Natasha King: Argument Reflection

When I’m planning my paper I like to treat it similar to how I put together a puzzle. Just like how I establish the frame of the puzzle first, I create an outline for my paper to work within. Once I’ve built my frame I then organize the remaining pieces together based on thematic commonalities (in the puzzles case, by color) and then start putting them together. Once I’ve got the large sections built I then start to fill in all the empty spaces until finally everything has come together.

I find that by putting together the major points in the paper first and then worrying about transitions later on I am able to write clearly and consistently without having to stop and brainstorm things such as how to keep the flow as natural as possible.

Once I have the actual outline figured out I try to break down my sources as much as possible by close reading the supplies I’ve been given to gather my evidence.

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Initially when I’m laying out my plan I work on the points I want my paper to focus on and work on them individually before putting everything together later. To make sure I don’t accidentally leave anything out I like to make checklists to ensure that I cover everything necessary for a successful paper. First I create my thesis statement, written on a sticky note that I will keep posted to my computer screen so that I’m able to constantly refer back to it in my writing process. After I establish my argument and brief explanation as to how I came up with it, I look through my sources and research to find as many pieces of evidence I can find to back up my argument.

Once I’ve found substantial evidence I like to categorize everything based on commonality. With each “category” created I then focus on making my arguments while inputting the evidence I’ve found. After each point is made I go re-read my thesis statement and then go back to the point to ensure I haven’t veered off topic or started rambling.

After finalizing my body paragraphs (however many there are- I try to avoid the high school standard of three) I then look at my conclusion. I often find that having a checklist helps with my conclusion, so that I’m able to ensure that I’ve successfully reiterated the points made in the paper, reminded the reader of what they have read and hopefully clarify why they should care.

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It’s not until after I’ve written the first draft of my thesis statement, argument and conclusion that I then start writing my introduction. I do this because I find it very hard to write an introduction to something when I’m not entirely sure what that something is just yet. Although I have a general idea of what my paper is going to cover and what I’m going to use for my arguments I often find that once the paper has actually been written it can be quite different than it was in the planning stages. Hence, I avoid establishing the “formula” for my paper until it’s actually complete.

Once I have completed my paper with a thesis statement, beginning, middle, end and transitions I then begin editing for grammar and spelling. I prefer to have a peer read my work, since they are more likely to notice mistakes with a fresh mind and no preconceived ideas of the paper, however, reading in reverse is a close second. A trick I learned in high school in terms of catching spelling errors that Word may have missed is to read my entire paper backwards. I’ve realized that after writing a paper (especially multiple drafts) your brain almost has everything memorized, making you more likely to miss something like the repeated word or lack of capitalization.

Finally, once I’ve finished editing everything in its entirety I will print out my paper and go through it with a highlighter and go over every piece of evidence I provided to ensure that it coincides with my thesis statement. Once I’m satisfied with the spacing, frequency and efficiency of my paper I print the final copy or submit it for grading.

Natasha King: Scene Comparison | Zeffirelli vs Shakespeare | Hamlet

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One of the most obvious differences between Zeffirelli’s Hamlet and the original play is that the opening scene at the guard tower is entirely omitted in the film. I can understand why he did this, since it wasn’t entirely necessary to have multiple scenes with the ghost being encountered. Instead the film skipped the first ghost sighting , to Hamlet being told of the events and then going to the watchtowers himself. By doing this Zeffirell was able to cut down the length of the film while still including the scene that is the catalyst in which Hamlet decides to prove the murder of his father and seek out revenge on his Uncle.

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Instead it begins with an original scene of Claudius, Gertrude and Hamlet are mourning the old King’s death at a funeral. In this scene Claudius’ speech only briefly tells Hamlet to consider him his father. In the same scene in which Gertrude is bent over her late husband’s body, she looks up to Claudius, which seems quite striking. I believe Zeffirelli’s intention was to emphasize how she is already moving onto her new husband-to-be. It is not until a different scene in which Claudius addresses his court to announce the bittersweet news that he has married his former sister-in-law.

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The next scene contains Hamlets famous line “a little more than kin and less than kind,” however in the film Hamlet says this directly to Claudius as opposed to saying it quietly to himself. This is something that continues to occur in the film, in which Hamlet is much more bold when it comes to sharing is quips and sarcastic remarks.

One of the aspects of the play that Zeffirelli maintained was Hamlet’s monologue in which he shares his absolute shock that his father has only recently died and his mother is already remarried. The line “frailty, thy name is women” is carried over into this scene. Something I noticed about Zeffirelli’s version is that he maintains the well-known lines.

Opposite to this, something that I was not a fan of was the fact that Fortinbras was hardly mentioned at all. One of the things Shakespeare liked to do was talk about current events in his play, or at least create politic events in order to have a subplot. However by omitting this in the film it almost made the film seem boring to me, not to mention it makes the ending of the film seem rather anticlimactic. One of the most important parts of the entire play was the ending, in which everyone has died and now the kingdom faces an impending attack.

To go back to the humour I mentioned, I really enjoyed the film scene in which Polonius and Hamlet are talking in the library. While in the play, Hamlets response to Polonius’ question about what he is reading is simply “words, words, words,” the film adds more depth. This line can be interpreted in different ways depending on who is reading it, but I truly appreciated the way that Gibson presents it. Each time, he says “words” with a different tone. The first time he seems to ask himself what he’s looking at, and then he confirms that it is, in fact, words and the third time, he loudly informs Polonius of this. By doing this it is apparent of Hamlet’s distaste of Polonius and his lack of caution by answering in this way. He makes it obvious that he’s talking down to Polonius. Another part about this scene that I liked was Zeffirelli’s choice to have Hamlet sitting up above Polonius, to reaffirm the differences between the two men.

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While Gibson played an excellent Hamlet, I was not entirely impressed with the scene in which he kills Polonius. Although the acting itself is good, he doesn’t really seem to be bothered by it at all, by doing this Hamlet appears to no longer be sane, which in the play is something the audience is constantly trying to figure out: is he actually crazy, or is he just pretending so everyone will drop their guard around him?

Zeffirelli did an excellent job of adapting the play into a film by modernizing the language, and cutting the long soliloquys and speeches to shorten the film. He added in bits of humour to ensure entertainment and to keep a more positive attitude throughout. Overall he made sure that even people who aren’t huge fans of Shakespeare could enjoy it and experience it in some way.

With that being said, for Shakespeare fans, he may have left them disappointed with the number of changes made to the story line. What some people may have considered unimportant or monotonous, Shakespeare fans would have looked forward to only to finish the film lacking the experience they would have hoped for.