ENG220Y: Writing an essay based on a close reading of a passage in a play

The assignment

On Tuesday, November 16th, you'll be writing an in-class essay. The essay will explore the significance of one long speech to the characterization, plot, and/or theme of one of Shakespeare's plays that we have studied so far.

Choose one of the following:

(1) Mercutio's speech in Romeo and Juliet I.4 beginning "O, then, I see Queen Mab hath been with you"

(2) Titania's speeches in MND II.1 beginning "These are the forgeries of jealousy" and "Set your heart at rest".

(3) Richard's speech in Richard II V.5.1-66

Your essay should analyze the language of the speech -- its content and its style. (The list of terms you got in class in October should prompt you for things to look for!). Your essay might also consider the relationship between the verbal and the visual: how does what we hear relate to what we see on stage?

Create a complex, coherent thesis for your essay: make sure that you and your reader are aware of the relationships between the different points you make in your essay.

Come to class on November 16th and write about the passage you have chosen. We will provide copies of all three passages and test booklets.

You are welcome to use your college writing centre, and/or the New College writing centre, as you prepare for this assignment! They can help you with all stages of academic writing.

Useful resources

You may want to look up the meaning(s) that words in your passage might have had in the late sixteenth century. The historical dictionary of English is The Oxford English Dictionary. 2nd ed. 20 vols. Oxford, 1989. PE 1625 M7 1989 - often shelved separately, so ask the librarian for the `OED'. Or get the OED on line!

Books with definitions and examples of literary terms and concepts

Abrams, M.H. A glossary of literary terms. 7th ed. 1999. PN 44.5 A2 1999 GENR (at ROBA). PN 41 A184 1999 VIC REF. 6th ed. 1993. PN 44.5 A2 1993 TRIF, Gerstein STL.

Adams, Stephen. Poetic designs: an introduction to meters, verse forms, and figures of speech. Peterborough: Broadview Press, 1997. PE 1505 A25 1997 Gerstein STL; PE 1505 A32 TRIN, VUPT.

Barton, John. Playing Shakespeare. 1984. PR 3091 B32. TRIN STL.

Harmon, William and C. Hugh Holman. A Handbook to Literature, 7th ed. PN 41 H6 1996 VIC REF; TRIN REF

Kreuzer, James. Elements of poetry. 1955. PN 1042 K7 1955. TRIN STL.

UVic's Writer's Guide: http://elza.lpi.ac.ru/WritersGuide/literary/literarytermstoc.html#PoetTool

Step-by-step guides through the process of writing

Roberts, Edgar V. `Writing about metaphor and simile', `Writing about tone', `Writing about prosody', `Writing two themes based on a close reading [one of which is a passage from Hamlet]' in Writing themes about literature. 7th ed. 1991. PE 1408 R593 1991 VUPT, TRIF. The 8th ed (1995) is called Writing about literature: PE 1408 R593 1995X STL; VUPT; UNIR.