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3: Plays and Hamlet

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    Here you will find the prompt for Essay 3, Writing about Shakespeare.

    Essay, Hamlet Prompt Breakdown-00:05:46

    Essay 3: Close Reading Assignment-Hamlet

    Purpose: Engage in critical analysis of the concrete details and formal elements of one short passage from Shakespeare’s Hamlet.

    Format: 4-6 pages long (4 body paragraphs) that engage in close reading analyses. The essay should be in Times New Roman, 12pt font. Double-space your paragraphs and use 1-inch margins and headers according to MLA format.

    Each body paragraph should start with a strong and argumentative claim that you support with evidence from observations about the formal/concrete elements of Shakespeare’s passage and, if relevant, the No Fear translation. Be sure to explain the relationship between your claims and your evidence to your reader.

    Prompt: Write 4-6 pages (@ least 4 body paragraphs) of close reading of one of the following soliloquy: (Discuss the theme and the literary/ poetic devices that contribute to said theme)

    1.2.129-159 (p.9)

    2.2.507-567 (p.46)

    3.1.57-91 (p.50)

    3.4.54-88 (p.71)

    Notes: For this close reading, you should try to avoid writing an essay that “argues” the basic “meaning.” Instead, you need to determine a theme in the passage and the literary devices/ structural elements that contribute to said theme. This way, you will focus on how/why the actual use of literary devices contributes to the passage's overall theme/message.

    The main goal for this assignment is to write an analysis of the form of the words themselves, their arrangement on the page, and the way the formal elements contribute to the content of the passage in Shakespeare’s play.

    To do this, you must look closely at the concrete details of Shakespeare’s passages. What kinds of patterns and word choices does Shakespeare use that No Fear changes? How do these patterns in Shakespeare’s poetry contribute to creating meaning in the passage? Think about words with multiple meanings, figure out the use of similes or personification, examine opposites, consider the effect of specific verbs and their tenses, probe the significance of conjunctions, prepositions, pronouns—revel in the words and the page for awhile. Feel free to linger “too long” on any specific phrase; read “way too much” into the word choices; take risks and be bold with your analysis. Develop at least four separate claims about the form of Shakespeare’s passage; each claim should constitute one block/ paragraph of your own writing.

    What this means? In your essay, you should explore the theme of the text? What’re the literary devices that you see in the passage? How/why Do these literary devices contribute to the overall theme?

    Sample Thesis: Topic +Opinion +Reasons Why

    (The theme of anguish is depicted in the soliloquy “1.2.129-159” through the author’s use of alliteration, allusion, metaphor, and diction. )

    Brainstorming Hints

    Please first read through Shakespeare’s passage at least three times out loud, to yourself, to a friend, etc. Then type or write out the passage for yourself on your computer or on a separate sheet of paper. Writing the words can help you see them with fresh eyes and pay attention to the concrete details and formal elements of the language. After you print out your freshly typed version of the passage, make notes about what strikes you as strange, curious, or provocative in the passage. Then, type out the No Fear translation and keep in mind how it strays from Shakespeare’s language.

    Essay 2 Requirements:

    • 4-6 pages
    • MLA Format
    • Use "Hamlet"
    • Use 4 Literary Devices(& Define Them)

    You may not consult any outside sources for this assignment other than No Fear Shakespeare and the Oxford English Dictionary.

    Your assignment should also include a Works Cited page.


    3: Plays and Hamlet is shared under a not declared license and was authored, remixed, and/or curated by LibreTexts.

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