Hamlet Critical Analysis Essay: How to Make Your Paper Stand Out
You can make your Hamlet critical essay stand out amongthe many written by other students. Use one of these fresh topic ideas:
- Test the statement that George Bernard Shaw made on Hamlet’s character.
- Answer the question of whether Hamlet was mad.
- Examine the theme of ghosts and spiritualism in a broader context.
- Analyze the concept of “unmanly grief” in Hamlet.
- Take a closer look at Hamlet’s “to be or not to be” philosophy.
Shaw claimed that Hamlet was a “proud, noble, and violent” type, not a sentimental one, and that the view of him as a sentimental character in stage plays was a frequent reason for their failures. Examine Shakespeare’s text for evidence either for or against this claim.
Search the play for evidence that Hamlet was insane (or of sound mind). Your analysis will be especially valuable if you compare Hamlet side by side to another supposedly insane Shakespeare’s character (e. g. King Lear). Find out what is similar and different in their behaviors, and draw a logical conclusion.
Hamlet’s uncritical belief in his father’s ghost is rather odd for a contemporary person. The prince does not show a shadow of doubt that he actually heard his dead father. Find out how common such beliefs were for people in Shakespeare’s age (your school library should have relevant sources, e. g. books on Hamlet’s literary analysis). Shouldn’t Hamlet, as a Christian, have supposed that the vision of a ghost could have been sent by Satan to tempt him? What does Hamlet’s attitude towards the ghost tell us of Shakespeare’s view of the afterlife?
The view of Hamlet’s grief as being too obsessional, and hence “unmanly,” is expressed by Claudius in a speech that many critics find to be “oddly compelling.” Claudius accuses Hamlet of this “unmanly” behavior because the prince’s grief over his father’s death goes beyond what was considered normal at that age. Based on Hamlet’s behavior later in the play, decide whether these words were justified. Is the concept of “unmanly grief” still relevant today? How would Hamlet’s actions be labeled by a present-day person?
Throughout the play, Hamlet often speaks of his own life philosophy, expressing unconventional views on love, family, loyalty, and suffering. Examine how consistent his actions are with his words. What decisions does Hamlet make in the play? Is his choice “to be” or “not to be” in each case? Can he be described as a constantly hesitant and indecisive character who fails to live up to his ideals?