Today was our last full class on Hamlet. I thought that as a class you all did an excellent job of scrutinizing the posted "introductory paragraphs" on Hamlet that we have on our blog. Bear these ideas in mind, and the suggested improvements the class made, when you are writing your next essay.
I would like you to address some of the lasting impressions of the play Hamlet, particularly one set in relief by the assessment many students give of the play (which I joked about in class). When asked what "happens" in the play Hamlet, many students reply "everyone dies." I suggested that this is sort of a timeless claim, a universal dictum, not unlike Hamlet's famous pronouncement "to be, or not to be, that is the question" (3.1, line 57). So, if the play contains many timeless or universal messages, what might be the most lasting message of all contained in the play? One group suggested in their posting that this is a play, above all, about honor. If we collapse this message into the idea that "everyone dies," what does that tell us -- about us as readers, about the play itself, about (with apologies for using such a hackneyed phrase) life itself?