Wednesday, November 26, 2014

hamlet essay

Select one of the key quotes we discussed from Hamlet, such as:
  • To thine own self be true
  • To be or not to be
  • Though this be madness, yet there is method in't
  • O! That this too too solid flesh would melt, thaw and resolve itself into a dew
  • Something is rotten in the state of Denmark
  • What is a man,
    If his chief good and market of his time
    Be but to sleep and feed? a beast, no more.
    Sure he that made us with such large discourse,
    Looking before and after, gave us not
    That capability and god-like reason
    To fust in us unused.
  • A man may fish with the worm that hath eat of a king, and eat of the fish that hath fed of that worm.
These are merely suggestions; you may choose anything from the play in any length that suits your purpose (e.g., instead of just the phrase "To be or not to be" you can include additional lines or the entire soliloquy).

Your purpose is this:

In an essay that demonstrates your wild brilliance and for Pete's sake avoids plot summary at all costs, please explain how this quote contributes to your understanding of the tone and theme of Hamlet.  Specifically: Which character speaks the line/s?  At what point in the play/plot?  How do the words affect the character's own understanding, the other characters' understandings (if applicable), and the audience's understanding?  Top shelf responses will include definitions of these literary elements, demonstrated understanding of the play's central message, tone, and characterization, and application of the concept of Performative Utterance.

Please feel free to comment to this post with questions or ideas, and post your essay to your course blog by Sunday night (11.30).

HUGE CULTURAL LITERACY/5PH1NX BONUS to anyone who can make a meaningful connection between Hamlet's line (in Act V Scene i) that, "The cat will mew and dog will have his day" and Sidney Deane's (played by Wesley Snipes) philosophy in the movie "White Men Can't Jump."

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