Essay 2

Write an essay on one of the following topics.

Topic I:
Write a stylistic analysis of a short passage from Shakespeare.

See the assignment sheet for Essay #1. (Select a different passage from the one you analyzed for Essay #1.)

Topic II:
Compare Antony & Cleopatra 2.2.201-36 with its source.

Enobarbus’s barge speech in Antony & Cleopatra is a versified version of the corresponding section of Shakespeare’s source, Thomas North’s 1579 translation of Plutarch’s Lives of the Noble Grecians and Romans. Analyze how Shakespeare’s language differs from the language of North’s translation. (The North translation appears in The Bedford Companion to Shakespeare on pages 186-87.) Describe how Shakespeare’s specific verbal changes make his language work differently than North’s does. Do not feel obligated to discuss every change or analyze each line of the speech; focus only on the things you find most interesting and noteworthy.

For either topic, write about what Shakespeare’s language does, not about what it says, or what it reveals about the characters, or how it relates to the plot. Do not summarize or paraphrase the lines; assume that your reader comprehends them already.

The length of your essay will depend on how much you have to say and how skillfully you can say it. Don’t let your essay run longer than what you have to say. I would prefer a single paragraph that says very little to several pages that say the same small amount.

Please follow MLA style for formatting your document. (See “Document Format,” “Anatomy of a Citation,” and “How to Quote Shakespeare.”)

This essay is optional. If you have nothing to say, do not write an essay. Everyone who writes an essay gets an A for the assignment; everyone who does not write an essay gets an A too.

(Consider your reaction to that last paragraph. The paragraph went as far as possible toward showing you—and denying you access to—the psychological crutches that fear of a bad grade and lust after a good one provide students who think surviving a course is reason enough to go thoughtlessly and dutifully through institutionally approved motions. The paragraph may also start you thinking about the uniquely unreasonable employer/employee relationship that prevails in the retail education market. Only here do customers try to get less than they pay for.)

Due Date: November 15

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Page Last Updated: 14 May 2011