Instructions How to Write

Shakespeare Plays Analysis

"All of the plays (taming of the shrew, romeo and juliet and a midsummers night dream) we have read this semester take up the issue of gender hierarchy and, more specifically, the question of men’s control over women. In each play, one or more women disobey (or try to disobey) the men whom society dictates they should obey; the results, however, vary significantly. Choose at least two such situations from different plays and write an essay comparing them that offers an argument about the plays’ perspectives on gender relations. What conclusions can we draw about Shakespeare’s (or his plays’) attitude towards men’s control of women? Questions you might want to consider include: What are the relationships between the women and the men they (try to) disobey? What are the outcomes? If they are different, why? How does each play invite us to feel about the disobedience and its consequences? (You need not, of course, address all of these questions.)

Your answer should be in essay form; that is, it should have a thesis supported by evidence that involves direct reference to the texts in question. Make sure that your essay is more than a list of similarities and differences, but instead draws conclusions about the plays in question based on those similarities and differences. Your essay may of course make use of class discussion and lectures (which you need not cite) but should go beyond them as well. If you quote Shakespeare’s plays and your source text is the Norton Shakespeare, there is no need for a Works Cited list; if you are using a version other than the Norton, you must let me know which one. Otherwise, you should make use of no sources other than the plays you are writing about (and remember, using sources without acknowledging them, including online sources, is plagiarism and will result in no credit for the exam). Your essay should be 3-4 pages long (not counting any long quotations), typed in a standard font, double-spaced, with one-inch margins on all four sides. Please proofread your work before submitting it: while persuasive argument is more important than technical correctness, too many writing errors will distract from your meaning.

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