Week 16–Hamlet Project and Essay Options

This week I am going to give you the options for your next formal essay and your next project.

Browse through your options and leave a comment below letting me know which essay and which project you are going to pick. You must do one of each.

I want you to use your time this week to get a lot of work done, because next week we will be moving on with our studies and you will have these assignments on top of your regular workload (reading/assignments/grammar/vocab).

Hamlet Essay Options

For this essay, I want you to focus on learning how to write a good thesis statement. Watch the video below, and then follow the advice. Just remember, your thesis statement has to be something that can be debated, but that you will prove with evidence during your essay.

Your Thesis Statement is DUE this Thursday night before 10pm.

This sentence must be the very last sentence of your introductory paragraph. If you want to know if you have a good thesis before Thursday, let me know! Text it to me and I will give you feedback.

Killer Thesis Statement Video

Pick from one of the following essay prompts. Then write a well thought out essay, using at least 4 quotes from the play to prove your thesis. If you are in in 9th grade or under, you need to write 2-4 pages. If you are in 10th grade or up, you need to write 4-5 pages. Your rough draft is due the Friday we return to class.

Essay Prompts

Option 1–Hamlet and Ophelia

Could their love have made it? Or was it doomed to fail? How did Hamlet feel about Ophelia? Was he truly in love with her or was it just a youthful infatuation? How did she feel about him? Were Laertes and Polonious giving her truthful advice or bad advice? Would Hamlet have been able to marry her? Why or why not. Your thesis statement needs to clearly state your opinion on their relationship, and your essay needs to prove it.

Option 2–Gertrude 

Who is Gertrude? Did she really love Claudius? Was she over her dead husband? Was she filled with lust? Was she just trying to protect herself and her son by pretending? Your thesis statement needs to clearly state your opinion, then use your essay to prove it!

Option 3–Death

This play puts death under the microscope and forces us to consider it. What do you think the overall message is about death? Consider the idea of being eaten by worms, kings and peasants being equal in death, Yorick’s skull, dying before confessing, the ghost, the “to be or not to be” soliloquy, and the bloody conclusion. How does this play force us to consider our own mortality? What lesson does it teach us? Is there hope in death? Or is there fear in death? You must decide and support it with quotes. What do you think Shakespeare was trying to say about death? Your thesis statement needs to clearly state your opinion, then use your essay to prove it! (For this one you need to let your thesis guide you or you will be all over the place)

Option 4–Revenge

Both Hamlet and Laertes are trying to avenge the death of their fathers. What does their quest for revenge have in common? How are the circumstances different? How are their method’s different. Compare and contrast these two characters who are trying to do the right thing. Your thesis statement needs to clearly state your opinion, then use your essay to prove it!

Option 5–Comedy

As serious as this play is, there is also so much of it that is hilarious. Why did Shakespeare add humor to his tragedy? Highlight a couple of the comic scenes and explain what purpose they serve in the play. Your thesis statement needs to clearly state your opinion, then use your essay to prove it!

Option 6–Madness

For this essay I want you to compare and contrast Hamlet’s feigned madness with Ophelia’s true madness. Look at how they both communicate. How does Hamlet’s mad speech protect him and hide his true feelings? How do the words that Ophelia says or sings reveal her true feelings, making her utterly vulnerable? This is kind of a hard topic. It would be “honors” level, so don’t tackle it if you are not willing to really dig deep. Your thesis statement needs to clearly state your opinion, then use your essay to prove it!

Hamlet Project Options

Please pick one of the following assignments. Find something that you will enjoy and have fun with. Also, please be careful to pick something that you can actually DO. For example, don’t pick the group project if you have a busy schedule and cannot meet outside of class. Don’t pick the art project if you are getting eye surgery and won’t be able to see for a month.

*If you want to do a video option, it must be uploaded to the YouTube. I will not accept computer files. But what is good about YouTube is that they let you select privacy options, so strangers won’t see it. You can upload the video as “unlisted” — only the people who you send a link to can watch it.

Option 1–Memorize and Perform a Soliloquy

Are you someone who wants to be able to do the whole “To Be or Not to Be . . .” thing? Then do it! You can either stand up in front of the class and recite it, or you can videotape yourself and publish it to YouTube.

Option 2–Artwork (A Scene)

I would like you to make a BIG picture. Poster sized. Not notebook paper!!!! Use thick poster board or even a canvas. You can draw/paint/chalk/pencil/crayon/collage a scene from the play. Pick your medium, but do it WELL. No kindergarten stuff.

Option 3–Artwork (A Promotional Poster)

This art project is more of a promotional poster. If Hamlet was going to be in theaters and you wanted to design a logo/advertisement. You can use symbols or key phrases to not only represent the play, but also to get people’s attention. Market the play. Again, this should be turned in on large thick poster board or canvas.

Option 4–Video Project

2 or more of you will need to meet outside of class and make a video project of an entire scene from the play. I need you to act it out, using Shakespeare’s actual words. I want it to be good quality. You may use costumes, and props. You may even be funny, but if you are just funny without completing the assignment, you will get an F. This project is really a hit or miss. I have high standards for this, because I worked in Rowland Heights and the kids there go all out. Each member of the group needs to have a substantial speaking role.

Option 5–Public Service Announcement For Suicide

This project can be either a short 2 minute video, or a brochure. But I want you to take the concept of suicide and come up with a public service announcement with facts on suicide, resources for help and statistics. Your audience is 10th Century Denmark. Help them out. Mention the “recent alleged suicide” of a young noble woman. Use a couple quotes from the “To Be or Not to Be” soliloquy.

Option 6-Political Advertisement For “Rapier Control”

Again, this project is set in 10th Century Denmark. Come up with a Political Advertisement against Rapier Violence that is springing up and killing people. You can make a video commercial, that pulls on our heartstrings. Or you can make a poster that persuades people to raise awareness of Rapier Violence. Or you can write a short speech that Horatio may give, to encourage everyone to stop killing everyone. This may be satirical if you like.

Remember, you need to turn in your thesis statement this Thursday, and you need to leave a comment below letting me know which essay and which project you are doing.

God Bless you guys!!!!

Oh, and since we have talked about death so much in Hamlet, I thought I would share this song. I am sure you hear it every 15 minutes on the radio (LOL). But the kids and I trip out on this video. So if you haven’t seen it yet, check it out.

Wear a helmet. All day long.

Due Dates:

1/29–Thesis Statement, Pick topics

2/5–Essay Rough Draft Due (Camp)

2/12–Essay Final Draft and Projects Due


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