyze Gertrude’s attitude towards Ophelia. Elaborate on the scenes where Gertrude communicates with Ophelia and mentions her. What does the queen think of her and her relationships with Hamlet? How does Gertrude comments on Ophelia’s death?
- Compare Hamlet’s and Horatio’s character traits. In what ways are they different and similar? What Horatio’s qualities Hamlet explicitly admires and lacks?
- Speculate on Shakespeare’s opinion about theatre. Examine a few references to the English stage of the Elizabethan era that the author put in the play in Act 2. How does he comment on the theatre of his own time through Hamlet’s lines of dialogue?
- Explore the relationships between Hamlet and Claudius. Why does Hamlet suspect his uncle from the start? Does Claudius think of Hamlet as dangerous? When does he become highly aware of his nephew’s capabilities?
- Consider the death of Rosencrantz and Guildenstern. When and how did they die? Why does a reader find out about it after the deaths of the royal family members? Speculate on the reasons why it was structured to be so anticlimactic. Why did W. S. Gilbert write a short comic play about them?
- Analyze the reception and comprehension of Hamlet . Why is it one of the most popular Shakespeare’s plays even today? Is it still relevant? Explain why nowadays our understanding of the play differs from the one from the writer’s era.
- Comment on the appearance vs. reality in Hamlet . Why do so many characters pretend to have another personality or obtain character traits that they don’t have? Why does Hamlet see through the pretense?
- Elaborate on Ophelia’s death . Was it a suicide, how gravediggers presumed, or an accident, as Gertrude claimed? Explain in your Hamlet essay the reasons for Ophelia to commit suicide. Did she have a choice?
- Reflect on political corruption. What characters represent corrupted politicians in the play? How do they manipulate public opinion?
- Analyze one movie adaptation of Hamlet . Write about the changes that were made in the film version. What differences from the play did you like? What changes were you surprised to see?
- Examine the political situation in the play. What war did Fortinbras lead? Why? How does it affect Denmark during the play and after it’s the last scene?
- Explore the role of women in Hamlet . The play presents the social norms that were relevant for people of this period. What parts of women’s lives did men explicitly control? Provide examples from the play.
- Compare Laertes and Hamlet . Laertes is known as Hamlet’s character foil. Examine similarities and differences in their character traits.
- Consider the doubt and indecisiveness of Hamlet . Why are such traits uncommon for the genre? What do they say about the prince as a character? Explain how these qualities affect the plot and Hamlet’s thought process.
- Elaborate on the symbolism in the play. Finding symbolism can be challenging as the interpretations differ. Some individuals consider particular objects as symbols, while others don’t. What do you view as examples of symbolism in the play? Why? What role do they play in understanding the story?
- Reflect on the Oedipus complex. Comment on whether Hamlet has it or not. Provide evidence from the play, especially from the scene with Gertrude, to prove your point. How can this idea be approached on the stage? Find examples of theatrical productions where Hamlet and Gertrude had a conversation in her closet.
- Compare and contrast Claudius and Polonius. What character traits do they have in common? Explain how they are not who they are trying to appear. Who is better at lying and manipulating others? Why?
- Examine how revenge affected characters in Hamlet . Three characters wish to avenge their fathers: Laertes, Hamlet, and Fortinbras. How does revenge affect their lives? Who succeeded in getting their revenge?
- Consider the family theme. What role does family play for various characters? Elaborate on how blood ties motivate multiple characters.
- Reflect on Yorick’s role in the play. Who was Yorick? What impact did he have on Hamlet during the prince’s childhood and present time? Elaborate on how Yorick led Hamlet to his last soliloquy.
- Analyze the religious conflict of the play. How did events from Shakespeare’s time affect the theme of religion? Explain how Hamlet presents the conflict between Protestantism and Catholicism through the prince and King Hamlet.
- Comment on the theme of madness. Who went mad in the play? Compare Hamlet’s and Laerte’s insanity to Ophelia’s one. How was her madness different from the other examples?
- Explore Polonius’ character. What was Polonius’ motivation throughout the play? Whom did he manipulate, and why? Explain why he tried to appear a good person and a parent.
- Elaborate on the reasons why Hamlet is the protagonist of the story. What makes him a tragic hero? Why is he considered a good person after every crime he committed and every cruel thing he said to his mother and Ophelia?
- Think of the conflict of good and evil. What imagery is associated with each of them in the play? Does evil spread like a disease?
- Explain how Hamlet differs from other plays of Shakespeare’s time . What new features and connections within the story did the writer present? How did Shakespeare make characters contribute to the plot?
- Analyze the “To be or not to be” speech. It’s one of the most famous lines in history, but what meaning is behind it? Elaborate on the circumstances around the monologue and whether Hamlet is partially lying.
- Reflect on performances of Hamlet. Choose a couple of performances on the stage or in a movie and compare them. Whose version of the character you prefer and why?
- Elaborate on the movie Ophelia (2018). What’s intriguing about a story told from Ophelia’s point of view? Exemplify the differences from the original play and how the change of perspective affected the story.
- Explore Hamlet’s obsession with inaction and action . What stops Hamlet from acting decisively? Exemplify situations from the play when characters act quickly, without any doubt compared to Hamlet’s almost constant hesitance.
- Compare Hamlet and King Lear. What similar character traits have an impact on the respective plays? Can we call the prince and the king victims of the social norms?
- Think of how the play’s themes are relevant nowadays . Which of them remained timeless, relevant for any period? Are any themes become obsolete and useless in today’s world? Elaborate on each theme separately with examples from the play.
- Reflect on Hamlet’s mood swings . Provide examples of how the prince’s mood affects his actions and speech. What can and did influence his mood?
- Examine Polonius’ death. Why was he hiding behind the tapestry during the scene? Was it his idea? How did he die? Elaborate on irony in the way he was murdered. How did it affect the plot?
- Analyze Hamlet as an actor. Is he good at playing a character? Elaborate on his dialogue with the First Player and his opinion about acting.
- Consider the motif of betrayal. Who betrays Hamlet? Explain how the attitude towards this act varies from character to character. How does Hamlet’s betrayal affect Ophelia?
- Explore the connection between honor and revenge . Explain why it’s the principal motivation for such characters as Hamlet, Laertes, and Fortinbras. Comment on scenes where it reveals itself through actions and conversations.
- Elaborate on Hamlet’s death. Was it the only logical conclusion for Hamlet’s psychological and emotional development? Was he satisfied?
- Comment on the genre of the play . Can we call it revenge tragedy without any reservation? How did Shakespeare ruin the genre by Hamlet ?
- Compare Hamlet and the Ghost. What can you say about the language that the characters use? List the lines that state that Hamlet and the Ghost look similar.
- Think of the father-son relationships in the play . Analyze the relationships between Hamlet and King Hamlet and compare them to those of Laertes and Polonius. Which features are common for both of them?
- Elaborate on the name Hamlet . What does it mean? What’s its country of origin? Add a sentence or two about Amleth.
- Consider allusions to historical figures in the play. Why does Hamlet mention Alexander the Great and Julius Caesar in act 5? Why did Shakespeare include allusions at all?
- Examine soliloquies in Hamlet . What’s their role in the play? Provide lines from soliloquies that let us dive into the thoughts and intentions of a character. Does anyone lie during such a speech?
- Compare the two film adaptations of the play. Elaborate on different film techniques and alterations of the plot. Concentrate on one scene in particular and explain what changes were made.
- Explore Hamlet’s nihilism. When does Hamlet start to display features that are inherent to this school of thought? Explain how the prince came to nihilism, what pushed him to this.
- List the most painful moments of Hamlet’s life and elaborate on them. Include events that happened before the first act and within the play. Prove your point with evidence from the prince’s lines.
- Think of what poison represents. What does it refer to? Who dies from poison in the play?
- Consider the play from the public’s perspective. How does Claudius manipulate the public’s opinion? What do people think of the new king and Hamlet?
- Compare and contrast Gertrude and Ophelia. What traits do they have in common? Explain differences and similarities in their affection towards Hamlet. Who controls these women?
- Elaborate on the villain of the story. Who can be considered an antagonist of the play? Why do some people regard Hamlet as a villain?
- Imagine how Hamlet could’ve reacted to modern society. What aspects of the future would he appreciate? What social norms would shock him? Would he be more comfortable in our period?
- Evaluate all the relationships in Hamlet’s life. What’s the most significant one? Why? What relationships changed throughout the play?
- Comment on contradictions in the play. What contradictions does Hamlet face? Is he himself a contradictory character? Provide examples of Hamlet’s contradictions
- Explore the fencing in the last scene of Hamlet . What does it contribute to the story? Does it affect the end of the duel?
- Elaborate on the gravediggers. How did their job affect their attitude towards death? Comment on their humor and whether it’s a coping mechanism. Does it illustrate their perception of life?
- Compare Claudius and King Hamlet. What qualities differentiate them? What do they have in common? Speculate on who was a more talented politician and a better leader.
- Think of comic relief in Hamlet . Comment on how Polonius, Osric, gravediggers, and Hamlet’s dialogues with them enlighten the mood. Was the humor appropriate for revenge tragedies before Shakespeare?
- Consider foreshadowing in the play. What events are foreshadowed early on in Hamlet ? Present lines and features from act 1 that indicate the tragic end.
- Elaborate on justice and truth . How does Shakespeare show attitude towards justice common for this time? Does Hamlet approach fairness differently from the others? Elaborate on how Hamlet both pursue the truth and ignores it.
- Examine the “Get thee to a nunnery, go.” sentence. Why did Hamlet say so to Ophelia? What made the prince think that she was vicious?
- Comment on Hamlet’s cruelty. When does Hamlet become cruel towards other characters? Is he cruel towards himself? Analyze situations where Hamlet talks viciously and whether it’s intentional or not.
- Explore Hamlet’s character . Why is the prince such an unusual figure for revenge tragedies? Explain how Shakespeare created the hero who struggles to act with firmness and constantly reflects on his actions and decisions. Is he easy to understand and relate to?
- Analyze the play within the play. What’s its role in plot development? Why did Hamlet let the play take place? Explain what scene he added and why. Elaborate on the title The Mousetrap .
- Examine the consequences of revenge . What conclusion does Shakespeare provide for the theme of revenge? Explain how does it influence the deaths of Hamlet and Laertes, the absolute victory of Fortinbras.
- Reflect on Hamlet’s hesitance to kill Claudius . Why does he consider murdering his uncle in act 1? What stops him? Illustrate all the occasions when Hamlet could’ve killed Claudius but didn’t, and one time he did. What pushed him in the end?
- Compare Claudius to Laertes. Are there any similarities? How do these characters form an alliance by the end of the play?
- Comment on Gertrude’s guiltiness . Hamlet considers his mother guilty of too many crimes, but was she guilty of anything? Speculate whether she participated in King Hamlet’s murder or had an affair with Claudius before her husband’s death. Was she loyal to Hamlet?
- Elaborate on the “Something is rotten in the state of Denmark …“ line. Who says it? Explain the context of the line, its meaning, and what it foreshadows.
- Examine Polonius’ advice to Laertes. Provide its meaning and reflect on Polonius’ intentions. Why is this speech ironic?
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- Essay Samples
- Chicago (N-B)
- Chicago (A-D)
IvyPanda. (2022, September 16). Essay Topics. https://ivypanda.com/lit/hamlet-study-guide/essay-topics/
IvyPanda. (2022, September 16). Essay Topics. Retrieved from https://ivypanda.com/lit/hamlet-study-guide/essay-topics/
"Essay Topics." IvyPanda , 16 Sept. 2022, ivypanda.com/lit/hamlet-study-guide/essay-topics/.
1. IvyPanda . "Essay Topics." September 16, 2022. https://ivypanda.com/lit/hamlet-study-guide/essay-topics/.
IvyPanda . "Essay Topics." September 16, 2022. https://ivypanda.com/lit/hamlet-study-guide/essay-topics/.
IvyPanda . 2022. "Essay Topics." September 16, 2022. https://ivypanda.com/lit/hamlet-study-guide/essay-topics/.
IvyPanda . (2022) 'Essay Topics'. 16 September.
- Hamlet Essay Assignment
English 12, Ms. Silzer
In this assignment, you will explore your own 21st century response to shakespeare’s 400 year-old words..
Start with the powerful words from the play.
Best safety lies in fear.
Youth to itself rebels, though none else near.
I shall the effect of this good lesson keep
As watchman to my heart. But, good my brother,
Do not, as some ungracious pastors do,
Show me the steep and thorny way to heaven
Whiles, like a puffed and reckless libertine,
Himself the primrose path of dalliance treads
And recks not his own rede.
Summary: Laertes has just warned Ophelia not to give up her “chaste treasure” for fear that Hamlet, as he is not truly master of his own destiny, could ruin her.
Modern questions, things you might wonder about. . .
- Am I accurate in assuming that this notion continues today, that a female’s reputation can be ‘ruined’ by being sexually active, while a male’s is often enhanced?
- Who are the female role models for girls today?
- Would Ophelia have obeyed her father if Shakespeare were writing this play in the year 2010? Would different Canadian girls handle the problem differently based on the cultural background of the girl’s family?
- Does the answer to this question depend on the country the girl lives in?
Write an original research essay in which you synthesize ideas from diverse sources (a synthesis essay!) Explore an issue that ties to ideas that emerge from Hamlet . (length = 2 to 4 pages / Times Roman 12 pt font / double spaced)
- click on the ‘adult database’.
- from home: username = Charles password = Best
- Tuesday, Feb. 26 – Meet in library lab - arrive to class with two articles – work on two column notes – finish notes for homework.
- Wednesday, Feb. 27 – meet in Rm. 302 - bring completed 2-column notes to class – draft outline of essay
- Work on 1 st draft of essay – word processed / double spaced
- Print out a copy of the first draft
- Homework: complete revision of first draft – do revision on hard copy of 1 st draft that you printed out in class.
- complete second draft of essay – complete for homework over weekend if not complete
- works cited page due Monday – use MLA style on citation machine: http://citationmachine.net
- Arrive to class prepared to revise essay, and work towards final draft. (You may wish to do more than three drafts.)
- See me for help if you need it with your work
- Final essay due Wednesday – Friday
We have the library computer lab booked on the following days:
- Monday, Feb. 25
- Tuesday, Feb. 26
- Thursday, Feb. 28
- Friday, Mar. 1
Want a really good site to help you write a paper? Check this one out:
STEP 1: Check out this site if you want a detailed overview of the process of writing a research paper.
“The paper is your final product , but a research paper involves an extensive process before you can generate the product. The Step-by-Step section will guide you through this process from getting the assignment to writing the paper”
STEP 2: Establish your focus a.s.a.p. What issue interests you in relation to Hamlet ? Come up with a question that interests you.
STEP 3: Brainstorm keywords; search out definitions of the keywords to prepare for searching the data bases for articles.
STEP 4: Search the data bases for two interesting, intelligent, credible articles that you can use to write your essay. Print out the articles if they are not more than three pages.
STEP 5: (Finish by end of day, Feb. 26)
Take notes in two column format. Cut and paste ideas from your articles that interest you into the left column of a table. In the right column, respond to and comment upon what you have copied into the left column. Insert a new row for each new entry.
STEP 6: (In class – Feb. 27) Working from your question and from your notes, draft a thesis. Organize your ideas into a preliminary outline.
STEP 7: (In library – Feb. 28)Write a first draft. Work only from your notes and your outline. You should not need to refer to your articles at this point. Print out your first draft. Revise your first draft, making changes directly on a hard copy of your first draft.
STEP 8: (Finish second draft - in library – Mar. 1) Make your changes and save a second draft.
STEP 9 : Homework - revise your second draft – save and print your third draft, and bring it to class. (You may wish to do more than three drafts!)
STEP 10: Prepare a title page and table of contents. Assemble your work in a duotang. Number all pages after the table of contents.
This table gives you an idea of how much time each step of writing a paper usually takes.
Assignment in detail:
- Choose a passage or quote that resonates with you. This quote should allow you to focus on an issue raised by the play that interests you. This may be a “chicken / egg” task. Maybe you have decided on the issue that interests you, and this led you to go searching for a quote. No worries.
For example, I find that Ophelia’s situation in the play intrigues me. She seems so voiceless, so powerless. I get a bit angry at her for obeying Polonius, but I get it. I also get a bit angry at her for internalizing the problems of Hamlet’s “antic disposition” and her father’s death at the hands of Hamlet to the point that she goes mad….and in her madness, displays a repressed sexuality that is at odds with her supposed innocence. (Wow….talk about Freudian!)
Anyway, here is the quote I chose as a starting place:
Here questions I have, things I wonder about:
- My next step is to briefly explore some key words that may help me search the internet for interesting commentary connected to my questions. I think that “reputation” and “power” may be interesting. Are all dictionaries equal? Not really, so I start copying and pasting from one that I know I like, making sure that I keep track of the sites I visit as I do so:
Definition of REPUTATION
1 a : overall quality or character as seen or judged by people in general b : recognition by other people of some characteristic or ability <has the reputation of being clever>
2 : a place in public esteem or regard : good name <trying to protect his reputation >
I’ll check out another dictionary :
The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fourth Edition copyright ©2000 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Updated in 2009. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company . All rights reserved.
1. the estimation in which a person or thing is generally held; opinion
2. a high opinion generally held about a person or thing; esteem
3. notoriety or fame, esp for some specified characteristic
have a reputation to be known or notorious, esp for promiscuity, excessive drinking, or the like
[from Latin reputātiō a reckoning, from reputāre to calculate, meditate; see repute]
Collins English Dictionary – Complete and Unabridged © HarperCollins Publishers 1991, 1994, 1998, 2000, 2003
- roorback - A false report made to damage the reputation of a political candidate.
- character , reputation - Character is what one is; reputation is what one is thought to be by others.
- denigrate - From Latin de- and nigare, "blacken," it first meant "make black or dark in color," and came to mean "blacken the reputation of."
- fame - Also meant "reputation" in early contexts.
Farlex Trivia Dictionary. © 2012 Farlex, Inc. All rights reserved.
Thesaurus Legend: Synonyms Related Words Antonyms
Based on WordNet 3.0, Farlex clipart collection. © 2003-2012 Princeton University, Farlex Inc.
Note that I am not too discriminating here. I am “capturing” lots of ideas, because at this point of my research, I am not sure which words might help me as keywords as I search for info in the on-line data bases.
I am also interested in the idea of women and power and status in society, so I will look up definitions, and cut and paste into my notes.
So, as we head to the library, think about your questions, and think about the key idea words that you can pull from the questions you have asked. During the time in the lab, do the following:
- Search out relevant dictionary definitions.
- Search the databases You need to find at least two articles that you can use to write your synthesis essay based on a question from Hamlet.
To access the data bases from home:
- Go the Best Library .
- Under “How can we help” click ‘databases’.
- Click on the phrase ‘Prefer an adult data base.’
- As you find articles that seem like they might be interesting, e-mail them to yourself.
Using the articles:
Finding good info for use an original essay is time consuming. Reading articles also takes time. Expect to spend 35% of your time reading your articles and making notes. Don’t waste time; as you read, take notes.
- Use two-column notes.
- You will ‘borrow’ ideas from the readings to write your essay. I expect to find every idea you have ‘borrowed’ cut and pasted into your notes. You will need to cite your sources, so don’t skimp on this stage of research. Document, document, document! Look at what I did with an article I found in the Vancouver Sun about Madonna.
Hamlet – Character revelation
Based on the comments that you have made about the characters in the play, you may consider using one of the ideas from this list as a focus to write your essay.
- Character revelations
- Cite your sources
- Database articles
- Modern English translation
- Read the play
- Themes and Quotes
- Arts & Music
- English Language Arts
- World Language
- Social Studies - History
- Holidays / Seasonal
- Independent Work Packet
- Easel by TPT
- Google Apps
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hamlet essay prompts
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Also included in: HAMLET [LESSON ASSESSMENTS]
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"Hamlet" Quotation Test and Literary Analysis Essay Prompts
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