Your work must be entirely your own and created for this particular assignment.
Hamlet, Prince of Denmark is often called “the problem play” because it raises more questions than it gives answers (which demonstrates Shakespeare’s genius and explains why people still study this complicated script). Practically every argument one can make about the plot can be disputed by a counter-argument. Using textual evidence, background information from this week’s lecturette, and scholarly sources (be sure to document all outside sources), discuss one argument AND its counter-argument thoroughly.
Argument: The ghost is a figment of everyone’s imagination, brought on by Hamlet’s overly sensitive nature, the heightened emotional state surrounding Hamlet Sr.’s sudden death, Gertrude’s sudden marriage, and the gloomy Danish winter.
Counter argument: The ghost is real — at least in the beginning of the play.
Argument: The ghost is honorable and Hamlet should do what he can to put his father’s soul at peace.
Counter argument: The ghost is evil and is after Hamlet’s soul. Revenge is wrong and Hamlet knows it; otherwise, he wouldn’t have such a problem carrying out the ghost’s demands.
Argument: Ophelia is culpable in Hamlet’s predicament.
Counter argument: The good daughter Ophelia is an unwilling dupe who reluctantly, but obediently, follows her father’s commands.
Argument: Gertrude (who has less than 60 lines of dialog in a 3-hour drama) must play the hand she’s dealt by marrying Claudius. She’s a victim of circumstance.
Counter argument: Gertrude is an accessory to Hamlet Sr.’s murder and should face punishment. If she didn’t help do the deed, she certainly knew about it!
Argument: Hamlet kills Polonius in cold blood and should be punished for his actions.
Counter argument: Hamlet kills Polonius by mistake and should be cut some slack because he is in the throes of his “antic disposition.”
Argument: Hamlet is responsible at least in part for Ophelia’s death. He treats her poorly and he won’t trust her with the truth.
Counter argument: Hamlet is not responsible for Ophelia’s death. Hamlet really loves Ophelia, and he’s just putting on a show when he rebuffs everyone.
Argument: Hamlet repeatedly, deliberately tests fate.
Counter argument: Hamlet is suicidal.
Argument: Claudius is a murder, a usurper, and a lousy king. He deserves what he gets.
Counter argument: There’s scant evidence to prove Claudius’ guilt. Hamlet sees exactly what he wants to see to justify his need for revenge.
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