Sample Essay Outlines
The following paper topics are based on the entire play. Following each topic is a thesis and sample outline. Use these as a starting point for your paper.
- Topic #1
A pivotal scene in Hamlet is the “play within a play,” designed to entrap Claudius. But many of the characters are “play-acting,” and many other scenes echo the dominant theme of illusion and deceit. Trace the motif of acting, seeming, illusion, and deceit as opposed to sincerity, being, reality, and honesty, as these qualities are evidenced throughout the play.
I. Thesis Statement: Many of the characters in Hamlet are involved in duplicity designed to deceive, betray, or destroy others. The recurring motif of acting, seeming, illusion, and deceit as opposed to sincerity, being, reality, and honesty illustrates this underlying duplicity throughout the play.
II. Act I
A. The sentinels debate whether the Ghost is real or “but our fantasy.”
B. Hamlet tells Gertrude his grief is genuine: “I know not ‘seems.’”
C. Laertes and Polonius both warn Ophelia that Hamlet’s words and “tenders of love” toward her may be false.
D. The Ghost refers to Gertrude as “my most seeming-virtuous queen.”
III. Act II
A. Polonius instructs Reynaldo to use indirection to learn how Laertes is comporting himself in...
(The entire section is 2820 words.)
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