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Hamlet Take Home Test - Response Essay
Answer ONE of the following questions in 750-850 word response:

1) The hero in a Shakespearean play always contributes in some way to the disaster in which he perishes. How true is this in Hamlet?

2) Discuss the use of imagery in Hamlet and show how it reinforces one central theme in the play.

3)A FOIL is a character that contrasts with the protagonist, thus highlighting various qualities of the main chracter's personality. Choose two of the following characters and descibe how they are foils in Hamlet: a)Horatio, b)Laertes, c) Fortinbras

essay must be typed and double spaced, and you must use Times New Roman, size 12 font. Also give your essay a creative title.

You should include atleast 3 references to support your argument. You can use direct quotes or paraphase. Be sure to reference your source, using MLA referencing style. Do not include a bibliography.

OK! so this is my assignment, and I don't quite know what topic I should use. What should I use?
If I use what you say, what arguments should I do and their reference to support. What direct quotes or paraphase should I use to support what srgument.

And how do I reference my source, where on the sheet?...im so confused and most importantly what creative title should I use??? PLEASE HELP!!!
I really need this mark
I appreciate your time!Thankyou!!

  • English -

    All three are good topics, and you shouldn't have any trouble writing about whichever you choose.

    1. Hamlet is the "hero" in this play, and he definitely dies at the end. How do his thoughts and actions during the play lead to his inevitable death?

    2. There's imagery all over the place in this play. You shouldn't have any trouble finding references!! What you'd have to do first, though, is to identify which theme you want to use. If you use this topic, stick with that theme (one theme, not two or three or more) only.
    Pick one and run with it.

    3. The strongest foil to write about here is Laertes. We don't see enough or know enough about Horatio or Fortinbras to make a good case, IMO. I'd use Laertes and contrast all his actions with all of Hamlet's: his immediate reaction to the news of his father's death; his actions after his father's death; etc. (Hint: He comes across as a total contrast to Hamlet's thoughts and actions after learning of HIS father's death.)

    Here is a good webpage that gives you information about quoting and references when you're writing about literature:

    Every time you use quotations from the play itself in your paper, you need to tell which Act, Scene, and Line(s) the quotation comes from. Here's an example:

    "How dangerous is it that this man goes loose!
    Yet must not we put the strong law on him.
    He’s loved of the distracted multitude,
    Who like not in their judgment, but their eyes."
    (Act 4, Scene 3, ll. 2-5)

    Let me know what you decide ... and if you need further help.

  • English -

    This website may help you, too: original Shakespearean English in the left column; "translated" modern English in the right column.

  • English -

    ok I choose number 3 with Laertes...What should my creative title be...and 3 references? and arguments...and i nee to do about 750 words howmuch will that be....i need a lot of information and how do i do it in MLA format....Thankyou for all your help I really appreaciate it ALOT!!!

  • English -

    1. Don't worry about the title yet. It should be the LAST thing you deal with. How can you write a title for a paper you haven't planned or written yet?

    2. Plan your paper!
    Choose 3 or 4 actions of each character that are opposites; then go back into the play and find where those actions take place. You'll pull your quotations (references) from those places.

    3. Here's an overall website that will help you with MLA format and citations:

  • English -

    Can you tell me 3 arguments I should use about Laertes and can u give me an example of how I can include 3 references to support my argument.... what is my argument going to be...and how should I make my title creative I am honestly really confused and how do I use MLA to reference a source? What source? ...-_-!

  • English -

    Your source is the play itself!

    I can't tell you what your argument is going to be. Start with the idea that Shakespeare included Laertes in this play to be a contrast (a foil). Now ... choose 3 places in the play that show how Hamlet reacted to his father's death and the ghost's demand for vengeance ... and then choose 3 places in the play that show how Laertes reacted to his father's death.

    These are not difficult. Make a list for each character. Then repost.

  • English -

    ok can I ask you later... I amgoingto work on it know but is it ok if I ask you questions once I am done...or are will u be busy?

  • English -

    I'll be around!

  • English -

    Writeacher will be back later to answer your questions.

  • English -

    okay thankyou so much!:)

  • English -

    would: A TAINTED MIRROR be a creative title??

  • English -

    Possibly. Let's see how the whole paper turns out before you decide finally.

  • English -

    I DID IT!:)

    The Tainted Mirror

    In Shakespeare’s great tragedy Hamlet, three characters Hamlet, Laertes and Fortinbras, develop as “foils,” or contrasting characters. Several comparisons and contrasts can be shown between the three characters, many of which center around three main topics. Throughout this essay, I will show how Hamlet, Laertes and Fortinbras compare and contrast in terms of avengers and personalities.
    To begin with, one of the most obvious examples of Hamlet’s, Laertes’s and Fortinbras’s similarities rests in their roles as avengers. All three of them become angry at first. For Hamlet, he got angry at Claudius right away…“So, uncle, there you are. Now to my word./It is ‘adieu, adieu, remember me.’/I have sworn ‘t.” (Act I, scene v, lines 115-117). It is apparent that Hamlet is ready to seek his revenge on his uncle Claudius. Likewise, Laertes also shows his anger at first, but unlike Hamlet he mobs the castle upon hearing the news of the death of his father. He reveals his anger against Claudius, threatening him. Laertes believes in instant revenge, he is willing to be damned to hell and he doesn’t give if he dies that is how much he is into getting revenge for the death of his father Polonius. He is willing, “to cut [Hamlet’s] throat i' th’ church” (Act IV, scene vii, line 140). While on the other hand Hamlet is so believes his soul is way more valuable than getting instant revenge. For this reason he refuses to kill Claudius while Claudius is near God. Clearly, the only similarity between them is that they are revenging for their father’s death. Fortinbras also seeks revenge in anger; he raises a full army for revenge for his father’s (Old Fortinbras) death. Claudius also watching Fortinbras’s movements, says to the courtiers of Denmark; (Young Fortinbras’s, Holding a weak supposal of our worth, Or thinking by our late dear brother’s death, Our state to be disjoint and out of frame, Co-leagued with this dream of his advantage, He hath not fail’d to pester us with message importing the surrender of those lands lost by his father.) (Act 1.scene2, 17-24). Two important details are revealed in this speech. First, there is the suggestion that Fortinbras knows the state of affairs in Denmark. Secondly, in a moment of hypocrisy, Claudius calls the Prince of Norway a shameless opportunist. These estimations of Fortinbras build a connection between him and Hamlet, making him a foil for the protagonist. Both men have lost their fathers and now seek retribution. A point of difference is their family relations. Unlike Hamlet, Fortinbras has a strong relationship with the rest of his family. Also Hamlet hides his secret for revenge while Fortinbras and Laertes show it.

    Finally, Hamlet’s, Laertes’s and Fortinbras’s differences are most evident in their personalities. The single biggest difference between the three of them is that Hamlet is a thinker – over thinker. He only thinks while Laertes and Fortinbras act on the things they think of. Until the very last act of the play, Hamlet is plagued by procrastination. Although he is extremely motivated by the story of his late father’s ghost, Hamlet sits to think about mortality and the usefulness of killing the king. He thinks way too much about when he should kill Claudius, how he should kill him, in what manner. He even decides what to do, but never acts on it. His thinking generally renders him inactive. Hamlet is merciful and unwilling to act if he's not sure it's the right thing (Claudius in confession). Fortinbras will put people at risk for his pride and for revenge (the attack on Poland). Laertes and Fortinbras move quickly and act rashly in their anger, choosing to act first and apologize at the end. Laertes quick action and lack of thought also leads to another contradiction in his and Hamlet’s personalities. Laertes is significantly more obedient then Hamlet. While Laertes listens carefully to both his father’s and Claudius’s words and observes carefully, Hamlet often defies, argues, denies and even goes so far as to manipulate Claudius. Hamlet’s character is much deeper than Laertes. He is more intelligent, which results in Hamlet’s quick wit and sarcasm. Undoubtedly, Hamlet’s and Laertes’s personalities are considerably different. Fortinbras waited until 30 years after his father's death. He waited until his father's killer was already dead. If he had attacked Denmark sooner, Hamlet's father might have challenged him to a personal duel. But Fortinbras was a coward who preferred to send thousands of "commoners" to their graves to fight for his greed. Fortinbras came to Poland and Denmark to steal land. He called it "honor" but it was really cowardice and greed. Fortinbras has a coward personality compared to Hamlet and Laertes.

    As illustrated, the characters of Hamlet, Fortinbras and Laertes are developed as foils through Hamlet. The three characters compare and contrast largely in the areas of avengers and personalities. Truly, Shakespeare’s text develops Hamlet, Fortinbras and Laertes into tainted mirror images, highlighting Hamlet’s personality and actions.

    Okay so I have done it... Are my references correct in the proper MLA format. And where and how should I reference my SOURCE?? I don't think my essay is in MLA format either. If you see anything wrong can you correct it please...I appreciate your feedback greatly!

  • English -

    oh there is supposed to be a paragraph breaking between the sentence in terms of avenger and personalities and to begin with...

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