Shakespeare: Course Paper Project

Course Paper Project for Shakespeare

Topics already approved 

  1. Henry V: Is Henry V a good person? Isn’t he controlled by the church, or really a murderer?
  2. Hamlet: Gertrude isn’t so innocent; she’s a meticulous planner rather than a weak mother.
  3. Tempest: Prospero isn’t a good man; he’s an unforgiving tyrant.
  4. Tempest: Caliban is not as savage as Prospero and other characters think.
  5. Tempest: Is Caliban evil or just acting from instinct? Does he learn at the end of the play?
  6. Twelfth: Is Feste clever or stupid? Why does Shakespeare establish a character like this?
  7. Tempest: For Prospero to forgive dangerous enemies at the end is irresponsible.
  8. Hamlet: Polonius is a good father but is an arrogant and selfish opportunist.
  9. Twelfth: Why does Olivia always change her mind so quickly?
  10. Tempest: Why are so many people on the island greedy?
  11. Tempest: Prospero is merciful to his enemies; but why does he choose to not take revenge?
  12. Tempest: Miranda is important and has a large effect on the The Tempest.
  13. Twelfth: Orsino never really loved Olivia.
  14. Hamlet: Hamlet did love Ophelia at first, but later did not love her.
  15. Tempest: What do Ariel and Caliban represent in comparison to each other?
  16. Tempest: The Tempest is very different from Shakespeare’s other plays– how, and why?
  17. Tempest: Gonzalo is ‘twofold’– he has a dual good and bad nature. Why?
  18. Twelfth: Why is Antonio generous whereas Viola and Sebastian are selfish?
  19. Twelfth: Do the sex-role stereotypes in the play really matter for relationships or life?
  20. Twelfth: Is Shakespeare making some political criticism through Malvolio?
  21. Hamlet: Isn’t Laertes’ situation equally or even more tragic than Hamlet’s?
  22. Hamlet: How does the Christian view of life after death change the story?
  23. All: Why does Shakespeare draw aggressive and enterprising women in his plays?
  24. Twelfth: Did Viola really have to disguise herself as a boy?
  25. Hamlet: Like him or not, Claudius is a better king than Hamlet would be.
  26. Henry V: How does Henry V value different things from the common people?
  27. Hamlet: Ophelia’s situation is equally or more tragic than Hamlet’s is.

Write an MLA format argument paper of about 800 words on one (or more) of the course texts: Twelfth Night, Hamlet, Henry V, The Tempest or any sonnet we discussed in class. Try to discuss an issue or theme which explains the text(s); simply comparing two characters is often boring unless the comparison tells us something meaningful. Feel free to look at the blog questions or think about the presentations for ideas.

Due date, on paper: Thursday, June 1, in class (e-mail attachments won’t be accepted)

  1. The paper must state an argument with examples and reasons, focused on the text.
  2. It’s OK if you use evidence or history from the time period of the text to help explain it, so long as your emphasis is on the text. Do not write a paper which is really about your best friend or about K-Pop.
  3. The paper must directly quote from the text, in the original Elizabethan English, to prove your arguments. If your paper has three irrelevant quotes I will assume you didn’t read the text. Use short quotes rather than padding the paper with useless long quotes.
  4. Important!: Here is how the paper will work. You will e-mail me (keneckert @ hanyang. ac. kr) a 70+ word proposal, where you will describe what you are going to discuss and what question or argument you are going to answer or prove in your paper. You should do this soon, because: a) I won’t accept a paper without an accepted proposal; and b) once a proposal is accepted, no other student can write on the same argument. For this reason your proposal needs to be specific. I will reject vague, one-sentence proposals saying, e.g. “I will write about why x is bad.” How and why is he bad? How will you prove it?
  • Your second paper in this course will be a revision of this first paper, due on the last day of classes by e-mail (Thursday, June 15); after I grade it, you will edit and improve the paper.
  • We will be spending the last five classes discussing how to write, research, and edit academic argument papers (May 25 – June 8).
  • Refer to the “Files” heading on this site for an example of MLA formatting. We’ll discuss this in class as well.
  • Grading will be on four criteria: Grammar; structure; argumentation, and text support (quoting). Each draft is worth 15%.