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Consider Rosencrantz and Guildenstern’s role in the play.Why might Shakespeare have created characters like this?
He is a brute—idiotic, foul-tempered, and abhorrent.
Yet Shakespeare implicitly asks if Caliban is as different from his human neighbors as he seems.
When Shakespeare introduces us to Caliban, he emphasizes Caliban’s most repugnant qualities.
The son of a witch and the devil, Caliban did not have human companions until Prospero and Miranda washed up on his island.
Does comedy serve merely to relieve the tension of the tragedy, or do the comic scenes serve a more serious thematic purpose as well? Discuss how the play treats the idea of suicide morally, religiously, and aesthetically, with particular attention to Hamlet’s two important statements about suicide: the “O, that this too too solid flesh would melt” soliloquy (129–158) and the “To be, or not to be” soliloquy (III.i.56–88).
Why does Hamlet believe that, although capable of suicide, most human beings choose to live, despite the cruelty, pain, and injustice of the world?
In The Tempest, Shakespeare erases the line between monster and man.
Choosing an essay topic for the Common App is one of the hardest things ever.
The character Antonio is not only human but also a powerful duke—and yet he shares many of Caliban’s nastiest tendencies.
Like Caliban, he commits a form of rape (by violating and stealing Prospero’s sovereignty), and like Caliban, he conspires for yet more unearned power in the course of the play.