Sample Journal Entry

From the play Hamlet



Journal of Claudius

Entry 1 (After Act I, scene 2)

Well, that went fairly well tonight, I think.  The Fortinbras issue will be blunted by my marriage and coronation.  If I do say so myself, I really killed three birds with that stone (the stone being marrying Gertrude).  Not only am I now sleeping with the woman I’ve been leering at for years, I also helped make my taking the crown more legitimate AND I settled the nation down, sending a message to all foreign powers (especially Norway) that we’re in control here.  Damn, I’m good.  Quite good.


I know there are those who sense that this was a power grab.  Fine.  So be it.  I took the bull by the horns and did what I had to do.  Yes, it works out quite nicely for me, but I am also serving my “beloved” Denmark too.  “Denmark”…I need to get used to thinking of myself AS Denmark.  That makes me smile.  I have the support (or at least the acceptance) of the key nobles and clergy, so it’ll all settle down now that the marriage is over.  Normalcy…that’s what we need now: just get back to normal. 


But I wish young Hamlet would see it that way.  The damned little wuss, sulking about in his black clothes.  What a pantywaist.  I know he disapproves of my marriage to his mother.  Only natural, I guess.  But his impious stubbornness about mourning his father for weeks and weeks…SO depressing, that one.  Too many books and not enough hunting and riding for him.  He needs some more manly hobbies.  Maybe I’ll invite him to go hunting tomorrow and try to get him to warm up to me.  We’ve never been close, but maybe there’s some room to use the current situation to build a bridge with him.  And the fresh air and exercise will certainly do him some good.


I’ll arrange for it in the morning…



Notes for students:

  1. This is single-spaced; yours should be double-spaced so I can put notes in it.
  2. This is just one entry; it could be longer or shorter.  The total of all your entries should be around 2000 words.  (This entry is about 300 words)
  3. What’s good about this is that it:
    1. Doesn’t contradict the text
    2. Adds some interesting insight into what’s going inside the diarist’s head
    3. Demonstrates a strong understanding of the play
    4. Avoids recounting lots of the plot