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220 Paper 2 Repeated Element

Page history last edited by Eric Leonidas 6 months, 2 weeks ago


Our second paper is due Friday May 1 (if you didn’t write one for the first due date, you’ll write one now; if you wrote one already, your work is done! Alternatively, you can still do 4 tutoring sessions with Moriah).  Before starting please be sure to see the “ground rules” and “how to cite Shakespeare”
 links on the web. Those links are back on the old leonidas.pbworks.com page, which also has this assignment posted.

 

Please note that the assignment is also available on Blackboard under the "Twelfth Night" content link, and will have to be submitted through that assignment page.

 

Basics:

 

Length: at least 4 pagesthese usually come in 4-6 pages.  Please note that 4 pages is not 3 ½ pages.  That’s 3 ½ pages.  My minimum is 4 pages.

 

Topic: you may focus on any one of our 5 plays. (See below.)

 

Citation: MLA parenthetical citation with a Works Cited list (even if there’s only one work, as there likely will be; this can be at the bottom of your last page).

 

As to the topic, I’d like you to follow a format.  I call it the “repeated element.”  Your introduction should do the following:

 

1. Briefly describe an important moment or element in the play: this might be a gesture, like challenging someone, vowing something, giving a ring, etc.; it might be an image or a description, such as honor, horses, or music. You might find a repeated plot element or motif, such as the appearance of someone or something, or their loss, etc.

2. Describe a second instance of this later in the play.

3. Provide an argument about these: that is, some kind of statement about why it’s important thematically (beyond the plot!) to see the differences here. The difference might be actual differences, or a different context (different character uses the image, or at a different time, or to mean a different thing, etc.).

 

An example of an introduction to such a paper:

 

Early in Shakespeare’s Richard II, King Richard confronts two nobles issuing charges of treason against each other and pledging to settle matters with a duel. Richard hears the charges but, rather than allow the men to back their words with actions, he and another noble attempt to persuade the men to give up their fight. Having issued public insults and slandered one another, the men are essentially supposed to accept the notion that words don’t matter—beyond the king’s words, that is. Much later in the play, two different men offer another exchange of public insults, but before a different king. This time, King Henry pledges that the duels will go forward:

 

… Lords, appellants,

Your differences shall all rest under gage

Till we assign you to your days of trial. (4.1.98-100)

 

Those differences matter: both the difference in Henry’s approach to his angry noblemen and the “differences”—the dispute—between the men. In fact, both pairs of men are arguing about the same thing: the death of the Duke of Gloucester. But the difference in the way the matter is handled by Richard and Henry points to a larger change in the play. Under Richard, only the king’s word carries any weight. Henry holds out the promise that what others’ say will be tested, that truth will be found out. Ultimately, the difference in the way public speech is valued will lead to a stronger polity and more just rule.

 

From here, I will organize my paper along the lines the introduction suggests. I'll discuss Richard during the challenges, his capricious behavior during the duel itself (with Bolingbroke's sense of the power of a king's "breath"), his obliviousness to Gaunt's advice, and then his newfound sense of the difference between what he says and the truth of what's reported by his followers. I'll switch to Henry, emphasize his commitment to truth (Bushy and Greene "trial"), and then turn to his behavior during the duel. I'll conclude with the death of Richard, possibly a result of Henry's unknowing suggestion, to reiterate the power of a king's word--Henry might have something of Richard's sense of words yet to learn.

 

Finally, let me say again that what matters most is the difference you find between the two elements. Falstaff's invention of a fight over money and his invention of a fight with Hotspur are both lies, and together show that Falstaff is a liar. But that is so obvious it's meaningless. It would be better to show that the first lie merely attempts to save face, while the second pursues actual material advancement (reward from the king). It is this second skill that Hal too has mastered--inventing and manipulating a version of self to secure a particular end. Far from breaking with Falstaff at the end, then, Hal effectively inherits the old man's method.

 

 

 

 

 

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