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In: English and Literature

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Hamlet AP Timed Essay Response

Wednesday, April 28: One of these Hamlet timed essay topics will be chosen for you. You may wish to prepare ahead of time (in fact, you will regret not doing so). NO NOTES OR TEXT ALLOWED.

1982 AP Question: In great literature, no scene of violence exists for its own sake. Choose [Hamlet and show how it] confronts the reader or audience with a scene or scenes of violence. In a well-organized essay, explain how the scene or scenes contribute to the meaning of the [play].

Thesis (possible):
Though other events in this play exhibit violence, nothing so effectively captures and concludes the essence of this work like the last battle to purge the kingdom.

1988 AP Question: [In Hamlet] some of the most significant events are mental or psychological; for example, awakenings, discoveries, changes in consciousness. In a well-organized essay, describe how the author manages to give these internal events the sense of excitement, suspense, and climax usually associated with external action.

Thesis (possible):
Although Hamlet vows and speaks of action, it is his anguished soliloquies and asides that awaken him from despondency to excitement and final action.

Or: Before Hamlet can physically move to avenge his father’s murder and purge the kingdom, he must mentally accept the truths that people are liars, wear masks and die.

1994 AP Question: In [Hamlet] a character who appears briefly, or does not appear at all, is a significant presence. Write an essay in which you show how such a character functions in the work. You may wish to discuss how the character affects action, theme, or the development of other characters. (select: King Hamlet’s ghost or Fortinbras)

Thesis (possible):
With the appearance of King Hamlet’s ghost, Prince Hamlet receives a clouded mission to avenge his father’s murder and purge the poisoned...

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