Political and Personal Goals
Now that we’ve read both “Hamlet” and “On Bullshit,”you can begin to examine how various characters in the play employ rhetoric to achieve their political and personal goals. A possible example might be when Hamlet feigns madness to discover his father’s murderer, using his unstable persona to trick those around him. But is this bullshit or a lie? That’s where you come into play. Using Harry Frankfurt’s “On Bullshit,” construct an argument that demonstrates the extent to which Hamlet employs bullshit in the play. You should define the term bullshit for readers. This is a controversial term that needs to be unpacked before it can be used in an academic setting. Demonstrate to your readers how this term is different than lying and why that difference is important to understanding rhetoric.➔You may want to provide insight into your chosen character’s motivation. This will help you to term the amount of bullshit they actually employ to achieve their goals. You should use specific evidence from both the text and secondary sources to help you determine their mindset. ➔Throughout your essay, I’d like you to consider the overall effect of the character’s bullshit. Do other characters believe their bullshit? If the character primary lies to people, does the lie work? While speech or actions can still be considered bullshit or a lie if no one believes the speaker, it is important to consider if they are effective at utilizing rhetoric in the play. It’s also important to consider the amount of bullshit they use. Notice how the prompt asks you to define the level of bullshit in their speech and actions. Use your “bullshit meter” to help you define the amount of bullshit used in your chosen character’s speech or actions.
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