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HUMFP1000 Capella Hamlet Soliloquy William Shakespeare Literature Analysis

HUMFP1000 Capella Hamlet Soliloquy William Shakespeare Literature Analysis

Question Description


Read Shakespeare’s Hamlet. Then, in 6 pages, write an analysis of one of Hamlet’s soliquoys and craft two soliquoys of your own.

This assessment allows you to demonstrate your understanding of a foundational piece of literature and of the use of extended monologues within it.

By successfully completing this assessment, you will demonstrate your proficiency in the following course competencies and assessment criteria:

  • Competency 1: Describe the historical development of the humanities from the pre-historic era to the present.
    • Assess the role of narrative structure and dramatic form in modern drama.
  • Competency 2: Examine the forms of expression that instantiate the arts and humanities.
    • Explain how Shakespeare’s Hamlet externalizes the inner thoughts of Hamlet.
    • Develop a soliloquy that dramatizes a selected character’s point of view.
  • Competency 3: Integrate the humanities with everyday life.
    • Express a unique personal narrative in soliloquy form.
  • Competency 4: Communicate effectively in forms appropriate to the humanities.
    • Write coherently to support a central idea in appropriate format with correct grammar, usage, and mechanics.


    Effective literary analyses depend on an understanding of the history of literature. The Assessment 3 Context document provides a brief overview of literary history and of one of the most notable English-language authors, William Shakespeare. You may wish to review this document for key concepts and ideas on this topic.


    In the fifteenth century, European thinkers, educators, and artists began to rebel against the rigid control of medieval authorities, promoting the Renaissance (meaning “rebirth”). Protestant reformers like Luther and Calvin challenged ecclesiastical authority by holding individual believers responsible for their own relation to God. Humanists, including Giovanni Pico della Mirandola and Marsillio Ficino, emphasized the power of human reason as the source of reliable knowledge of our place in the world. Florentine diplomat Niccolò Machiavelli advised Medici princes on how to exercise political control over their subjects.The fine arts flourished during this period as well:

    • Giotto’s introduction of chiaroscuro shading rendered painting more realistic.
    • Raphael, Michelangelo, and Titian polished the art of composition and framing. Van Eyck, Bosch, Dürer, Holbein, and Brueghel brought these advances north.
    • Donatello and Verrocchio pioneered idealized portraiture in the creation of sculpture.
    • Brunelleschi, Alberti, and Palladio emphasized harmony and proportion in architecture.
    • Josquin des Prez and Michael Praetorius helped sacred and secular music to thrive.

    In all of these arts—and in science and technology as well—Leonardo da Vinci (the original “Renaissance Man”) brought inventive intelligence and creative genius to everything he chose to do.The discursive arts of poetry, drama, and other literature also thrived during these centuries:

    • Giovanni Boccaccio and Geoffrey Chaucer wrote episodic collections of popular fables.
    • Baldassare Castiglione described in detail the character of the well-rounded person.
    • Desiderius Erasmus and Thomas More explored the practical consequences of humanism.
    • Miguel de Cervantes and Michel de Montaigne wrote in Spanish and French vernaculars.

    Renaissance scholarship also resulted in translations of the Bible into everyday languages, including French, German, and English.


    In Renaissance literature, however, one figure stands out above all others: William Shakespeare. With a vocabulary as large as any among his contemporaries and a capacity for combining familiar elements in the formation of new words, Shakespeare contributed significantly to the rapid growth of the English language during the Elizabethan era.In poetry, Shakespeare relied heavily on the traditional iambic pentameter but modified both the form and the content of his sonnets. Abandoning the Italian eight-and-six line structure, he created the “English sonnet,” with three four-line quatrains with varying rhyme schemes followed by a single rhyming couplet at the close. Although he, too, wrote of love, Shakespeare often adopted a stance of ironic detachment, reducing the “courtly love” of Petrarch to a level that more ordinary people could appreciate.Similarly, Shakespeare’s plays—including histories, romances, comedies, and tragedies—followed patterns akin to those of other playwrights like Marlowe and Kyd. But his treatment of familiar themes transcended the usual, bringing a unique level of creativity to each type of drama. Hamlet, for example, relies on a simple revenge plot in which a son is duty bound to avenge his father’s death. But the introduction of a “play within the play,” political intrigue involving a foreign invasion, a fatuous royal advisor, Hamlet’s relationship with his mother, and the death of his sweetheart Ophelia all complicate the basic situation. Individual characters, acting on incomplete information, blunder through the play clumsily. But Hamlet is different.For this one central character, Shakespeare devised a way to reveal private thoughts and feelings to the audience (but not other characters) by writing for Hamlet a series of lengthy soliloquies, in which he gives voice to his interior life. Hamlet alone thinks out loud, letting us in on the personal narrative through which he tries to make sense of his own life. Although this technique has become a familiar part of cinematic portrayals now, it was entirely new in Shakespeare’s day. It makes the role a weighty one—Hamlet has more than half the lines in the play—but it renders him a real person with whom we can easily identify. Shakespeare shows us not only how this one Danish prince can be interpreted but also how we might reflect upon the daily experience of our own lives.

Questions to Consider

To deepen your understanding, you are encouraged to consider the questions below and discuss them with a fellow learner, a work associate, an interested friend, or a member of the business community.

  • Our lives unfold in complicated ways—some we control and some we do not. But we all do our best to understand what we do and what happens to us in ways that give meaning to who we are. So, we tell stories; we construct narratives that give expression to what matters most to us. Sometimes we share these stories with other people, but many of them are private expressions that we use to make sense of ourselves to ourselves.
    • Consider one of your own stories or one you know about someone else. How does that story construct, at least partially, the meaning of a human life?
    • Reflect on whether even slight changes in the content of this story might alter the meaning entirely. How does the narrative framing help to shape the future of the individual who expresses it?

    Required Resources

    The following resource is required to complete the assessment.

    Library Resources

    The following e-books or articles from the Capella University Library are linked directly in this course:


    Suggested Resources

    The following optional resources are provided to support you in completing the assessment or to provide a helpful context. For additional resources, refer to the Research Resources and Supplemental Resources in the left navigation menu of your courseroom.

    Capella Resources

    Click the links provided to view the following resources:

    The following resource encourages you to think clearly about the presentation of internal thoughts through soliloquy in Shakespeare’s Hamlet. A series of thought-provoking text-entry writing prompts give you a chance to rehearse your thoughts in preparation for each of the elements in the assessment.

    Course Library Guide

    A Capella University library guide has been created specifically for your use in this course. You are encouraged to refer to the resources in the HUM-FP1000 – Introduction to Humanities Library Guide to help direct your research.

    Bookstore Resources

    The resources listed below are relevant to the topics and assessments in this course and are not required. Unless noted otherwise, these materials are available for purchase from the Capella University Bookstore. When searching the bookstore, be sure to look for the Course ID with the specific –FP (FlexPath) course designation.

    • Fiero, G. K. (2016). Landmarks in humanities (4th ed.). Boston, MA: McGraw-Hill Higher Education.
      • Chapters 7–8.

  • Assessment Instructions

In Hamlet, Shakespeare makes significant use of extended monologues, or soliloquies, to express the thoughts and feelings of Hamlet in dramatic form. For this assessment, write an essay in which you explore the use of this technique in three distinct ways:

  1. Select one of Hamlet’s soliloquies from the play and analyze how it displays his inner thoughts for the audience in dramatic form.
  2. Use evidence from the play to compose a soliloquy that expresses the point of view of one of the following characters: Gertrude, Claudius, Ophelia, or Polonius. Into which act of the play would you insert this additional speech?
  3. Write a soliloquy for yourself, expressing the central narrative of your own life in dramatic form. Think of yourself as a character explaining yourself to an audience that does not include those who play the most important roles in your life.

This assessment requires you to employ your critical skills in analyzing a work of literature but also gives you the opportunity to apply what you have learned in creative expression of your own.

Additional Requirements

  • Written communication: Written communication should be free of errors that detract from the overall message.
  • APA formatting: Should be formatted according to APA (6th edition) style and formatting.
  • Length: 6 typed and double-spaced pages.
  • Font and font size: Times New Roman, 12 point.

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