Writing a paper on the conscience in Shakespeare, which route to take..

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warm_jeans
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So I’m conducting a research paper on how the conscience is used in Hamlet and Richard III do better convey both characters; why it’s important to the context of the play. I’m not sure how I want to do this tough. I can (1) write about how both Hamlet and Richard suffer from an intolerance of uncertainty (arguably anxiety) or (2) what influences religion had on the role of the conscience during the early Reformation, and how that affected Shakespeare’s two aforementioned plays or (3) the role that conscience plays across all characters, and how is used to progress the plot.

I need help deciding, while also making a more clear cut thesis for myself
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warm_jeans
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More specifically, which would you be most interested in reading?
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Plumstone
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Hi OP,

To be honest, it's much less about what we want to read than about what you want to write. In my experience, my best essays were always the ones which I felt enthusiastic about, so write down your options and try to gauge which one your gut is pulling you towards.

Also, bear in mind that you can easily pull key points of each topic into the others e.g. the characters' moral uncertainty/anxiety (topic 1) is increased by/reflects the changing religious attitudes in the Reformation (topic 2).

In terms of narrowing your focus, I would strongly recommend that you thrash around the ideas until you distil everything down to one clear, concise concept e.g. By viewing Richard III through the lens of moral uncertainty, we can recast him as a figure who is just as worthy of sympathy as Hamlet; as both characters are equally troubled by their conscience and struggle with finding the right path in the new religious landscape.

And then you write your essay in support of that one central idea. But the thrashing around and coming to your conclusion has to happen first otherwise there is a risk that the essay becomes rambling and unfocused and the thesis is only made clear at the end.

If you have a decent English teacher available (not easy to find in some colleges, I know...) then I would suggest that you ask to have half an hour of their time and do the discussing/thrashing around with them, as I always found that a really helpful process...

Good luck with your assignment!!
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warm_jeans
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Thank you so much, Plumstone. This is better advice than I could have asked for! I do have a tendency to get VERY rambly with my essays, and that can either be because I am wildly fascinated by the topic I am writing about, or I simply haven't established a clear point for myself to work off of! I will do as you said, and "thrash around" until I am happy with my idea. You're also right in the I can crossover both points in one greater topic. Thank you so much again! I hope you are well.
(Original post by Plumstone)
Hi OP,

To be honest, it's much less about what we want to read than about what you want to write. In my experience, my best essays were always the ones which I felt enthusiastic about, so write down your options and try to gauge which one your gut is pulling you towards.

Also, bear in mind that you can easily pull key points of each topic into the others e.g. the characters' moral uncertainty/anxiety (topic 1) is increased by/reflects the changing religious attitudes in the Reformation (topic 2).

In terms of narrowing your focus, I would strongly recommend that you thrash around the ideas until you distil everything down to one clear, concise concept e.g. By viewing Richard III through the lens of moral uncertainty, we can recast him as a figure who is just as worthy of sympathy as Hamlet; as both characters are equally troubled by their conscience and struggle with finding the right path in the new religious landscape.

And then you write your essay in support of that one central idea. But the thrashing around and coming to your conclusion has to happen first otherwise there is a risk that the essay becomes rambling and unfocused and the thesis is only made clear at the end.

If you have a decent English teacher available (not easy to find in some colleges, I know...) then I would suggest that you ask to have half an hour of their time and do the discussing/thrashing around with them, as I always found that a really helpful process...

Good luck with your assignment!!
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Plumstone
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Happy to help! I've been there with the whole rambling-not-really-knowing-what-your-thesis-is thing and I know it can get really frustrating.

I finally saw the light when I was in my second year at uni and one of my tutors sat me down and basically prodded me until I actually got to the crux of my argument. After that it all became much easier!

If you want to bounce any ideas off me, then feel free - I always enjoy helping my fellow lit students
(Original post by warm_jeans)
Thank you so much, Plumstone. This is better advice than I could have asked for! I do have a tendency to get VERY rambly with my essays, and that can either be because I am wildly fascinated by the topic I am writing about, or I simply haven't established a clear point for myself to work off of! I will do as you said, and "thrash around" until I am happy with my idea. You're also right in the I can crossover both points in one greater topic. Thank you so much again! I hope you are well.
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warm_jeans
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Thank you! I will take you up on that in the coming days once I settle down and grind
(Original post by Plumstone)
Happy to help! I've been there with the whole rambling-not-really-knowing-what-your-thesis-is thing and I know it can get really frustrating.

I finally saw the light when I was in my second year at uni and one of my tutors sat me down and basically prodded me until I actually got to the crux of my argument. After that it all became much easier!

If you want to bounce any ideas off me, then feel free - I always enjoy helping my fellow lit students
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