AP Practice Essay 3

In Hamlet, by William Shakespeare, the main character, Hamlet himself, will never be the same after how badly he was affected by all of the actions around him. First off, his father got murdered; that alone is enough to not be completely normal again. Not only was that, but the man who murdered his dad, his uncle, decided to marry Hamlet’s mother. Events such as these caused Hamlet to go insane because he’s the only one who knows the reasoning behind his father’s death.

The Ghost, Hamlet, Hamlet’s father, speaks to him, but Hamlet is the only one that can see or hear him. This causes Hamlet to become psychologically twisted because he can’t talk to anybody about what he’s seeing or the information he knows. He has to deal with the incest that’s going on, along with the revenge. Hamlet’s confusing himself and going crazy occurs throughout the whole book, until it reaches points of death; then there really is no return. There is no return for Hamlet ever to be himself again after what he’s been through, but then there is literally no return once he’s killed.

Hamlet can’t be himself and live a normal life because he is too occupied with plotting his revenge. The whole theme and focus throughout this book is about how he is going to seek revenge. Hamlet sets up King Claudius and makes a plan of attack for him. By testing his quilt, and succeeding, Hamlet could only focus on that. He gets too wrapped up in the tragic events surrounding him, up until the point where people are trying to physically kill each other; this is safe to say that he is at no point of return.

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AP Practice Essay 2


George Eliot uses descriptive diction, and strong imagery and details in order to express his attitude towards artists. Many artists display “happy work” that may often produce smiles, rather than what’s underneath, which usually consists of no humor or cheerfulness. In this passage, Eliot uses imagery to portray peasants more realistically, but without being sad. This is where realism comes in because representing the truth is far more important than what society has made fictitious. Art should relate to life, and not all artists are responsibly showing this, because most of the time they think it’s something that should just make people feel better. Whether people agree or not, his opinion is very strongly stated.

The first line says that peasants are joyous, which automatically sets the tone. Soon after that he uses the description of round of sound teeth, which symbolizes jolly, happy people. I pick up that the writer uses terms like jocund, instead of cheerful, which again, shows his good diction. “Striped stockings, red waistcoat, and hat aside, who represents the traditional English peasant…” is something that I can clearly picture. He did a good job using imagery to describe the peasant, along with other people and things.

This writer holds a great responsibility on portraying his subjects correctly in order to represent the truth. If it is known that the piece is fictional, then the full truth obviously doesn’t need to be represented, however most of the time this artist is real. As generations progress, people may interpret art differently than those before or after them. An example of this would be the mural that got recently removed at the department of labor in Maine. It caused a catastrophe in our community because of the various opinions the public has.

Towards the end of his passage, he becomes more critical of the artists. If we misinterpret fashion, it’s not that big of a deal, however it is important that we recognize the humor and struggles of life.

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AP Practice Essay 1


Carpe Diem, by Horace and To Virgins, to Make Much of Time, by Robert Herrick are very similar poems, portraying alike messages. They both have rhyming formats, however the meters are different, which allows the styles of the poems to separate. In Carpe Diem, every line rhymes, but in To Virgins, to Make Much of Time, it’s only in every other line.

Imagery is a huge piece of how these poems relate because there is so much of it, however it’s the one piece where they slightly differ as well. When Carpe Diem talks about astrologers, and how it’s better not to know what’s going to fall, it conjures the thought of stars. Then it moves on, talking about winters, making you feel cold. In To Virgins, to Make Much of Time, it talks about rosebuds, flowers, and the glorious lamp of heaven, which is more pleasant. Even though this may sound delightful, it’s also haste because it discusses smiling flowers today, however dying tomorrow. This rushes the happiness, just like time is rushed, which leads to the tone and symbolism used.

In Carpe Diem, the picture of waves crashing against rocks very quickly relates to time passing by, advising you to embrace life. The message being sent is that life is brisk, so enjoy it before it’s over, which makes sense because carpe diem means seize the day and enjoy the present. In To Virgins, to Make Much of Time, the sun symbolizes heaven’s light and youth is warmth, but it’s also fleeting. This poem is more desperate, having a stronger point about using time wisely.

They both display the importance of time, and allow you to realize how fast life goes. You can’t put things off or wait around to accomplish valuable beliefs because before you know it, it’s over. The two poems are very similar in tone and other elements, and even though they may be depressing to read, they portray an extremely valid message.

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Quarter 4

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Hamlet Essay

Throughout the play of Hamlet, written by William Shakespeare, revenge is a huge component. Multiple characters want to take revenge against others because of their actions. Two main plots of revenge include setting up King Claudius to predict whether he’s guilty or not, and also Hamlet’s “attack” on King Claudius. The Ghost speaks, declaring his father’s spirit, and states that he was murdered by Claudius. Nobody can hear him, except for his son, Hamlet, and he is ordered to seek revenge on the man who took over his throne and married his wife.

Hamlet comes up with a good idea to test his uncle’s guilt. He wants the players to preform a scene when Hamlet has to imagine his uncle murdering his father. Depending on how his uncle, King Claudius reacts, will show if there is true guilt there or not. In the theater, when the moment of the murder comes up, Claudius has to get up and leave the room. Both Hamlet, and Horatio think that this is enough to prove his guilt.

The Ghost definitely has a message that he’s been sending Hamlet: his father’s death wasn’t an accident. Hamlet is suppose to get revenge, however this causes major conflict when it’s with the King of Denmark, and the husband of your own mother. Revenge shouldn’t be too complicated, that is if you actually get it done. The complication for Hamlet, is when he doesn’t do it. He ends up going crazy and insane instead because he just puts things off for so long, which allows a lot of time to pass without any revenge.

Hamlet wants to kill Claudius and knows that’s what he “needs” to do, however he finds a good reason not to. When Hamlet has the chance to get his revenge, he notices that Claudius is praying. Hamlet decides that he doesn’t want to murder someone while they are in the middle of praying because he thinks that will allow Claudius’s souls go straight to heaven, and of course, he wants him going to hell; not living the good afterlife. Revenge to Hamlet is not just killing someone, it’s making sure they suffer, therefore he chooses to wait until he can catch him doing something more sinful.

The Ghost says, “Revenge his foul and most unnatural murder.” Hamlet replies, “Murder!” Then the Ghost says, “Murder most foul, as in the best it is; But this most foul, strange and unnatural.” Hamlet says, “Haste me to know ‘t, that I, with wings as swift as meditation or the thoughts of love, may sweep to my revenge.” (Act 1 Sc 5) In this quote, Hamlet is willing to “sweep” to revenge, as in get it done right away. The Ghost, as we know is the Old Hamlet, describes it as a “foul” and “unnatural” murder, which makes Hamlet want to seek revenge even more. This may be hard for Hamlet to do, considering he takes so long to do anything.

The Ghost also says, “O, horrible! O, horrible! Most horrible! If thou hast nature in thee, bear it not; Let not the royal bed of Denmark be a couch for luxury and damned incest. But, howsoever thou pursuest this act, taint not thy mind, nor thy soul contrive. Against thy mother aught: leave her to heaven and to those thorns that in her bosom lodge, to prick and sting her. (Act 1 Sc 5) You can tell that the Ghost is concerned with the incest that is going on between Gertrude and Claudius, but more importantly, he tells Hamlet to keep her out of the revenge plot. When he says, “leave her to heaven”, he wants Hamlet to just let her be. Hamlet will have an extremely difficult time doing this because throughout the entire play, all he can think about is Gertrude’s relationship with his uncle. Instead of doing this, he should be taking action against Claudius, therefore getting his revenge.

Revenge is key in the play of Hamlet. Someone wants to kill somebody else because of how close they are, or someone may want to take revenge against Hamlet because of what he has done. For example, Hamlet accidentally kills Polonius, who he thought was Claudius. This makes Polonius’s son, Laertes, return to Denmark and seek revenge on Hamlet. Revenge is everywhere, and almost every character seeks it, which leads up to the ample amount of deaths that occur in the end of the play. Hamlet is the absolute perfect example of a tragic revenge hero.

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Hamlet Journal 5

Hamlet- Page 251 Act 5 Sc 1
“Alexander died, Alexander was buried,
Alexander returneth into dust; the dust is earth; of earth
we make loam; and why of that loam, whereto he
was converted might they not stop a beer-barrel?
Imperious Caesar, dead and turned to clay,
Might stop a hole to keep the wind away. Let
O, that that earth, which kept the world in awe
Should patch a wall t’ expel the winter’s flaw!”

This is a weird quote, it’s basically saying that Hamlet is interested in death. I think he’s finally coming to the realization point that every human dies. Even this great Alexander person died, and says he “was burried”, and “returneth into dust”. When Hamlet speaks in this tone, he sounds different than he usually does. It’s as if his whole attitude has changed when it comes to the subject of death.

Hamlet- Page 263 Act 5 Sc 2
“Does it not, think thee, stand me now upon-
He that hath killed my king and whored my mother, 
Popped in between th’ election and my hopes, 
Thrown out his angle for my proper life, 
And with such cozenage-is’t not perfect
. To quit him with this arm? And is’t not to be
. To let this canker of our nature come
In further evil?”

This shows how effected Hamlet is by Claudius overall. After he murdered the Old Hamlet, and married Gertrude, he ruined all of Hamlet’s hopes. When Hamlet was away, Claudius took advantage of him, and convinced the noble to elect him king instead. This ruined Hamlet’s chance with the throne of Denmark and motivated him to want to kill Claudius even more. This entire quote shows how much hate Hamlet has for Claudius and that he will never be able to replace his father.

Hamlet- Page 271 Act 5 Sc 2
“There is a special
providence in the fall of a sparrow. If it be
now, ’tis not to come; if it be not to come, it will be
now; if it be not now, yet it will come. The
readiness is all. Since no man of aught he leaves
knows, what is ‘t to leave betimes? Let be.”

There have been a lot of turning points for Hamlet in Act Five. Throughout the play, he has been horrified about death. He never wants to have to face it, however now, he’s pretty much accepting that he is going to die. He directly quotes, “The readiness is all.” Before, he finally accepted that all people are eventually going to pass away, now even he, himself is accepting it too.

Hamlet- Page 283 Act 5 Sc 2
“O, I die, Horatio!
The potent poison quite o’ercrows my spirit.
I cannot live to hear the news from England.
But I do prophesy th’ election lights
On Fortinbras; he has my dying voice.
So tell him, with th’ occurrents, more and less,
Which have solicited-the rest is silence.”

The death of the hero is commonly found in Shakespeare, just like in this book; almost every character dies by the time the story’s over. Hamlet says that Fortinbras will win the next election. This makes you believe that Denmark is left in good hands. Hamlet says this as he is dying, which allows the scene to be much more dramatic.

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Hamlet Journal 4

King Claudius and Queen Gertrude- Page 189 Act 4 Sc 1
“What, Gertrude? How does Hamlet?”
“Mad as the sea and wind when both contend
Which is the mightier. In his lawless fit,
Behind the arras hearing something stir,
Whips out his rapier, cries “A rat, a rat,”
And in this brainish apprehension kills
The unseen good old man.”

This quote is almost confusing because previously, Hamlet tells Gertrude that he’s not crazy. However, he asks his mother to lie to Claudius and tell him that he is. According to this, Hamlet is as “mad as the sea and the wind.” Is Gertrude protecting her son by lying to Claudius, or does she really believe that Hamlet has gone mad? Is Gertrude being more loyal to her husband, who has replaced the Old Hamlet, or her own son?

King Claudius- Page 211 Act 4 Sc 5
“In hugger-mugger to intern him; poor Ophelia
Divided from herself and her fair judgment,
Without the which we are pictures or mere beasts…”

When this says Ophelia has divided herself from her fair judgment, it’s saying that she has gone mad. It makes complete sense as to why she has gotten like this. Not only is she bossed around all of the time, but she also has no control of her love life. Her father and her brother are always telling her what to do, barely allowing her any social time. Her dad makes her spy on Hamlet, and it seems like she can’t handle the pressure. On top of all of this, her ex-boyfriend kills her father; I honesty can’t believe she’s still living with herself.

Laertes- Page 215 Act 4 Sc 5
“How came he dead? I’ll not be juggled with.
To hell, allegiance! Vows, to the blackest devil!
Conscience and grace, to the profoundest pit!
I dare damnation. To this point I stand,
That both the worlds I give to negligence,
Let come what comes, only I’ll be revenged
Most thoroughly for my father.”

When Laertes finds out Polonius is dead, he returns to France right away, promising revenge. However, Claudius eventually convinces Laertes to think of a different way of vengeance that’s not so obvious. They want to suck Hamlet into a less harmful “duel”, that will then make Hamlet put off whatever is going to happen between them even longer. Hamlet takes an extremely long time to do things.

King Claudius and Laertes- Page 231 Act 4 Sc 7
“What would you undertake
To show yourself indeed your father’s son
More than in words?”
“To cut his throat i’ th’ church.”
“No place indeed should murder sanctuarize;
Revenge should have no bounds.”

Laertes wants to “cut Hamlet’s throat in church”, but that is not the kind of place where a murder should occur. This also goes back to Hamlet’s decision, not kill Claudius because he was praying. In this play, for a hero that wants revenge, you need to have the mindset of knowing what’s right from wrong, and whether or not someone should be sent to heaven or to hell.

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Hamlet Journal 3

King Claudius- Page 165 Act 3 Sn 3
““Forgive me my foul murder?”
That cannot be, since I am still possessed
Of those effects for which I did the murder:
My crown, mine own ambition, and my queen.
May one be pardoned and retain th’ offense?”

Claudius is finally realizing what he has done. I can’t tell if he feels bad and really regrets it, or if he’s just trying to get forgiveness. He must know that asking to be forgiven is useless because the only thing he could do at this point to change things, is give up his crown, and his wife, Gertrude. We all know that’s not going to happen.

Hamlet- Page 167 Act 3 Sc 3
“Now might I do it pat, now he is a-praying,
And now I’ll do ‘t.
And so he goes to heaven,
And so am I revenged. That would be scanned:
A villain kills my father, and for that,
I, his sole son, do this same villain send
To heaven.”

Hamlet wants to kill Claudius and knows that’s what he “needs” to do, however he finds a good reason not to. When Hamlet has the chance to get his revenge, he notices that Claudius is praying. Hamlet decides that he doesn’t want to murder someone while they are in the middle of praying because he thinks that will allow Claudius’s souls go straight to heaven, and of course, he wants him going to hell, not living the good afterlife. Revenge to Hamlet is not just killing someone, it’s making sure they suffer, therefore he chooses to wait until he can catch him doing something bad again. Maybe Claudius is praying to confess his sins and ask for forgiveness. Does Hamlet know what he’s praying about?

Hamlet and Queen Gertrude- Page 177 Act 3 Sc 4
“How is it with you, lady?”
“Alas, how is ‘it with you,
That you do bend your eye on vacancy
And with th’ incorporal air do hold discourse?
Forth at your eyes your spirits wildly peep,
And, as the sleeping soldiers in th’ alarm,
Your bedded hair, like life in excrements,
Start up and stand an end. O gentle son,
Upon the heat and flame of thy distemper
Sprinkle cool patience! Whereon do you look?”

Hamlet is the only one who has spoken with the Ghost; the castle guards saw it at one point, however when it goes into Gertrude’s bedroom, he is the only one who can see and hear it. Something must have changed from the beginning of the book up until now for that to happen. Maybe the Ghost can “choose Hamlet”, so only him can see his lost father. Could is be that Hamlet is just imagining the Ghost? Has it gotten to that point where he has literally lost his mind?

Hamlet- Page 181 Act 3 Sc 4
“Refrain tonight,
And that shall lend a kind of easiness
To the next abstinence, the next more easy;
For use can almost change the stamp of nature
And either lodge the devil or throw him out
With wondrous potency.”

This quote allows you to let go of Hamlet’s madness for a few moments. He shows that somewhere inside him, he really does understand human nature; that maybe it is possible to get rid of the “devil” somehow. Maybe this is just him imagining and wishing things could be this way. However, it’s refreshing to hear his come from the character who has been going crazy.

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Hamlet Journal 2

Polonius- Page 95 Act 2 Sc 2
“Yet he knew me not at first; he said I
was a fishmonger. He is far gone, far gone. And
truly, in my youth, I suffered much extremity for
love, very near this.”

Polonius thinks Hamlet is “far gone” as in, far into his love for Ophelia. Hamlet makes fun of him by calling him a fishmonger. Polonius thinks that Hamlet doesn’t truly know him and is just saying that because he knows that Polonius is using his daughter to spy on him. I believe this because there are also several other remarks similar to this, that Hamlet has said towards Polonius and his daughter.

Hamlet- Page 107 Act 2 Sc 2
“I am but mad north-north-west. When the
wind is southerly, I know a hawk from a handsaw.”

Hamlet basically admits that he has been acting crazy. He’s not happy with two of the characters, Rosencrantz and Guildenstern because Hamlet knows they have been sent to spy on him. “I know a hawk from a handsaw” is a sort of expression that explains how Hamlet can tell the difference on whether or not he is being looked at.

Hamlet- Page 117 Act 2 Sc
“O, what a rogue and peasant slave am I!
Is it not monstrous that this player here,
But in a fiction, in a dream of passion,
Could force his soul so to his own conceit
That from her working all his visage wanned,
Tears in his eyes, distraction in’s aspect,
A broken voice, and his whole function suiting
With forms to his conceit-and all for nothing!
For Hecuba!
What’s Hecuba to him, or he to Hecuba,
That he should weep for her? What would he do,
Had he the motive and the cue for passion
That I have?…
O, vengeance!
Why, what an ass am I!”

This is a very dramatic quote; Hamlet is realizing that he is unable to avenge his father’s murder. He doesn’t understand why he can’t get himself to do what he wants and this is him getting extremely frustrated over it. Does Hamlet just think he needs to play the role or being a hero, but knows it’s really wrong? Or is this just him putting things off again?

Hamlet- Page 119 Act 2 Sc 2
“The spirit that I have seen
May be the devil, and the devil hath power
T’ assume a pleasing shape; yea, and perhaps
Out of my weakness and my melancholy,
As he is very potent with such spirits,
Abuses me to damn me.”

Throughout the play, you’re not quite sure if the Ghost is really there, or if it’s just Hamlet going insane. But in this quote, Hamlet may think that the “devil” is the Ghost, and that’s the reason why it’s trying to get him to murder Claudius so badly. I think the Ghost could be depriving Hamlet, being the main reason as to why Hamlet is going mad.

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Hamlet Journal 1

Prince Fortinbras- Page 15 Act 1 Sc 1
“Now, sir, young Fortinbras,
Of unimproved mettle hot and full,
Hath in the skirts of Norway here and there
Sharked up a list of lawless resolutes
For food and diet, to some enterprise
That hath a stomach in ‘t; which is no other
(As it do well appear unto our state)
But to recover of us, by strong hand
And terms compulsatory, those foresaid lands
So by his father lost.”

Prince Fortinbras tries to take the land in which his father lost to Hamlet. He is doing this to get revenge, which all leads back to Old Hamlet’s death. In this quote, Fortinbras is trying to act like a “hero”, that he is set on what he is doing and is sure it’s going to work. Also, the last line, “So by his father lost”, is a perfect place to close this quote because it’s very blatant and indirectly explains that the whole point of doing what’s about to happen, is because of his father’s death.

Queen Gertrude- Page 25 Act 1 Sc 2
“Good Hamlet, cast thy nighted color off,
And let thine eye look like a friend on Denmark.
Do not forever with thy vailed lids
Seek for thy noble father in the dust.
Thou know’st ‘tis common; all that lives must die,
Passing through nature to eternity.”

Hamlet’s mother, Queen Gertrude, tells him to stop complaining, and to try to stop thinking about his father. She says death is common, but Hamlet will still continue to struggle with the loss of his father throughout the rest of my play. Hamlet’s haunted by his father’s ghost, so obviously it’s going to be very difficult to get rid of those thoughts. “All lives must die”, is something he’ll need to learn to realize.

Hamlet- Page 29 Act 1 Sc 2
“O, that this too, too sullied flesh would melt,
Thaw, and resolve itself into a dew,
Or that the Everlasting had not fixed
His canon ‘gainst O God, God,
How stale, flat, and unprofitable
Seem to me all the uses of this world!”

When Hamlet uses the terms, “flesh” to “melt” and eventually turning into nothing but “dew”, he is using this diction in order to express his anger towards his father’s death. Not only is he angry about that, but also that his mother is remarrying his uncle. This quote makes me believe that Hamlet is going crazy; they way he says it allows me to think that he’s emotionally unstable.

Ghost- Page 61 Act 1 Sc 5
“O horrible, O horrible, most horrible!
If thou hast nature in thee, bear it not.
Let not the royal bed of Denmark be
A couch for luxury and damned incest.
But, howsomever thou pursues this act,
Taint not thy mind, nor let the soul contrive
Against thy mother aught. Leave her to heaven
And to those thorns that in her bosom lodge
To prick and string her.”

The Ghost is telling Hamlet to leave Gertrude out of this situation, which involves revenge. “Leave her to heaven”, is saying leave her alone, and keep her out of it. Hamlet agrees with keeping her out of the situation, however he can’t help himself. All he can think or speak of is his mother’s sexual relationship with his uncle, Claudius, when really, he should be focusing on what he can do to go against him. Hamlet has a sort of obsession with Gertrude, which will cause problems later in the book.

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