Instructions for Journal 5: The Play’s the Thing
At the conclusion of Act 2 in Hamlet, our melancholic prince is preparing to put his college
education to some practical use. Specifically, he intends to appeal to logic in order to verify
some of the things that a ghostly apparition (who claims to be the prince’s dead father) has said
Hamlet has apparently taken English 103 already, back when he was Horatio’s classmate at
Wittenberg University. Did Hamlet manage to pass this course? Did he learn his lessons well?
That’s for you to decide after you analyze and evaluate the young prince’s appeal to logos.
In a brief essay, I want you to fully introduce Prince Hamlet’s rhetorical situation at the end of
Act 2. Explain WHO is trying to persuade WHOM to believe WHAT. Explain WHY the orator
in this situation needs his audience to believe that certain thing. And explain WHY the audience
in this rhetorical situation might be reluctant to accept the orator’s position. Finally, you’ll want
to address the HOW-topic in this situation. HOW does this orator go about convincing his
audience to adopt the orator’s position? What kind of persuasive strategy does this orator choose.
(Duh, right? It’s a rhetorical appeal to logos). That’s a very broad thesis, and you’ll want to
follow up on it by stating a narrower version. Go ahead and spell out which particular kind of
appeal the orator makes in this scene.
In a body-paragraph or two, analyze the rhetorical strategy in detail. Here’s where you explain
how this specific type of appeal is supposed to work, ie, how this kind of premise is supposed to
make a conclusion seem thoroughly compelling. After that, you’ll want to outline and critique
the appeal to logos that appears at the end of Act 2. Outlining an appeal to logic is the clearest
way to analyze it because this entails breaking down the appeal into its parts (ie, premises and
conclusion) in order to examine how those parts work. That’s what analysis is. So go ahead and
outline this appeal to logic (the one at the end of Act 2) just like I outlined a few in the Lecture
Notes and in my analysis of appeals to logos in The Simpsons. List and number the Premises.
Below them, write out and label the Conclusion.
Once you’ve got this appeal to logos all dissected on the exam table, you can evaluate the parts.
Are these premises true? Are they arranged in a coherent fashion? Are they sufficient to support
the conclusion? The question you need to consider is whether or not – and to what extent – the
orator in this situation makes a compelling appeal to logos. How good is this logic?
300 words minimum