Project #86463 - Shakespeare’s scenes

Your paper should be between 1200-1500 words, double-spaced.


Goal:  This assignment asks you to think about how Shakespeare uses all these elements to create scenes.  In particular, this assignment will help you think further about how Shakespeare brings together all of the resources at his disposal to create the building blocks for his plays.



·       For the purposes of this assignment, you may select any lengthy scene or pick any two scenes next to each other in Henry the Fifth or Hamlet.

·       Preferably, you will avoid scenes we have talked about at length in lecture.

·       Your paper may address any of the following questions (and please don’t try to focus on all of these!):

·       What is going on in the scene or each of the two scenes you address?  Who are the characters on stage?  What are they saying?  How are they advancing the action?

·       How do the characters interact in the scene?  How do their various perspectives on the world compare and contrast?  How does their language differ?  How do the characters involved use language to establish or negotiate the relationship among themselves?

·       What kinds of conflict operate within the scene or scenes?

·       What kinds of emotion are present in the scene or scenes?  What creates the emotional charge in the scene or between scenes?  How does this emotion help situate the characters in relation to the larger action of the play?

·       What is the effect of the juxtaposition of action within a given scene or of the juxtaposition of two separate scenes? 

·       How does the scene or scenes foreground perspectives that complicate our understanding of the action?  Or create a sense of dramatic irony? Or a critical perspective on any or all of the characters?

·       What do we learn about the characters involved?  Are the characters on stage protagonists?  Or minor characters?  Do the character groups work together or are they at odds? What do we learn about the various value systems they represent or defend?

·       If you choose to look at two connected scenes, do the scenes mirror each other?  If so, in what ways?  Do they contrast in terms of characters, language, emotional atmosphere, and so forth?  If so, how so? 


·       As with the aspects of literary language and character we have discussed, you should pay careful attention to how the scenes nuance, enrich, or complicate what we think about the play.


·       Your paper should include the following components:

o   A short discussion of the scene or scenes in question.  Identify very briefly what’s happening in the play at the point you choose.

o   A clear statement up front of your basic claim about the scene or the impact of these scenes’ juxtaposition.

o   A concrete discussion about what you see the scene or scenes to be attempting to accomplish.

o   A discussion of how the selected scene works, or the effects of having the second scene follow the first.

o   Attention to the components of Shakespearean drama we’ve been talking about in class and working on in previous writing assignments—word choice, figures of speech, and other aspects of the characters’ words and deeds—in order to prove your claim.


·       Your paper should not include the following components:

·       A long preamble attesting to Shakespeare’s greatness, or to the beauty of his language, the brilliance of his characters, and so forth.  Such introductions add nothing to the argument.

·       Errors of spelling or grammar.

·       Lengthy plot summaries.  (You may assume your reader knows the story.)

·       Obvious efforts to pad the paper with overlong quotations.

Subject English
Due By (Pacific Time) 10/26/2015 01:30 pm
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