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Hamlet
William Shakespeare

A STEP BEYOND

TERM PAPER IDEAS

  • CHARACTERS
  • Choose one of the following groups and compare the characters to each other in terms of their role in the action of the play:
    1. Laertes, Fortinbras, and Horatio
    2. Claudius and his brother
    3. Hamlet and Ophelia
    4. Polonius and Horatio
    5. Claudius and Hamlet
  • IMAGERY
  • Take one of the following images that recur repeatedly in the text of Hamlet and locate as many of its appearances in the play as you can. Show how Shakespeare develops and enriches the image by constantly varying it till it has an overall meaning for the play:
    1. Poison in the ear
    2. A mirror (or "glass")
    3. Disease and rotting things
    4. The sun
    5. Acting and hypocrisy
    6. Madness

  • EXTERNALS
  • The following subjects are discussed only in passing or by implication in the play. Drawing on all the information Shakespeare gives, create as full a picture as you can of one of them:
  • Denmark's diplomatic relations with Poland, Norway, and England
  • Actors and their position in society
  • The rights and status of women at court
  • The changing attitude of the Danish people toward the royal family
  • HAMLET IN THOUGHT AND ACTION
  • Take one of these decisive moments in Hamlet's story and analyze it in terms of Hamlet's own philosophic view, in terms of his goal of revenge, and in terms of today's moral standards. Discuss whether his action is justifiable and practical by each set of terms:
  • The confrontation with Ophelia (the Nunnery Scene)
  • His behavior during the Play Scene
  • The killing of Polonius
  • His treatment of his mother in the Closet Scene
  • His argument with Laertes at the graveyard
  • The killing of Rosencrantz and Guildenstern
  • HAMLET AND OUR TIMES
  • Take one of the following topics central to Hamlet, and discuss it in terms of what the play has to say to modern readers. In what way does Hamlet's life tell you something about yours on these subjects:
  • Suicide
  • Love and marriage
  • Mother-son relations
  • Honest government
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[Hamlet Table of Contents] [PinkMonkey.com]

Copyright 1984 by Barron's Educational Series, Inc.
Electronically Enhanced Text © Copyright 1993, World Library, Inc.
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