The Final Essay is a 4-5 pages, double-spaced expansion of one of your close readings or discussion board posts. Instructions for the Final Essay can be found on the Weeks 8 and 9 Assignments list (under the “Weeks 8 and 9” Module) and in the Close Reading Assignment, in the “Course Materials” Module.
Please follow MLA document conventions. You need not use any outside sources beyond the primary text. However, if you do, you will need to include a Works Cited page for ALL the sources you quote or cite. Remember: if you use a text for words or ideas, you must credit that source, and if you have a source listed in a Works Cited list, you must have an indication (by reference or citation or both) in your essay of exactly how the source was used.
So here’s what I actually recommend: read Sparknotes, available online, for Hamlet (here: http://www.sparknotes.com/shakespeare/hamlet/ (Links to an external site.) ), WHILE AT THE SAME TIME REVIEWING, in our book, the text of the play itself, especially the introductory material, and reading most – if not all – of the important passages cited in the Sparknotes for each set of scenes (in other words, spot reading).
Finally, if at all possible, watch a film version of Hamlet, which you can find on Amazon Prime to rent, if it’s not available at a nearby library. I recommend the Mel Gibson version as a very basic, fun, slightly truncated, and easy-to-follow interpretation of the play. In other words, the very best way to read a Shakespeare play is to see a performance – after some preparation.
Hamlet WILL be included on the Final Exam. You should be able to easily answer the questions and identifications for Hamlet on the final exam by following the method outlined above. I would be very happy, given the very short duration of this term, if you did the prep work outlined above for Hamlet and then – even after the term had ended – made a point of watching a good film version (or better, seeing a performance!) of this very important (arguably the most important) Shakespeare play.