Final Essay   [PDF]

(Analytical Response Paper)

The purpose of this assignment is to put to use that which you have learned about Shakespeare, textual history and analysis, and performance studies.  This paper is worth 50% of your final grade.

Assignment:  Write an analytical essay that addresses one of the questions below.  Be sure to use your knowledge gained from the lectures and tutorials, textual analysis, and secondary resources in order to articulate your ideas.

  1. According to Linda Hutcheon, “adaptation is an act of appropriating or salvaging, and this is always a double process of interpreting and then creating something new” (20).  Choose a play and an adaptation (it can be textual or cinematic).  Find a particular textual comparison (it can be a scene, a character, etc.) in the adaptation and compare it to the original (Norton or RSC) text.  Using Hutcheon’s terms, analyze what is “new” in the adaption, and how that informs the original text.
  2. Dennis Slater writes “In direct response to the politics of location, the Shakespearian text will have to be radically and continuously disarticulated” (Slater, ‘Acting Shakespeare in a postcolonial space’ Shakespeare, Theatre and Performance, edited by James Bulman, Routledge 1996, 129).  Discuss one of Shakespeare’s plays in these terms that reference examples of plays, productions and/or films that adapt Shakespeare.
  3. “Theatre is about conflict and you need to have enough anger inside yourself to provide the two parts of a conflict with a will to win. If you lose your own anger, the two sides do not have enough will to go into conflict, and the tragedy comes from these two points. Tragedy is about two sides which are right in their own way, and so the greater the anger and the will to win, the bigger the tragedy” (‘Theatre Against Fear’: Thomas Ostermeier In conversation with Alex Rigola’ in Contemporary Theatre Review, Vol. 16(2), 2006, 235 – 250.)  Consider one of the tragedies that we have read (Macbeth, Hamlet or Titus Andronicus) from this point of view.  How might the “anger” of these plays best manifest in a production?  What does such a point of view articulate about the tragedies?
  4. “Comedy moves from confusion to disorder, from ignorance to understanding, from law to liberty, from unhappiness to satisfaction, from separation to union, from bareness to fertility, from singleness to marriage, from two to one” (MacDonald 153).  Consider this definition of comedy—it which ways do the comedies we have read this semester defend or dispute this assertion?  What might a production do in order to accomplish or challenge such an understanding of The Taming of the Shrew or Twelfth Night?  How might the production “play” with this definition of comedy in order to articulate a specific theme or motif in the play?
  5. See a production of one of the plays we have studied this semester.  Consider any adaptive or interpretive choices within the production and discuss the production by focusing on the ways in which the choices of production highlighted a particular interpretation (especially a theme or motif) of the play.  Attach your ticket stub and/or program to the paper.
  6. Develop, in conjunction with your tutor, your own analytical paper on one of the plays we have studied this semester.

Strong responses will:

  • Will clearly identify and respond to the question that the essay addresses.
  • Be well planned and well organized.  Be about 2000 words long.
  • Have a controlling idea (a clear thesis statement), be coherent (what you write should make sense), and be cohesive (your ideas should “stick” together logically).
  • Use the space to analyze the text in terms of the assignment—avoid plot summary and personal opinion.
  • Use specific examples from the text to support your point and critically analyze those examples.
  • Will properly use secondary research materials (scholarly articles and books): they will be appropriately chosen, correctly interpreted, and “in conversation with” your idea.
  • Have well-developed paragraphs and sentences.
  • Be properly formatted according to MLA standards (refer to the links on our subject’s LibGuide proper formatting).  Please staple your paper together.
  • Be proofread and mechanically correct (no typos, no misspelled words, use correct grammar, punctuate properly etc.)
  • Be enjoyable to read.  This is best accomplished by exploring an idea that interests you.

Due date: Monday, 7 November 2011, 4pm

A penalty of 10% per day will be applied to all late papers.

If you would like comments on your paper, please supply a self addressed stamped envelope (with enough postage).