I don’t know how to handle this English question and need guidance.
Write a scintillating, well-written essay of 7 pages in response. You must narrow the scope of your thesis and argument to fit the page limit. You may want to look up the meaning of words in the Oxford English Dictionary, if your interpretation of a passage depends upon the meaning or connotation of a certain word.
Your essay should feature the following:
- a focused interpretive argument about the meaning of Shakespeare’s plays. Keep plotsummary to a minimum; assume that your reader has read the plays once, but may beunaware of deeper implications.
- a clearly-stated thesis statement early in the essay which articulates your argument. Thisstatement should do more than just announce the topic of the paper, and it should avoid the”similarities and differences” formula. Underline your thesis statement.
- at least one passage in which you analyze a passage from the playscript closely at some length. This section of your paper should demonstrate your attention to nuances of language and imagery, subtleties of characterization, and key ideas and issues. Fully explain the meaning of all details or quotations you cite, and place details and quotations in their dramatic context. Choose your supporting quotations carefully, and explain the meaning of the passages you choose to cite. Where you choose to quote directly, please cite the act, scene and line number(s) parenthetically after the quotation. Example: When the Archbishop of Canterbury declares that his long discussion of Salic law is”as clear as the summer sun” (Henry V 1.2.86), his tone is one of sarcasm rather than sincerity. For the correct conventions about citing passages from Shakespeare, please consult the “Guidelines for Writing Papers and Quoting Correctly”, which I will expect you to follow closely. Please consult the class Blackboard site for the grading rubric for this essay.
I. At first glance, Sir Toby Belch from Twelfth Night and Sir John Falstaff from I Henry IV andHenry V are remarkably similar characters–both are fallen knights, both enjoy copious drink and hearty merriment, both are ringleaders of a small community of fellow revelers, both have vexed relationships with figures of authority. Compare and contrast these figures, focusing on ONE element or quality that you find particularly important, revealing, or significant. Develop a thesis about how and why Shakespeare revises this popular character type across the two plays. Pay some attention to the question “so what?” as you are developing your analysis: why is the element or quality you’ve analyzed important to our understanding of these characters and the plays in which they appear?
DEVELOPMENT QUESTIONS: This question might be developed in several ways:
• treat Sir Toby Belch as a revision of Sir John Falstaff: what element(s) did Shakespeare choose to change when he returned to this character in Twelfth Night? Exactly how did he change him? Why?
- you might trace the development of each character in the course of his particular play–do you sense a change in our attitude toward these characters as the play progresses? What accounts for that change (or lack of it)?
- you might trace this character’s relationship with another character–say, Toby’s with Aguecheek and Falstaff’s with Prince Henry–paying close attention to what that relationship reveals about Toby’s and Falstaff’s character or function within the play.
- you might trace how these characters illuminate one of Shakespeare’s central ideas, themes or issues within both plays, though in perhaps subtly contrasting or vastly different ways. This list is certainly not complete: you may choose other ways of developing your comparison and contrast.
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