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how to write ESSAY on Hamlet for grade 12 english (need help to start the essay)


rock_roll 1 / 2  
Apr 19, 2010   #1
Hi,
I am doing an essay on Hamlet
topic is "Is hamlet a coward" and "compare and conrast between the charcters of haratio and Hamlet"

i have no idea how to start essay on this topics. this is not research essay. i need to find quote from the Hamlet book from ACT 1,2 and 3.

Please help
Notoman 20 / 419  
Apr 20, 2010   #2
First, you need to decide whether or not you think Hamlet is a coward and then find supporting evidence from the play. Then you need to decide whether or not you think Horatio is a coward, find the supporting evidence and compare and contrast the two characters.

If I were writing an essay on this topic, I might start something like this:

Shakespeare's Hamlet asserts that "conscience does make cowards of us all" (3:1). Hamlet exhibits cowardly behavior, but it is attributable to the human condition rather an innate cowardliness in the title character.
EF_Kevin 8 / 13,321 129  
Apr 20, 2010   #3
This is tough because it is about 2 different things. It is like trying to walk two different directions at once.

Oh, I was going to say something similar to what noto said: Decide if you think Horatio is a coward, and then do a compare and contrast essay with cowardice as one of the points. Google this:

Compare contrast opposing type

:-)
Spiderqueen - / 1  
Apr 20, 2010   #4
First thing you want to do is figure out if you think Hamlet is a coward. And see Hamlet's such a complex character, you could really go either way with this one. He's a coward in the sense that he delays his revenge and is constantly coming up with excuses for why he shouldn't kill Claudius right away. For instance, he fakes insanity instead of killing Claudius right away, he comes up with the idea of the mousetrap play to determine if Claudius is guilty (even though his father's ghost told him he is), and he doesn't killing him when he's praying (he decides it isn't the right time because he just prayed so he'd go to heaven right then and not hell).

But Hamlet is also brave in that he goes to follow his father's ghost when he had no clue what his intentions were. And I think it's a very brave thing to avenge your father's death and put aside your own interests in order to do so (before this Hamlet was a student, but he has to stifle that contemplative part of himself so he can be a murderer). And he's also brave when he kills Polonius (here he acts on a sudden impulse without even thinking, and so one could interpret this as a courageous act in that he acts according to instinct, opposed to reason).

So what do you think? Maybe you could argue that he's both courageous and cowardly (teachers tend to like it when you look at the shades of gray instead of the black and white). So now that you've figured out what you think about Hamlet, you should compare him with Horatio. In many ways Horatio works as a foil character--by looking at him and comparing him with Hamlet, we're able to notice certain things about Hamlet. So in what ways are Hamlet and Horatio similar? Hamlet is contantly criticizing others and pointing out the corruption around him. And Horatio also seems to be highly aware of the corruptive state of Denmark. Horatio is also the only one who knows about Hamlet's feigned madness and that the mousetrap play is really just a trick to prove Claudius' guilt. So we see how he's very much on Hamlet's side when it comes to being opposed to Claudius' corrupt kingdom (like being against Claudius' sudden marriage to the recently-widowed Queen) and Claudious himself (Hamlet has him watch for signs of guilt on Claudious' face during the play after all). But Horatio is different from Hamlet in that he's much more rational. While Hamlet shifts from being thoughtful and contemplative to acting boldly and rashly (like when he kills Polonius), Horatio remains calm and reasonable throughout. And also in the end as the survivor, he seems to represent the collected speaker, and the one who shares lessons to all by telling how the tragic events unfolded.

Hope this helps. It really is a great play.
EF_Kevin 8 / 13,321 129  
Apr 22, 2010   #5
Maybe you could argue that he's both courageous and cowardly (teachers tend to like it when you look at the shades of gray instead of the black and white).

I agree, for sure. This is a great discussion Spiderqueen! Thanks
OP rock_roll 1 / 2  
May 1, 2010   #6
I am think to write in the topic "Hamlet is not a Coward". I have wrote down some point. Now the hard part is to describe. I hsve to wrote three body paragraphs with SEE FORMAT. three quotes from book for each paragraph.
OP rock_roll 1 / 2  
May 1, 2010   #7
this is my introduction

Hamlet is one of the most well-known plays in English Literature, written by William Shakespeare in 1602. In Hamlet, Shakespeare provides many themes, and one of those themes explores the idea of whether or not Hamlet is a coward. A coward is someone who lacks courage in facing danger, difficulty, opposition and pain. However, there are many instances which illustrates that Hamlet is not a coward. He is not a coward because he converses with the ghost before knowing the intensions of the ghost and not stopping after the guard on the platform tried to stop him. Also, after this conversation, hamlet promises the ghost to revenge his father's death by killing Claudius. Lastly, he inserts the line in the play of "The murder of Gonzago" to find out if Claudius really killed his father. This allows Hamlet to gain more evidence regarding to his father's murder. So he can accurately avenge the death.
EF_Kevin 8 / 13,321 129  
May 3, 2010   #8
Your first sentence should not say something obvious. Start with a sentence that makes an intriguing observation. For example:
Courage and cowardice are characteristics that mean different things to different people.

That would be a good intro sentence. Grab the attention.

However, there are many instances which illustrates illustrate that Hamlet is not a coward. He is not a coward because he converses with the ghost before knowing the intentions of the ghost and ...

use a spell checker

capitalize Hamlet.
Also, after this conversation, Hamlet promises the ghost to revenge his father's death by killing Claudius. Lastly, he inserts ...

Good! Add one more sentence to the end of the intro paragraph -- a sentence that says something about these three pieces of evidence of his courage.

Then, write the body paragraphs and give each of the 3 paragraphs a topic sentence that corresponds to one of the three pieces of evidence you name in the intro.

:-)


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