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When you work on a piece of literature in a class, such as Hamlet, for example, instructors often ask you to perform a literary analysis of the said work. Writing a Hamlet essay may seem like an uphill task. However, it is a lot easier than most students assume. When you are assigned a Hamlet essay, you should pick a topic that you find interesting.
Hamlet essay questions and topics
- In what way do Hamlet’s 7 discourses unearth his true character?
- Discuss in great detail Gertrude’s relationship with Hamlet.
- Do you think Hamlet really loved Ophelia? If he did not? Do you think he was affected by her death or he was simply driven by divorce?
- Hamlet is based deeply on a plot of revenge. In what way can the characters serve as comedy?
- Do Rosencrantz and Guildenstern serve a purpose are can they just as easily be omitted?
- Was Hamlet justified in wanting revenge?
- What is the extent of Hamlet’s relationship with his ghost?
- What was the purpose of including the murder of Gonzago in the plot?
- Is conflict essential in Hamlet?
- How does Shakespeare represent female characters in his play?
- Did Ophelia make the right decision in going to the nunnery despite all the doubts surrounding her move?
- Was Polonius wrong for judging Ophelia?
- It was Hamlet’s need for revenge that drove him mad. Explain how true or false this is by providing evidence from the play.
- Was Hamlet truly mad or simply driven by his thirst of revenge?
- How are women portrayed in Hamlet? Is this portrayal correct or baseless?
- Using your society as a point of reference, are females in Hamlet just generally deceptive?
- Hamlet takes time to exert his revenge. What do you think this reveals about his character?
- Hamlet’s madness was brought on by his need for revenge. True or false?
- His madness is poor Hamlet’s enemy. Expound on this statement giving your own examples.
- Claudius’ and Laertes’ partnership was founded on their mutual hate for Hamlet. Compare and contrast Claudius and Laertes.
- Is Laertes’s mission for revenge justified?
- Discuss Hamlet’s feelings for his mother.
- What does Hamlet consider to be a betrayal? Give examples.
- Why does Hamlet have issues with Gertrude and Claudius’s marriage?
- Is Hamlet brilliant, calculative or plain cowardly? Provide answers and justify them with reasons.
- How does Hamlet perceive love?
- Do Hamlet and Ophelia really love each other?
- Does Hamlet’s thirst for revenge impact his relationship with Ophelia? Discuss their relationship by providing relevant examples.
- Highlight and discuss in great detail the theme of conflict in Hamlet.
- What role does imagery play in setting the overall mode of the play?
- Tragedy and revenge are featured heavily in Hamlet. Discuss.
- Discuss the theme of death in Hamlet.
- Discuss how dark humour was utilized in Hamlet.
- How essential is Denmark to the plot?
- Claudius has been compared frequently to Macbeth. In what ways are the two characters similar or different?
- Compare and contrast Horatio and Hamlet.
- Is Fortinbras necessary to the overall plot?
- Do you agree or disagree with Goethe’s conclusions about Hamlet?
- Discuss the theme of deception in Hamlet.
- What is the significance of Ophelia’s flowers to the plot?
- There are two sides to Claudius’ character. Discuss them.
- Most human beings are like Hamlet, driven by revenge and rejected love. How true or untrue is this statement?
- Both Claudius and Gertrude are to blame for the terrible state of the Kingdom that Hamlet finds himself in. True or false?
- Did the dramatic death of Polonius have any effect or role in the play?
- Discuss Hamlet’s relationship with other characters in the play.
- Is hamlet’s behaviour acceptable?
- Hamlet’s decisions were driven by fate. Do you agree with this statement?
- Discuss the aspect of parents and their children, paying careful consideration to Polonius and his children, as well as Hamlet and his parents.
- What does Hamlet have to say about political power and its use or misuse?
- Hamlet grows up in the course of the play. Is this true or false?
- It is still possible to sympathise with Hamlet despite his many downfalls. Discuss.
- Why does Hamlet postpone carrying out the ghost’s instructions? Would you regard him as a hero or coward?
- How does Shakespeare present madness in the play?
- What do you consider to be the function of Hamlet many soliloquies in the play?
How to pick a hamlet essay topic or prompt
Pick a hamlet topic you find interesting
If you already have a topic in mind but are not quite sure about it, you can alternatively find an interesting way to approach it. For example, instead of writing about the role of women in Hamlet, find a particular female character to centre your thesis; if you can find an undervalued character, the better it will be for your essay.
Ask yourself these questions
If you are struggling to find a topic, ask yourself these questions:
- Which character struck a chord with you? Is there a specific scene in the novel that comes to mind? If there is, draw on it to create an interesting topic.
- Is there a character that confused you? Is there a character’s behaviour that you found odd? Why not tap into that so that you can provide your insights in general?
- Noticed any ironies or contradictions? Hamlet is a great work of literature because it is complex. If you notice such complexities, try and find a way to explain these elements in your essay.
Formulate a prompt that is in form of a question
If you still have no clue what you want to explore in your essay, try going back to your notes and textbook to formulate a question that you can then attempt to answer in your essay.
Go with a basic idea
If you have waited until the very last minute to work on your essay, as most students do, your best bet for getting the work done in time is to pick a basic topic and run with it.
Hamlet is regarded as one of Shakespeare’s best works, but it is also one of the most challenging and complex. The good news is that because it has been in existence for so long, you are not exactly expected to come up with new concepts. Chances are that someone has already written something on the topic that you want to explore. Therefore, to make things less complicated, try playing around with multiple aspects to create a good topic for a Hamlet essay.