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Thread: Help With a Thematic Essay

  1. #1
    Registered User
    Join Date
    Dec 2009

    Help With a Thematic Essay

    Okay, I have a 750 word essay due after the Christmas break on hamlet. We have to find important words and write an essay on this.

    We are supposed to use a hamlet concordance(which I can't find) to find words that come up a lot because they should be "important themes" within Hamlet. I can not even figure out which word or group of words (eg. lunacy distemper and madness) to choose.

    We are supposed to write a standard 5 paragraph essay with a 3 point balanced thesis statement

    Any help i could get at all would be extremely helpful as I am EXTREMELY bad at understanding things like shakespeare - I am a very linear thinker and these more abstract concepts just do not make sense to me.

    Here is my assignment sheet I typed up given to us by our teacher.
    Hamlet Thematic Essay

    Your task is to write a 750 word essay that identifies and explores one key theme ofthe
    play. This assignment will be worth 10% of your final grade.

    Step One: Using your Hamlet text and a concordance, do a keyword analysis of the play (we did this in class). Select a word, or related set of three words, that are essential to an interpretation of the play. Don't forget to search for related words like marry, marries, married, marriage.

    You may wish to group your words by central themes like Biblical/Mythological, Astrological/Elemental, Psycho-Analytical (Jungian), Spiritual, Body Politic/Anatomy of Melancholy, Dystopia, Animal Imagery, and Sexual (Freudian).

    Example: Blood (29) or Bleed (2) appears 31 times in Hamlet. Something related to blood must be a key theme within the play.

    Example #2: Madness is expressed in multiple ways like Lunacy (2), Distemper (4) and ecstacy (5). Each represents a different aspect of madness (like the three sides of a triangle).

    Step Two: Look at the entire list of quotations that contain your word and try to generalize the treatment of the topic. In other words, begin to generate a thesis. Select the three best quotations that exemplify this thesis and it is best if you choose quotations that appear throughout the play with one early (I, II), one middle (II, III, IV), and one late (IV, V).

    If you are struggling with generating a thesis, go back and brainstorm your word. Check an etymological dictionary, consider what that word means to Elizabethans in contrast to what it means to us today. Consider how that word is used in hamlet as opposed to other Shakespearean plays or works of literature. You can even use the Virtual library to see if someone else has written on the topic – just don’t plagiarize and also be sure to include a reference in your works consulted.

    Example: Shakespeare mentions Hercules three times in Hamlet, which is relatively significant because Shakespeare only uses the word 36 times in all of his works.

    O, God! a beast, that wants discourse of reason,
    Would have mourn'd longer-married with my uncle,
    My father's brother, but no more like my father
    Than I to Hercules

    Ay, that they do, my lord; Hercules and his
    load too.

    Let Hercules himself do what he may,
    The cat will mew and dog will have his day.

    Step Three:
    Do a little research on Hercules and his family.

    Alcmene was the mother of Hercules and the wife of Amphitryon, but the night she conceived Hercules and his twin brother Iphicles, Alcmene mated with both Zeus, who had disguised himself as her husband, and Amphitryon. As a result, Zeus was Hercules' father, but Amphitryon was the father of Iphicles.

    Begin to note the parallels between Alcmene, Amphitryon,& Zeus and Gertrude, King Hamlet, & Claudius! We also know that Hercules goes mad (Hera interferes) and kills
    his wife and and children. For that, he is punished with the Twelve Labours (also-mentioned
    in the play).

    My fate cries out,
    And makes each petty artery in this body
    As hardy as the Neamean lion’s nerve
    Still am I call 'd.

    Is Shakespeare telling us that hamlet is a form of Hercules even though hamlet himself appears to be denying it? Don’t just start that Hercules is a symbol of hamlet – explain how a full understanding of the quotations is essential to our understanding of the thematic “world view” of the play.

    If we need to share some of this information, we may wish to write a "parameters paragraph" that would appear between the introduction and the first body paragraph.

    Step Four: Now that you have selected a word, found three Quotations and done some research, develop a three point balanced thesis statement. Make sure that you have a full and complete understanding of what you are arguing before you begin to write. Write an introduction that is error free so that the teacher is impressed from the start

    Write your body paragraphs using the structure learned in class. Whenever you get lost or go off on a tangent, refer to your quotation and your thesis statement. Do not retell the story or write a book report! Tack on your conclusion at the end.

    Step Five: Let somebody else read your essay (parent, older sibling, email it to a friend). Let it sit 24-48 hours before rereading it. Do a final draft. Include your MLA title row, proper parenthetical referencing of quotations, and works cited or works consulted.

    Step Six: Submit to Mr. Krys, January 4 2010
    Thanks ahead of time guys!

  2. #2
    Registered User
    Join Date
    Mar 2007

    A suggestion

    1. Image & Reality

    A. Theater (eyes & ears)

    1. "Ear" quotes "We'll hear a play tomorrow"
    ACT 1
    Scene 2

    I would not hear your enemy say so,
    Nor shall you do mine ear that violence,
    To make it a truster of your own report
    Against yourself: I know you are no truant.

    Season your admiration for awhile
    With an attent ear, till I may deliver,
    Upon the witness of these gentlemen,
    This marvel to you.

    Scene 3

    If with too credent ear you list his songs,

    Give every man thy ear, but few thy voice;

    Scene 5

    'Tis given out that, sleeping in my orchard,
    A serpent stung me; so the whole ear of
    Denmark Is by a forged process of my death
    Rankly abused:

    thy uncle stole,
    With juice of cursed hebenon in a vial,
    And in the porches of my ears did pour
    The leperous distilment;

    But this eternal blazon must not be
    To ears of flesh and blood.
    List, list, O, list!

    ACT 2
    Scene 2

    And more above, hath his solicitings,
    As they fell out by time, by means and place,
    All given to mine ear.

    Hark you, Guildenstern; and you too: at each ear a hearer.
    That great baby you see there is not yet out of his swaddling-clouts.

    First Player
    Then senseless Ilium,
    Seeming to feel this blow, with flaming top
    Stoops to his base, and with a hideous crash
    Takes prisoner Pyrrhus' ear;

    What would he do,
    Had he the motive and the cue for passion
    That I have? He would drown the stage with tears,
    And cleave the general ear with horrid speech,
    Make mad the guilty and appal the free,
    Confound the ignorant, and amaze indeed
    The very faculties of eyes and ears

    ACT 3
    Scene 1

    Let his queen mother all alone entreat him
    To show his grief: let her be round with him,
    And I'll be placed, so please you, in the ear
    Of all their conference.

    Scene 2

    O, it offends me to the soul to hear a robustious
    periwig-pated fellow tear a passion to tatters, to very rags,
    to split the ears of the groundlings,

    stage direction
    Anon comes in a fellow, takes off his crown, kisses it, and pours poison in the King's ears, and exit.

    Lucianus stage direction
    Pours the poison into the sleeper's ears

    Scene 4

    Here is your husband; like a mildew'd ear,
    Blasting his wholesome brother.

    Eyes without feeling, feeling without sight,
    Ears without hands or eyes, smelling sans all,

    O, speak to me no more.
    These words, like daggers, enter in mine ears;

    ACT 4
    Scene 2

    I am glad of it: a knavish speech sleeps in a foolish ear.

    Scene 5

    Her brother is in secret come from France;
    Feeds on his wonder, keeps himself in clouds,
    And wants not buzzers to infect his ear
    With pestilent speeches of his father's death;
    Wherein necessity, of matter beggar'd,
    Will nothing stick our person to arraign
    In ear and ear.

    Scene 6

    I have words to speak in thine ear will make thee dumb;
    yet are they much too light for the bore of the matter.

    Scene 7

    Now must your conscience my acquaintance seal,
    And you must put me in your heart for friend,
    Sith you have heard, and with a knowing ear,
    That he which hath your noble father slain
    Pursued my life.

    ACT 5
    Scene 2

    The rest is silence.

    The sight is dismal,
    And our affairs from England come too late.
    The ears are senseless that should give us hearing,
    To tell him his commandment is fulfilled
    That Rosencrantz and Guildenstern are dead.

  3. #3
    Registered User kelby_lake's Avatar
    Join Date
    Mar 2008
    Could do a search of the online text available here for certain words.
    Might want to try:

    And such related words.

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