ESSAY THREE: Drama Essay 3–Character analysis for Shakespeare’s Hamlet - Essay Prowess

ESSAY THREE: Drama Essay 3–Character analysis for Shakespeare’s Hamlet


ESSAY THREE:  Drama Essay 3–Character analysis for Shakespeare’s Hamlet

400-500 word essay ( 3-4 pages, 3-4 literary criticisms)

  • Pay close attention to the character traits of the characters in the play, Hamlet
  • Use literary tools available to you to find the major traits of each character (Wiki’s work well here as a reference).
  • The focus of this paper will be to examine a character as a potential leader.  Choose a character you are interested in, and tell why this character would or would not be a good leader of Denmark.  Explain fully by analyzing the character’s  traits, the  strengths and/or weaknesses of the character, the way this person relates to others and any other pertinent leadership skills necessary to lead a large country.

Determine the specific focus of your paper, deciding on the particular character you feel comfortable analyzing.

Choose from King Hamlet’s Ghost, King Claudius, Hamlet, Queen Gertrude, Polonius, Laertes, Ophelia, Horatio, Fortinbras, the combined Rosencrantz and Guildenstern, or the combined Clowns (grave-diggers).  This will be a serious, not satirical or sarcastic paper in which you examine what traits you believe a leader should possess.

  • Read his or her lines and examine what they say, what they say about others, and what other characters say about them.
  • Find 3-4 academic literary criticismscollege databases–that examine the traits of the character you’ve chosen.
  • Be sure to use third person narrative (not first person or second), and use present tense when speaking of written words.
  • Be sure to cite from the work itself like this:  (Act IV. Scene 2. Line 3) and then later as (IV.2.3). Page numbers are of no consequence for the play, as people may be reading different copies.

As you determine what is important in the character you choose, consider the character’s            



 word choices



 thought processes


actions in private and in public reactions to others

personal choices or decisions –                  (considered or rash)

Is the character informed or merely responsive?

Is the character static (un-changing, un-learning or dynamic (changing, gaining insight, learning from positive or negative experiences)

Are all these traits of the character significant or incidental?

Would the play have worked had the character acted, talked, reacted, or thought differently?

Take into account (and document accordingly) what professional critics have said about your character.  If you disagree with these critics, you will need to cite lines from the play that give evidence to your view.

Be sure to begin with a thesis that makes a serious point about your character.  Then support this point throughout the essay by giving evidence from critics, by refuting evidence from critics, and by giving evidence to support your view from the play.

Remember that the characters in this play are not of our time.  Norms in expectations, in behaviors, and such are all different than we might expect today.  But the basic humanity is still present. (For example, Ophelia would have done as she was told by her father in their time, although many women today would do as they please.)

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