Choose one of the topics below for the essay on one of the following plays, William Shakespeare’s Hamlet, King Oedipus, Henrik Ibsen’s A Doll House or Tennessee Williams’s A Glass Menagerie. The topics are intentionally broad and need to be narrowed to a workable thesis. Do not just answer the question in the assignment, but use the questions as a guide for the essay.
1. Write a critical essay on how a protagonist’s hubris (tragic flaw) and hamartia (mistake or error of judgment) cause the tragic outcome of a play. Use either Prince Hamlet from William Shakespeare’s Hamlet or King Oedipus from Sophocles’ Oedipus Rex as an example. Consider the anagnorisis (the discovery) and the peripety (the change of character) of the protagonist as he figures out his mistake.
2. Use one of the following plays — Henrik Ibsen’s A Doll House or Tennessee Williams’s A Glass Menagerie — and write a critical essay on how the social norms and/or the traditional values of society affect the characters in the play, particularly the female characters. How do the characters deal with these norms or traditions? Explain if they get out of the situation or not and why. You may even explore how the characters’ lives would be different if they were living under today’s social norms.
The introduction must include a summary (one sentence only) of the play. The summary should include the title of the play and the name of the author.
For the body paragraphs, use only the play as your grounds (support). Do not do any research. You also need to show warrants (explanations of the relationship between your grounds and your thesis statement). Also, do not summarize the whole play again in the body paragraphs. Instead, do a close reading on a particular section of a play.
Make sure to consult the Essay Checklist to assist in writing this essay. If you are using grounds from Hamlet or Oedipus Rex, make sure to use the forward slash after each line, since these plays are written in verse.