Developing Secondary Support
Logic and Argument: Primary
and Secondary Supports
Two examples of Claim
+ Primary Supports (reason)
Q: What is a significant
theme in Hamlet?
A: (thesis) The most significant theme in Hamlet is the theme of "seems"
PS#1: First, the theme about honesty emerges over the question of whether
Hamlet is truly mourning or faking it.
PS#2: In addition, we can clearly see the theme of "seem vs. is"
in the early scene where Laertes is leaving for France.
PS#3: Further evidence showing the theme of "seems" vs. "is"
can be seen in the character of Claudius and his guilt or innocence.
Q: Was Haimon acting
morally by opposing his father's policies?
A: (thesis) Despite all appearances, Haimon was immoral in his opposition
to his father.
PS#1: First, Haimon's actions are immoral because Haimon falls from
his position of respect for his father.
PS#2: Additional evidence for Haimon's immorality lies in the selfish
motivation behind his actions.
PS#3: Finally, and most importantly, Haimon acts immorally because his
suicide was an immoral act to punish his father
Supports need Secondary Supports and Detailed Evidence
completely developed BODY paragraph for Primary Support #2 (from the above
example)--Secondary Supports are color coded:
In addition, we can clearly see the theme of "seem vs. is" in
the early scene where Laertes is leaving for France. The
question most dealt with in the scene is what is the truth regarding Hamlet's
love for Ophelia-is it true love or is it dishonest love? Laerte's directly
advises his sister not to trust Hamlet's love: "For Hamlet, and the
trifling of his favor,/ Hold it a fashion, and a toy in blood,/ ... Forward,
not permanent, sweet, not lasting,/ ... No more" (I,iii, 5-9). Hamlet's
love is characterized by Laertes as not being real love; it is a "trifling,"
a "fashion," a "toy," rather than a true love that
would be "permanent" and "lasting." Laertes
goes even deeper into the appearance of Hamlet's love and works to convince
Ophelia that she is wrong to apprehend it as true:
he loves you now, ... but you must fear,
His greatness weighted, his will is not his own,
For he himself is subject to his birth:
He may not as unvalued persons do,
Carve for himself, for on his choice depends
The sanctity and health of the whole state,
And therefore must his choice be circumscribed
Unto the voice and yielding of that body
Whereof he is head. (I, iii, 13-23)
all appearances that Hamlet may love Ophelia, Laertes stresses the fact
that he could never marry Ophelia, making his "love" something
that is not "real"-that is, something that could result in marriage.
Further evidence of the theme of "seems vs.
is" can be seen in Ophelia's father's questioning of Hamlet's love
as well. When Ophelia begins to argue with her father that Hamlet appears
to be "tendering" her true affection, Polonius expresses his
My Lord he hath importuned me with love/ In honorable fashion.
Polonius: Ay, fashion you may call it, go to, go to.
Ophelia: And hath given countenance to his speech, my lord,/ With
all the holy vows of heaven.
Polonius: Ay, springes to catch woodcocks. ... these blazes daughter,/
you must not take for fire. (I, iii, 110-120)
key word that Ophelia uses is "countenance." Hamlet may seem
to be in love with Ophelia, but Polonius considers Hamlet's outward "showings"
of love only to be "springes," or snares, to seduce Ophelia.
As in other places in the play, we can see in Laertes' departure scene
that the theme of "seems vs. is" is clearly apparent.