ENG 220Y (Prof Percy & Jennifer Roberts-Smith’s section): Essay 1--Administrivia

Due: The essay is technically due on December 11th, but I’ll accept it until 5pm on December 20th without penalty. I cannot and will not accept your essay by fax or by email. If you want to mail it, the ad dress is Professor C. Percy, Wetmore Hall Box 312, New College, University of Toronto, 21 Classic Avenue, Toronto M5S 2Z3. My phone number is (416) 978-4287.

Late: 5% per day to a maximum of 25%. Not accepted thereafter. Extensions require official documentation (medical certificate/registrar’s letter)..

Length: 2000 words (8 250-word pages) on a topic focussed from the list below.


Writing the essay

Robert Ormsby, a previous TA for this course, has written a handout about essay-writing

The U of T Writing Home Page has advice on writing all kinds of academic documents, including essays:

You can also work with your college writing centre at any stage of the essay-writing process.


Documenting your sources:

When quoting from Shakespeare's text, please include parenthetical references to the act, scene, and line number (e.g., 1.4.31 or I.iv.31 or 1.IV.31 - just be consistent). And please give a full bibliographical reference to the edition that you have used in the bibliography. E.g.,

Shakespeare, William. Henry IV, Part I. Ed. David Bevington. Oxford World’s Classics. Oxford and New York: Oxford University Press, 1987.

I do not expect you to use secondary sources: close reading and deep thought over a 4-week period can produce a first-rate essay. However, it can be satisfying and helpful to contextualize your ideas about a topic in current scholarship . It is better to put off reading secondary sources until you have devised a working thesis. That way you'll know what you are looking for. Once you've decided to use secondary sources, you must use a wide range of articles and books. Start with the ge neral guides to Shakespeare scholarship listed on the course syllabus.

PLAGIARISM. You must document all the sources you have used fully and accurately. U of T's Writing Home Page has good advice on how to avoid plagiarism. Claiming ignorance has never, in my experi ence of these cases, been accepted as a defence.

How to avoid plagiarism



1. Please type or neatly print your assignments.

2. On a separate title page, please provide a unique (and interesting) title that reflects how you have focussed the topic; your name & student number; my name; and the date.

3. Do not put your name on the body of the essay. Your essay's title and your student number are my keys to your identity once I've finished grading. Please put the paper's title and your student number at the top of EACH page; number each page at the top right.

4. Please use a paper clip rather than a stapler to hold the paper's pages together. I do comments on the word processor, and it is easier for me to attach them to your essay if I don't have to chew off the staple.

Essay 1: List of subjects

Write a 2000-word essay on a topic that you have focussed from one of the subjects below.


1. The primary source for Shakespeare’s Romeo and Juliet is Arthur Brooke’s The Tragicall Historye of Romeus and Juliet (1562). Compare the two scenes in the tomb. What changes has Shakespeare made, and with what effects? Write a compreh ensive interpretation. Use Early Comedies, Poems, Romeo and Juliet, volume 1 of Narrative and dramatic sources of Shakespeare, ed. Geoffrey Bullough (London and New York: Routledge and Kegan Paul, 1957), which is on short-term loan at the G erstein Library.

2. Write an essay that examines the thematic functions of the word time in Henry IV Part I AND Henry IV Part II. You can use a printed concordance (e.g. Spevack’s multivolume Shakespeare Concordance), or one of the o n-line concordances linked to the course home page.

3. Consider the functions of female characters in Henry IV Part I, Henry IV Part II, and Henry 5.

4. Consider the functions of the human body (literal and metaphorical) in Richard II, Henry IV Part I and Henry IV Part II.

5. In a well-organized essay, interpret literal and figurative descriptions of the crown in Richard II, Henry IV Part I, and Henry IV Part II.

6. Language as a theme in Henry IV Part I, Henry IV Part II, and Henry 5. This is a very broad subject: you’ll have to focus your topic sharply and organize the paper carefully. You might consider such topics as faulty commu nication (the ambiguity of anon, different languages, different social, regional, occupational registers), characters’ comments about language, silence…

7. Compare and contrast the differences in productions of Act 5, scene 1 of A Midsummer Night’s Dream, ed. Trevor R. Griffiths, Shakespeare in Production (Cambridge UP, 1996). Write a comprehensive and well organized essay that interprets those differences.

8. Discuss the thematic functions of words like land or earth (and/or of England specifically) in three of Richard II, Henry IV Part I, Henry IV, Part II, Henry V. You can use a printed concordance (e.g. Spevack’s multivolume Shakespeare Concordance), or one of the on-line concordances linked to the course home page.

9. One of Shakespeare’s sources for Richard II was Holinshed’s Chronicles. Compare Shakespeare’s scenes 3.2, 3.3, and 4.1 to the corresponding parts in Holinshed. Your Signet edition has excerpts (or you can consult volume four of Nar rative and Dramatic Sources of Shakespeare, ed.Geoffrey Bullough (London and New York: Routledge and Kegan Paul, Columbia UP, 1962), not on short-term loan).






Have a good holiday, when it comes … CP & JRS

"Awhile to work, and after holiday"