Essays on Hamlet: what to focus on?

Studying Shakespeare is a chore for most students. It’s hard to understand, hard to read, and hard to analyze. For an assignment like a review or essay that you have to do, students can be at a loss of where to start. You might be wondering what sort of details should I talk about, what scenes or quotes to include, and what will your teacher think are the most important parts? This is a question that’s hard to answer, but if you know what your teacher is expecting, it can be a lot easier.

Teachers Expectations for Shakespeare Essays

The first thing you need to do is reread your instructions. Make sure you know everything you can about what your teacher wants. The instructions are there for a reason. If you have any questions or think about something that isn’t addressed on the instructions, go ask your teacher! Some students are too afraid or they think they should be able to figure it out on your own. Don’t fall into this trap.

Now if you’ve got all you can from your teacher, the next step is to look over your notes. What other assignments, lectures and other projects did you already do related to the Hamlet play? Ask yourself these questions:

  • Was there anything in particular that stuck out to you?
  • What were you the most confused by? Maybe this is a good opportunity to understand it better
  • Did you empathize with Hamlet the most or with another character? If the latter, then which one?
  • On your past assignments, if any, look at your grade and your teacher’s notes. If they said specific things that you need to improve on, make sure that you do in this essay
  • Could there be some ideas you can reuse from a past assignment?

Once you’ve gone through each of those questions, it’s time to write your essay. Writing this essay will be similar to any other essay you’ve written in the past. You mostly need to stay organized, keep your thoughts straight and get them out on paper even if they sound rough. Don’t worry about sentence structure or word choice yet – that’s for the editing stage. Just get it down and you can worry over the details after. The first draft is for your creativity and using your knowledge from class. Then in your subsequent drafts you can polish and perfect your words.