Analysing a Play

Analysing a Play

Length: 560 words (1.6 double-spaced pages)

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4-6 page papers
one-sentence thesis statement at the end of the opening paragraph that summarizes your whole argument
well-organized throughout
You also need to cite three sources besides the play itself, using MLA style: books, internet articles, journal articles, films, etc.
graded on the thesis statement, sophistication of ideas, incorporation of sources, and clarity of writing

1.     Discuss critical approaches to this play. For such a short paper, you need only take on two or three articles or other critical works dealing with major issues, such as the Oedipal conflict in Hamlet or sexism in Taming of the Shrew. You should summarize each argument that you read and provide some sort of response, possibly with readings of specific passages in the play.


2.     Analyze any specific literary element of this play. This choice allows you to perform a close reading of the play. Try to focus on one issue or set of related issues, such as music in Twelfth Night or racial tension in Othello. Create as subtle an argument as possible, and provide plenty of quotes from the text.


February 22     Introduction (1-25), Barnaby Rich (133-149), Time (149-155)
Sexuality (183-187), Puritan Probity (320-334)     Performance
Twelfth Night Papers Due


How to Cite Shakespeare’s Verse

•     Incorporating a short quote into your sentence (fewer than four lines of verse): Set the quote up with a colon, and then use slash marks to indicate the line breaks. You can either give page numbers in parentheses (indicating your edition in a Works Cited page) or give act, scene, and line numbers. Use ellipses (. . .) as usual if you decide to leave something out.

Petruchio’s speech on his wedding day demonstrates a conventional Renaissance attitude toward women: “I will be master of what is mine own./ She is my goods, my chattels; she is my house,/ My household stuff. . .” (3.2.218-220).

•     Using a block quote (more than four lines): End your sentence with a period or a colon, hit “enter” twice, indent half an inch, and reproduce the speech or dialogue exactly as it appears in the book. (Do not use quotation marks around the quote.) You can either single-space or double-space; I prefer the former. Then skip to the next line and continue your paragraph with an interpretation. Don’t indent unless you want a new paragraph.

Petruchio’s speech on his wedding day demonstrates a conventional Renaissance attitude toward women:

I will be master of what is mine own.
She is my goods, my chattels; she is my house,

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My household stuff, my field, my barn,
My horse, my ox, my ass, my anything;
And here she stands, touch her whoever dare. (3.2.218-222)

While some readers believe that Petruchio is deliberately performing a role, later sections of the play suggest that he truly holds these values.

•     Quoting dialogue: It’s always best to block quote. Reproduce just as in book.

Petruchio speaks to his new bride with false kindness, yet the other characters recognize that Kate still has the upper hand.

PETRUCHIO:
O Kate, content thee. Prithee, be not angry.
KATHARINA:
I will be angry. What hast thou to do? –
Father, be quiet. He shall stay my leisure.
GREMIO:
Ay, marry, sir, now it begins to work. (3.2.204-207)

Gremio’s comment employs a double meaning for “marry” and “work,” while subtly pointing to the labor involved in real romantic unions.

Always check your quotes! Do not leave out words or get them wrong!
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