Comparison between Hamlet and Laertes

Paper instructions:
Compare:
Hamlet/Laertes
and then write an essay in which you compare and contrast them in terms of two points of
comparison.
What are “points of comparison”? They can be aspects of human nature, tendencies, values,
personality traits, fears, etc. For example, if “honesty” is worth noting in terms of both of your
characters, then make a case for that in your essay. Both characters may be remarkably
honest; or one character may be honest and the other dishonest; or they may both struggle
within themselves between honesty and dishonesty; or they may be honest about some things
but dishonest about others. You may write anything as long as the point of the comparison is
pertinent, worthwhile, and clearly-explained.
Some examples of points of comparison are intelligence, willpower, nurturing abilities,
cowardice, sense of humor, open-mindedness, empathy, greed, envy, laziness, impulsiveness,
etc. Your thesis will be a clearly-worded statement in which you identify which two
characters and which two traits you will be addressing, and then a more general thematic
conclusion based upon those facts (your “so what”). For example:
*Characters: St. John and Mr. Brocklehurst
*Points of comparison: tendency to impose religious views on others/willingness to give all for
own beliefs
Thesis: Although St. John Rivers and Mr. Brocklehurst are both
highly religious characters who impose their views on others,
St. John alone is willing to put his own life at risk for his
ideals. This difference shows that outwardly fervent religious
behavior does not always indicate a true commitment to faith.
Your thesis will likely end up being two sentences, and that’s okay.
Obviously, your choice of points of comparison is key to writing a strong analysis. Choose
points that allow you to say something worthwhile about the play. Also, choose points of
comparison whose existence (or absence) you will be able to prove with textual evidence. (Is
Ophelia lazy? We don’t really know, as we have no evidence either way. Don’t use that as a
point of comparison for her.)
Organization of your essay
Introduction paragraph
Trait A: Character 1
Trait A: Character 2
Trait B: Character 1
Trait B: Character 2 (you’ll be working your “so what”
analysis into your body paragraphs)
Conclusion paragraph
This will end up being about six paragraphs total (more if you need to divide body paragraphs
for focus).
What I’m looking for:
*Knowledge of the play and characters
*Clear, rich points of comparison
*Ability to prove the existence or absence of the traits, using well-chosen textual evidence
*Quotations that following the guidelines we discussed in class
*The ability to think beyond the traits and have an interesting “so what?” to show what these
similarities/differences add to the play as a whole
*Clear organization
*Good spelling/grammar/mechanics/etc.
This essay will be due on (have a paper
copy in hand on the due date AND submit to Turnitin.com before class starts on the due date)

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