Hamlet. Hamlet. ASSIGNMENT:
Write an essay on Hamlet that puts forward an argument about one of the following:
significance of a specific scene (2) a character’s journey or development (3) a specific theme.
There are three choices for this essay, each requiring an argument and interpretation:
(1) Pick one scene from the play and discuss its significance. It might help to consider the
implicit question here: why is this scene in the play at all? The scene’s significance might
be explained in terms of its structural or thematic echoes of (or parallels to) other
scenes. What ideas, issues, or tensions are reinforced by your chosen scene? What do
we learn about character or conflict from the scene? Move beyond simplistic renditions
(2) Provide some analysis of a specific character, discussing their qualities, motivations,
anxieties, aspirations, fears, and/or tendencies. Is that character somewhat static (i.e.
they’re the same from beginning to end) or dynamic (they change as the play develops)?
Do they generate our sympathies or antipathies? Should they be considered heroic or
cowardly? What pressures are they under and how do they respond to those
(3) Identify a specific theme (or recurring pattern) at work in the play and write an essay
that explains how the play develops and examines that theme.
As with the first paper, I will be concerned with these elements of the essay: the thesis, the
structure, organization, use of evidence/quotes, mechanics, expression, and regard for
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