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Callanan Hamlet Essay – Process Notes
I originally started writing about Ophelia and her madness, which is quite possibly the reason why I focus on her so much in this paper, but then I got stuck at the conclusion and ended up scrapped it after rereading Hamlet. This is probably not the best thing to do when one’s paper’s five days late, but I was really sick of that paper, and anyhow, I decided to write a new paper. My new paper kind of sampled from a variety of topics in the topic list, but its thesis was that Hamlet view the world in a dichotomy of corporeal vs. ethereal, with the latter essentially being good, and the former bad. I decided to reread the commentary provided by Coleridge and the response from Bradley, as I felt that they were pertinent to my topic, and, while I don’t formally discuss them in my paper, I kept them in mind while writing. I came up with the title in class one day. We were talking about how Hamlet was more of a thinker than a doer or something of the such and about Coleridge and Bradley, and for some reason it called to mind Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance, and the whole deal about whether the laws of gravity would still exist if Newton had never found them, and how everything then, was simply a ghost. So I wrote down “Hamlet in Search of Ghosts” on the green piece of paper that served as my bookmark at the time and
thought to myself, ‘By golly, that would make a good sem paper title.” And when I abandoned my first paper, it did. At first I kind of just started into the paper, but I felt that an introduction such as that was unsatisfactory, so I set to thinking about how I could effectively introduce a reader to my paper. I came up with the idea of referring to The Last Days of Socrates. Props to last semester. My previous sem teacher (Filkins) was quite a big fan of talking about how the texts related to each other, so, may as well bring this into second semester. Honestly, I couldn’t really think of anything much better, and it made the conclusion somewhat easier to write. I’m really not all that great with introductions. Or conclusions. Or essay writing in general. Or any sort of organized thought for that matter. It’s kind of more like blowing bubbles, or watching tropical fish in a tank. I wrote quite a bit on how Hamlet views women because 1) I think that it’s actually quite pertinent, along with his views on sexuality, 2) the whole Ophelia paper that died, and maybe 3) because my advisor’s Joan DelPlato. I probably would have made that the whole focus of my paper, had there not been that fivepage minimum requirement thing. Even after adjusting the character spacing to the point where it was only barely noticeable, it was still only ~4.3 pages long. Even when I was working on a library PC rather than the dreaded hall Mac (my own PC and I aren’t speaking, because it did not get along with a wireless mouse and keyboard that I tried to install), it still wasn’t five pages long. So, I ended up talking about the other stuff, with Claudius praying and whatnot, too,
which I was originally planning on writing about anyways. I did leave out some stuff on Hecuba (“What’d Hecuba to him, or he to Hecuba,” etc. (2.2.570to end of scene) and his fascination with the Norwegians (monologue at end of 4.4), mostly because I didn’t really want to go through the trouble of thinking about how that affected my play. Had I had more time, it’s entirely probable that I would have included it, but this paper’s almost a week late as it is. So, after much consultation with the book, and Webster.com (except at the very end, when it went down, and I ended up using OED.com and thesaurus.com), I wrote my conclusion, and related it back to my introduction with punk Socrates, put Hamlet’s last words in for prettiness, reread everything, and then hugged myself. So all was good and merry.