Writing in Literature Burton Center Writing Workshop Series
Tips from the monkeys who brought you Hamlet
Always use direct quotations to prove what you are saying. Point: Hamlet cannot really be insane. R E P E A T P R O C E S S Proof: “The Mouse-trap. Marry, how? Tropically. This playis the image of a murder done in Vienna: Gonzago isthe duke's name; his wife, Baptista: you shall seeanon.” Explanation: How could an insane man so cleverly plan a play that exposes a criminal?
Use literary terms to your advantage. Hamlet’s characterization indicates why he cannot be considered insane. The skull that Hamlet speaks to is a symbolic item foreshadowing the tragicconclusion of the play.
Everybody talks about whether Hamlet was pretending to be insane. Why not demonstrate that Hamlet’s insanity is a commentary on national corruption? Shoot for original ideas about the literature.
Hamlet’s sanity is still argued amongst literary critics because the text can be read in multiple ways. There is no “right” answer. There is such a thing as misreading a text. So use caution in interpretation.
Use the basic rules of writing to make sure a good idea is well presented.