Where you have been assigned to write an outline as part of an essay or whether you simply understand that writing an outline is a great way to help you make sure that your essay is structured properly, it is important to be able to write a great academic outline. Once you have completed an outline, you can easily flesh it out because it will provide you with customized template for your paper. If you write a sufficiently detailed outline, all you will have to do is replace your subsections with sentences to create your paper. That is why we have provided you with this template for an outline for a standard five-paragraph essay. You simply add additional subsections if you add body paragraphs. We have included an example, as well, so you can see what an academic outline will look like.
A. Supporting statement 1
B. Supporting statement 2
C. Supporting statement 3
II. Supporting statement 1
III. Supporting statement 2
IV. Supporting statement 3
A. Restate thesis
B. Restate supporting statement 1
C. Restate supporting statement 2
D. Restate supporting statement 3
E. Closing statement
The five paragraph essay is the standard for basic academic essays. This example outline is based on a basic literature five paragraph essay, where the purpose of the essay is to back up an opinion, or thesis, that the author has about the literature. The subject of this outline will be whethe
r Hamlet is sane or insane.
I. Whether Hamlet is sane or insane is one of the central questions in Shakespeare’s play Hamlet, and is an important one, since so much of the play focuses on Hamlet’s perceptions of the activities surrounding him.
A. Hamlet’s mental health is called into question before he suspects his uncle of killing his father.
B. Hamlet is the only one who hears the ghost.
C. Hamlet’s treatment of Gertrude and Ophelia is irrational.
D. Hamlet is truly insane in the play and is not simply feigning madness.
II. Hamlet is mentally ill when the play starts.
A. Claudius points out Hamlet’s depression.
B. Hamlet has all of the signs of melancholy, a mental illness in Shakespearean times.
C. Hamlet lashes out at Gertrude for incest, even though no one else seems to find her relationship incestuous.
III. Hamlet is the only one who can hear his father’s ghost.
A. Several people see the ghost.
B. Hamlet is the only one who can hear the ghost.
C. Hamlet even questions whether or not he really heard the ghost.
IV. Hamlet’s treatment of Gertrude and Ophelia is irrational.
A. Hamlet is furious at Gertrude for marrying after his father’s death even though there is no suggestion that Gertrude was unfaithful to his father.
B. Hamlet is cruel to Ophelia for seemingly no reason, even though Ophelia definitely does not have anything to do with his father’s death.
C. Hamlet is extremely emotional about Gertrude and Ophelia, even though neither of them are suggested to have been involved in his father’s death.
V. Knowing whether Hamlet is sane or insane impacts the interpretation of the play.
A. Although Hamlet says he is feigning madness, signs of his actual mental state suggest that he is truly insane.
B. Hamlet has signs of melancholy at the start of the play, before he has seen his father’s ghost.