How To Write Hamlet Essay Example
Shakespeare's Hamlet is, perhaps, his iconic play and certainly his most cult tragedy, written in the late 16th century. The play is of the tragedy genre and follows the Prince of Denmark on a dramatic downward spiral into madness. Hamlet, the name of the prince, plots revenge on his uncle Claudius but he is often confronted with ghosts that cause him to question his actions and constantly muse on what he’s doing.
Hamlet is the longest play Shakespeare has written and is often considered to be one of the most powerful pieces of literature in the world. Its global status as a renowned play is largely due to Shakespeare’s ability to create a compelling drama with a gripping plot featuring well thought out and defined characters that add to every part of the story.
Shakespeare's Hamlet is, perhaps, one of the best places to write about and analyze because there is just so much to discuss. Before getting stuck in details, consider our advice about how to set up and write your perfect Hamlet essay.
Critical Reading Tips
Before you start writing and criticizing, get reading with your critical mindset engaged. There are a lot of different methods you can use for this purpose, so see which one works best for you and employ that to help you gather the relevant ideas you’ll need to prepare the perfect essay.
A simple highlighter can serve you well when you are engaging in the critical reading activity. Sure, this sounds a little basic ("Isn’t this what we did in school?" - You may ask.) but often the best ideas are the simplest. You can use different colors to tell you about various ideas in Hamlet, for instance, yellow could denote the use of symbolism and green could serve as a useful reminder about the most important themes. It’s up to you and makes the process of reading a play a little less taxing.
Not to mention, make sure there's the key to the different colors. It sounds simple but you could get carried away otherwise! When you’re color coding something this helps your brain to make a mental note, reinforcing the idea so that you can use it in your analysis later. It'll not only be helping you with useful reminders and references, it'll be getting your brain engaged in fifth gear analysis mode.
Annotations can serve you well, especially, when you write something down, which is related to the words annotated. Not only have you reminded yourself of what is important, you can remind yourself of what you were thinking at that time. Highlighting something can show you what parts of the text are worth considering, and making an annotation can show you what is worth studying about them in particular.
While you're reading Hamlet, it wouldn't be a bad idea to make a separate note page so that you can collect thoughts and ideas for a good plan, when the time comes to make one. It's better to have yourself prepared for your plan as soon as possible, so why waste time re-reading Hamlet over and over to find what you're looking for.
Having gathered together everything you need in terms of ideas, it's now time to decide on what you want the essay to focus on. Do you have a topic in mind? If not, you will need to find one by picking something that's interesting to you. If your topic has already been determined, you can go ahead and start planning the essay, hopefully, getting the text to a Shakespearean standard. Just joking! Although, get inspired by how well he has written.
To get you inspired into writing a well thought out plan, take note from this example with an essay based on the following title: What does the ghost of Hamlet’s father represent? Of course, this is just a rough idea - you’ll have many opinions of your own that you’ll want to flesh out the essay, but it’s not a bad choice to take a look at how a rudimentary plan should be written.
Title: What does the ghost of Hamlet’s father represent?
- A hook
- Some background
- Thesis statement
3. Advice on the Murder
- The ghost is seen by both, Horatio and the castle guards, yet they don’t talk to it
- Revenge is in Hamlet’s mind after receiving advice from the ghost.
- Hamlet notices the ghost and is the only one who can notice it in Gertrude’s room.
- The ghost says that he’s going to be abused in the afterlife until everything is made better.
- Hamlet questions Claudio’s advice, the ghost and his sanity.
- Hamlet is entirely focused on revenge and is grief-stricken throughout the play.
- Hamlet falls insane, keeping company with the ghost and talking to it to justify revenge.
- Hamlet’s mental health has deteriorated.
This a brief note on how to plan correctly. The fun part of fleshing out the essay is up to you!
Without a simple and concise thesis statement, your essay isn't going to be much. A thesis statement will show the audience exactly what has been set out to do, and what the rest of your essay will be about. It’s no use proceeding straight away with your arguments and points if a reader isn’t sure about what to expect. Getting a thesis statement in your introduction helps to bring your arguments to the forefront of the audience’s mind, stimulating the audience to understand what’s coming next.
A clear thesis statement, tying all your ideas together, can feature in your introduction and bring everything commonly in the conclusion. Don’t fret, the statement needn’t be a difficult task to write, it should be short and sweet. You can have plenty of time to flesh out the rest of your points in the main body of the essay.
Different Essay Topics
Shakespeare is a master of writing and there’s a lot you can consider his work. As you read through Hamlet, hopefully, your mind becomes opened up to a whole world of literary discovery. There are more than enough topics to be written so if you’ve got to come up with your own, choose which part of the play appeals the most to you. The story alone is captivating enough to write a whole book on but also there are themes, literary devices and use of language too.