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Writing an Essay on Hamlet and MacbethI have a essay on tragedy of Hamlet and Macbeth...

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e-nglish-class | Student, Undergraduate | eNotes Newbie

Posted April 4, 2008 at 7:02 AM via web

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Writing an Essay on Hamlet and Macbeth

I have a essay on tragedy of Hamlet and Macbeth and I know they are tragedies, but how do I make it descriptive enough to earn an 'A'?

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amy-lepore | High School Teacher | (Level 1) Educator Emeritus

Posted April 4, 2008 at 8:57 AM (Answer #2)

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What is the topic or assignment for your essay?  Are you supposed to focus on imagery and descriptive passages?

The 'A' will come from writing a clear thesis and having a purpose that is proven with examples and quotes from the texts. For instance, you might consider this thesis:

Shakespeare's use of imagery of sickness and decay in both Macbeth and Hamlet is a controlling factor.  Without it, the audience would have trouble understanding the extent of the decline in the societies of Scotland and Denmark.

Then, you would look for evidence of language in both plays that indicate a sickness, rotting, or decay in these societies.

 

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slshcolnik | High School Teacher | (Level 1) Adjunct Educator

Posted April 4, 2008 at 12:04 PM (Answer #3)

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     To start off, I would recommend making a list of the aspects that make the two plays tragedies. Which elements in the plays make them tragic? Once you have those main ideas down, think of a couple examples from the plays for each of the elements you have listed. For instance, if you say Hamlet is a tragedy because everyone dies in the end, write down the specific characters who died and how they died.

      Once you have these rough ideas written, try to find ways to put them into common categories - look for similarities within the elements you have listed and group them together into paragraphs. Make a topic sentence for each paragraph (related to what similarities those elements shared) and then give your ideas along with at least one accompanying example. The examples prove that you have support for your ideas and are the most important "descriptive" portion of the writing. Without these examples, your ideas are shallow and unsupported.

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e-nglish-class | Student, Undergraduate | eNotes Newbie

Posted April 7, 2008 at 4:34 PM (Answer #4)

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What is the topic or assignment for your essay?  Are you supposed to focus on imagery and descriptive passages?

The 'A' will come from writing a clear thesis and having a purpose that is proven with examples and quotes from the texts. For instance, you might consider this thesis:

Shakespeare's use of imagery of sickness and decay in both Macbeth and Hamlet is a controlling factor.  Without it, the audience would have trouble understanding the extent of the decline in the societies of Scotland and Denmark.

Then, you would look for evidence of language in both plays that indicate a sickness, rotting, or decay in these societies.

 

What i meant by the "Tragedy" was that how are Macbeth and Hamlet tragic heroes.  I know Macbeth's tragedy is ambition and Hamlet's tragedy is hesitation,  but how do I make my three-page essay descriptive enough and understandable to make and 'A' ?

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malibrarian | High School Teacher | (Level 1) Educator

Posted April 10, 2008 at 6:30 PM (Answer #5)

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I would suggest that you re-read both plays and start making lists of quotes from both that clearly show Macbeth's ambition and Hamlet's hesitation, if that is indeed what you want to write your paper about.  You will need to state your thesis in your introduction - that both Macbeth and Hamlet are tragic heroes and why.  Then the body of your paper will need to fully illustrate, using examples from the text, that you have evidence to back up your thesis.  A three-page paper on this topic should actually be quite easy to achieve, as long as you look for solid evidence from the text to include in your paper (remembering to quote properly, however your teacher has instructed you to do that).

Remember that anytime you're writing a paper like this, it is critical that you don't just say, "I believe...", then proceed to talk about why YOU think these guys are tragic heroes.  You have to show your teacher that you read the plays and can discuss the evidence within the text that show them to be tragic heroes.

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accessteacher | High School Teacher | (Level 3) Distinguished Educator

Posted June 18, 2010 at 2:02 AM (Answer #6)

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It sounds as if your essay would benefit from comparing and contrasting Macbeth and Hamlet as tragic figures. So developing the ideas of other editors above, what makes them tragic? How are they different in their tragic nature? Do we have more sympathy for one than for the other? Why? To what extent is their tragedy their fault or are they a victim of outside circumstances?

This should give you some stuff to think through - hope it helps and good luck!

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