AP ENGLISH LITERATURE
For your final assignment in Hamlet, choose one of the following topics and write a full essay:
1. Had Hamlet been able to heed Polonius's farewell advice to Laertes, he would have been a happier man, but his tragedy is that he was a "king of shreds of patches" and had no "own self" to which to be true.
2. Considering how many characters in the play fall from innocence, what does Hamlet reveal about the contaminating power of evil and people's resistance to it?
3. Hamlet is a study in hypocrisy because all the characters (except possibly Horatio) falsify themselves in one way or another. Thus, in some ways, Polonius's "This above all, to thine own self be true" is the most ironic line in the play.
4. How do Hamlet's seven soliloquies reveal his character?
5. Of what significance is Ophelia to Hamlet? How truly was Hamlet in love with Ophelia?
6. In Act V, scene 2, Hamlet remarks, "His madness is poor Hamlet's enemy." Explain Hamlet's motivation behind this comment and examine how true is his remark. Use this as a springboard to discuss Hamlet's madness throughout the play.
7. Although Hamlet ultimately rejects it at the end of the play, suicide is an ever-present solution to the problems in the drama. Discuss the play's suggestion of suicide and imagery of death.
Santana High School