Friday, October 28, 2011

Hamlet Essay

Using what you've learned about Hamlet the character and Hamlet the play, evaluate the impact of performative utterance on Hamlet and your own sense of self. How does the way Hamlet speaks constitute action in itself? How does it impact the characters and the plot? How does this compare with your own "self-overhearing"? How does the way you reflect on your experience create a sense of memory, expectation, and real-world results? Use the text, your reading/lecture notes, the experience of memorizing the "To be, or not to be" soliloquy, de Boer's paper (and Bloom's/Austin's theoretical frameworks), and the many online and offline discussions we've had.

Please comment to this post with any questions or ideas about the topic or ways to write about it. Please bring a hard copy (typed or handwritten) to class on Monday (10/31).


  1. Does anyone want to give a little hint as to where I should start?

    Matthew Giddings

  2. I feel like I wont be able to relate any of these things in a well structured flowing essay. If anyone has ideas please let me know, and where to begin is another challenge.

    Katie Enstad

  3. The organizational structure and transitional flow are style questions you will have to answer. That's part of what I'll be teaching about next week, so it will be useful (and a little challenging) to wrestle with ahead of time.

    To start with, ask yourselves these questions: 1) What do we say when we talk to ourselves, 2)Why, and 3) With what effect?

  4. I don't understand this:
    How does the way you reflect on your experience create a sense of memory, expectation, and real-world results?

    Anyone care to help?

  5. See Fredrik de Boer's new comment to the thread on his paper. When Hamlet swears an oath to the ghost, he doesn't just say something, he creates the fact that he has sworn an oath. This remembered fact drives him on through the rest of the play. When you make up your mind to do something, the act of telling yourself this information creates a new standard for you measure yourself against, i.e. an expectation. (Example: "Aaargh! I should've started this assignment sooner-- I TOLD myself I wouldn't procrastinate!") As for real-world results, you can look at this in two ways: 1) The way you think and achieve differently because of something you've told yourself; and 2) The "perlocutionary" impact of your words on others.

  6. Ok, I am shooting in the dark and I hope this answer makes sense Katie. Reflection on one's past events or incidents by nature brings a feeling of nostalgia, or remembrance by nature. How you can throw in expectation to it is by adding in the goals or current mindset you were in when experiencing those memories because it shows the reader what you wanted to achieve and any pitfalls along the way. The real world results happen when those goals and learning from the mistakes you made in your past experiences and turn them into a following outcome. An example of this is promising yourself never to be burned by something hot again when you were a child, later accidentally burn your hand on marsh-mellow stick and then the real world result is putting your hand near a questionably hot substance to feel if it is cool enough to actually touch. I hope this answer kind of makes sense. Its the only way I can make sense of it.