Students frequently claim that teachers
penalize students if they do not regurgitate the same
interpretation of the text as the teacher has presented in
class discussions. Most teachers, though, are enlightened
sorts who are eager to see their students use their creativity
and devise their own thesis statements. No lie.
Great literature stands the test of time
because it explores aspects of human experience which are
mysterious, ironic and ambiguous. Should Oedipus have forged
onward in his pursuit of the truth? Should Antigone have
forced the issue with Creon when she buries her slain
brother? Why do we secretly applaud Macbeth's immoral quest to
achieve absolute freedom of action? If Hamlet is such a
good person, then why does he do such horrible things to the
people whom he loves, particularly Ophelia?
There are many different interpretations
that can plausibly explore the great human mysteries
dramatized in literature. However, there are not an infinite
number of interpretations. Saying that Hamlet is a coward or
that Macbeth is an automaton simply cannot be supported by the
facts of the text.
So when you see the
icon inserted into your essay, feel free to take issue with
the teacher's comment, but also take care to find convincing
evidence to support your argument.