HAMLET Essay assignment VWO 5 May 2022 EVN/JNM/KLM
In pairs you are going to write an essay by answering any three of the questions below. Answer each of these questions in approximately 200 words. Make sure you mentioned the number of words you have used.
When answering these questions give arguments based on what you have read in the play and whenever you give a quote or refer to the text, mention the act, the scene and the line(-s), e.g.: Act I, scene 3, lines 24-30. You use at least three quotes in each three of your answers, so that makes a total of nine.
Of course your answers are grammatically correct and in formal English.
Deadline is Friday 10 June 23:00 hours GMT.
The Essay Questions:
1 The predicaments that Hamlet faces are those that have always confronted mankind: the desire to take revenge; rejected love; parent /child conflicts. Do you agree?
2 “Therefore, since brevity is the soul of wit, And tediousness the limbs and outward flourishes, I will be brief. Your noble son is mad. Mad call I it; for to define true madness, What is it but to bed nothing else but mad?” (Polonius, Act 2, scene 2, lines 90-94).There have been many discussions about whether or not Hamlet was mad. Polonius was convinced he knew the answer. Hamlet declared that he was only mad occasionally and Fortinbras and Horatio do not raise the issue. Even Laertes, who was mad with anger as a result of his father’s murder and Ophelia’s insanity, does not dismiss Hamlet as a madman. With whom do you side? Why?
3 Daughter, sister, lover – in all these relationships Ophelia simply accepts the fact that she is being dominated. Do you agree?
4 Write a short paragraph (200 words) in which you discuss what the play has to say about political power and the use and abuse of such power.
5 In the course of the play, Hamlet grows up. Do you agree completely, partly, or not at all? Explain your opinion.
6 Hamlet sometimes disappoints loved ones, tells lies, and even murders, but the audience still sympathizes with him.” Discuss.
7 There are many contrasts in the play, Hamlet. For example: there is honesty but also dishonesty, faithfulness and infidelity, love and hatred, honour and dishonour, revenge and forgiveness. This suggests that nothing was simple, nothing was easy. And for the three hours of the play we, the audience, find ourselves constantly swept from one opinion to the opposite. Sometimes we agree with what is happening on stage, at other times we find it disgusting. This is why it is difficult to decide exactly what kind of person Hamlet is. Discuss.
8 There are only two female characters in Hamlet: Gertrude and Ophelia. What are these two? Innocent dupes? Manipulated victims of a patriarchal (male-dominated) society? Cunning self-seekers who at least partly deserve their fates? All of the above? None of the above? Is it even valid to discuss them in the same breath? What do you think?
9 “Confused, bewildered and frightened” “Conniving, cunning and in full control” Consider and discuss the character of Hamlet in the light of these two extremes.
10 Why does Hamlet procrastinate in carrying out the ghost’s instructions? Is Hamlet a coward or a hero? When Hamlet finally does kill Claudius, is it not perhaps the best time to have done so?