Write a 4 page (double-spaced) argumentative essay about Hamlet. Present a clear and concise thesis statement. Support your claims with at least 3 direct quotations from the text. Integrate and analyze these carefully using SEQUOIA (see below). A printed copy of your essay, in correct MLA format, is due at the beginning of class.

How to cite Shakespeare: -If you work a passage into the flow of your paragraph, it should look like this: Hamlet reveals his interest in mortality when he says, “That skull had a tongue in it, and could sing once” (V.i.74). -Remember to quote Shakespeare by act, scene, and line number (no page number). -If you’re dealing with two lines of verse, indicate line breaks with a backslash: Hamlet laments, “Purpose is but the slave to memory, / Of violent birth but pure validity” (III.ii.183-184). -If you block-quote a longer passage—four lines or more—type it with the line breaks it carries in the play.

version of hamlet to cite: Shakespeare, William. Hamlet. New York: W.W.Norton,2011.


THESIS: Hamlet’s antic disposition, along with the trauma he has been through, eventually cause him to become unable to distinguish who he is from who he’s pretending to be. This descent into madness is the central cause of why Hamlet is a tragedy. His madness also causes Ophelia’s and Laertes’ insanity.

QUOTES to probably use or reference:

HAMLET: I will tell you why. So shall my anticipation prevent your discovery, and your secrecy to the king and queen moult no feather. I have of late—but wherefore I know not—lost all my mirth, forgone all custom of exercises, and indeed it goes so heavily with my disposition that this goodly frame, the earth, seems to me a sterile promontory; this most excellent canopy, the air—look you, this brave o’erhanging firmament, this majestical roof fretted with golden fire—why, it appears no other thing to me than a foul and pestilent congregation of vapors. What a piece of work is a man! How noble in reason, how infinite in faculty! In form and moving how express and admirable! In action how like an angel, in apprehension how like a god! The beauty of the world. The paragon of animals. And yet, to me, what is this quintessence of dust? Man delights not me. No, nor woman neither, though by your smiling you seem to say so. (Shakespeare 2.II.256-271)

GERTRUDE: There is a willow grows aslant a brook That shows his hoar leaves in the glassy stream. There with fantastic garlands did she come Of crowflowers, nettles, daisies, and long purples, That liberal shepherds give a grosser name, But our cold maids do “dead men’s fingers” call them. There, on the pendant boughs her coronet weeds Clambering to hang, an envious sliver broke, When down her weedy trophies and herself Fell in the weeping brook. Her clothes spread wide, And mermaid-like a while they bore her up, Which time she chanted snatches of old lauds As one incapable of her own distress, Or like a creature native and indued Unto that element. But long it could not be Till that her garments, heavy with their drink, Pulled the poor wretch from her melodious lay To muddy death.


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