Thursday, November 21, 2013


As I was reading "The Performative Utterance in Hamlet," I noticed that since it's a 20-page essay, there are more levels than just intro paragraph > topic sentences > rest of paragraph, which is what we're used to with our standard 5-paragraph essays. Instead, there are actually like, sub-intro paragraphs (I'm sure there's probably a word for that which sounds SO much smarter) which introduce the next 3-4 paragraphs on the same topic. So, I took notes by outlining all the paragraphs in a hierarchy.

  • Intro (thesis: "For much of the play Hamlet is able to speak but not do.")
  • Austin's theory of performativity
    1. self-overhearing in Hamlet
      1. qualification of self-overhearing
      2. scene w/ the ghost
      3. problem w/ scene w/ ghost
    2. drama/playacting
      1. "hollow performativity" & its implications
      2. emotional contexts of utterances
      3. "perceived legitimacy of the emotional context of utterances"
      4. what Hamlet considers good acting, based on his speech
    3. pretending
      1. Hamlet's madness & Polonius
      2. Polonius's gullibility
      3. Hamlet's madness—allows him to free himself of his restricted place in society
      4. …and also recognizes that his own identity is also fake in a way
    4. if Polonius pre-modern, & Hamlet modern, Claudius in between (esp. w/ his failed prayer)
      1. rules for successful utterances & why Claudius failed
      2. Claudius's failed prayer vs. Hamlet's conversation w/ Horatio
  • Hamlet & Laertes both get their revenge, but because of Laertes, not Hamlet; Hamlet's performative utterance is not toward revenge, but "realization of the self"


  1. Oooh, interesting background Lisa! I remember last time you killed the vocabulary midterm, what is your strategy?

  2. You have an awesome blog!
    How do you plan on studying for the final?

  3. I really like the layout of your blog! Do you have any suggestions on ways to study for the vocab final?

  4. Your blog always interests me! :) I really can't think of any questions except the one Miki asked.