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ARTS2034 Shakespearean Drama Major Essay Due date: 23 March 2023, 11:59 p.m. Length: 2000 words (including all quotations and footnotes, excluding bibliography) Weighting: 50% of your final mark Referencing: You are free to choose whichever referencing system you prefer. However, in making this choice you should bear in mind the purpose of referencing: to guide the reader to evidence and, when necessary, to the relevant part of the source in question. An author-date system without page numbers is thus perfectly appropriate for references to the central claims or general arguments of short works, but the same system is inappropriate when citing a novel, a poem, a substantial journal article, a scholarly monograph, or a work of any length and complexity. In those cases, page or line numbers are essential for the reference to do its intellectual work. Word Counts: All quotations and references are included in word counts, while bibliographies are not. A margin of 10% above and below the stipulated word count will be accepted without penalty. Please double-space your essays. Answer one of the following six questions. Unless otherwise specified, you may choose to write about any of the following four plays: Richard III, The Taming of the Shrew, The Tempest, and Antony and Cleopatra. 1. Do we read Shakespeare or go to see Shakespeare in performance in order to learn lessons? If so, are they lessons about the past or about the present? In your answer, you should discuss two plays. 2. ÒBy any ethical standard at all what Antony does to Fulvia, to Octavia especially, to his political allegiance, to himself, to Cleopatra even, must be bad. The death of Antony and of Cleopatra is in the high Roman fashion, whatÕs brave, whatÕs noble. [É] We are called upon to admire Antony and Cleopatra. In short, the play is immoral. The play, however, is great poetry because of the complexity of its immoralityÑif one may venture the phrase, its mature immorality.Ó (W. K. Wimsatt, Jr, 1947) Discuss, in relation to any two plays. (You need not discuss Antony and Cleopatra if you would prefer not to.) 3. What is the difference between an utterance on stage and a post on social media? In your answer, you should discuss two plays. You are welcome to discuss any social-media platform.
4. It has been said that the pen is mightier than the sword. What power do ShakespeareÕs characters exercise through language? In your answer, you should discuss two plays. 5. What is the difference between reading Shakespeare on the page and hearing Shakespeare on the stage? In your answer, you may discuss one play or two plays. 6. ShakespeareÕs art, wrote Lascelles Abercrombie, Òis the art of irresistibly impressing on our minds a sense of character, of particular kinds of human existence: and not only that, but also [É] an exact sense of the way these particular characters react at a given moment to a given set of circumstancesÓ (1924). Discuss, in relation to any two plays. 7. What do we learn from Ben JonsonÕs ÒTo the Memory of My Beloved the Author, Mr. William Shakespeare and what he hath left usÓ (1623)? In discussing JonsonÕs poem, you should refer also to at least one play. 8. What can we learn by analysing to whom ShakespeareÕs characters speak, rather than what they happen to say? Discuss, with reference to Richard III, The Taming of the Shrew, or The Tempest. 9. Choose a soliloquy from one of the plays and compare it to one of ShakespeareÕs sonnets. You are free to choose any sonnet, and you are welcome to use any edition of the sonnets. You might find it helpful to consult the original, 1609 printing, available in electronic facsimile through the British Library: https://www.bl.uk/collection-items/first-edition-of-shakespeares-sonnets-1609. Assessment criteria The Major Essay will be assessed according to the following criteria: a) The clarity and sophistication of argument; b) The depth and detail of analysis; c) Appropriate depth of research; d) Direct engagement with relevant course materials; e) Engaging and precise writing; f) Correct and consistent citation. Course Learning Outcomes assessed 1. Identify, describe, and evaluate major features of Shakespearean drama. 3. Demonstrate an awareness of the historical and political contexts which shaped ShakespeareÕs art and which shape his reception today. 4. Generate arguments about ShakespeareÕs plays, in writing and in discussion, in ways appropriate to the academic discipline of literary studies.
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