Gender Critique/Deconstruction

The last and final essay of the semester was a choice between Gender Critique or Deconstruction. Gender Critique examines the way literature plays a role in constructing gender, and Deconstruction plays with language itself, exploring its complexities and eccentricities. It was hard for me to choose what theory to focus on, because Deconstruction is very intriguing to me. I have always loved puns, and Rosencrantz and Guildenstern Are Dead is one of my favorite plays, which are both a part of Deconstruction. However, I wasn’t entirely sure how I would place this within Hamlet, but I knew for sure gender permeates the entire play. Because of this, I decided to use Gender Critique to examine Hamlet. Using Judith Butler’s Gender Trouble, this essay explored the concept of gender in Hamlet.

One thing that really stuck with me from Spanish literature, one of my other classes this semester, was when my professor told us that the honor of a man often resides in the virginity of a woman. I connected this to Hamlet because honor drives many of the male characters throughout the play.

The concept of honor was a prominent theme in my outline. Using this outline, I wrote my first draft. After the peer review, I further explained the connection between the evidence and the thesis. I also added a passage from Don Juan Tenorio by José Zorrilla to place the concept of honor as a detrimental aspect in the time period that Hamlet was first performed, and from this my second draft submitted for grading was born.

However, Don Juan Tenorio was written in 1844, and Hamlet was first performed in 1609. Although Don Juan Tenorio was based on The Trickster of Seville and the Stone Guest, written by Tirso de Molina in 1616, it still does not provide enough of a background for Hamlet. Instead, the feedback from my professor pointed me towards “A Rapture,” by Thomas Carew, that attacks honor for what it makes men and women do.

With the feedback from my professor, I revised my essay into a third draft. In this draft, I reworked the introduction, provided “A Rapture” as historical background, cut away some of the language that did not make sense with my essay, and emended my summary of Judith Butler’s Gender Trouble.

I really liked this essay because it allowed me the ability to connect my Literary Theory class with my Spanish literature class. I have always loved having a thread that relates each class, so even though I did not end up using Don Juan Tenorio, I was still able to apply what I learned in one class to another class. Because of this, I included the final essay in my Presentation Portfolio.