ENGLISH 123:05 SUGGESTED PAPER TOPICS Fall 2020
PAPER DUE: Oct. 21, 2020 No paper accepted after Oct. 28, 2020
LATE PAPERS LOSE 10 POINTS
Papers must be typed, a hard copy, and 3+ to 5 pages in length. It is important to support your ideas with specific, accurate textual references and examples. You are required to use the MLA format which includes providing in-text citations as well as a Works Cited page.
Choose one of the following topics or develop your own. If you develop your own topic, you must have it approved. Submit no later than Oct 14 a brief paragraph stating you’re working thesis and probably course of discussion.
1. Oedipus tells Teiresias: “No work is more nobly human than helping others,/ Helping with all the strength and skill we possess” (427-8). Choose two of the following: Oedipus, Medea, Good Deeds (Everyman), and/or Ulysses (The Inferno). Discuss the extent to which each would agree or disagree with this statement. As you assess each character’s possible response, consider that character’s decisions and actions as well as the outcome in their respective work or episode.
2. Aristotle says that an epic’s advantage over tragedy is that the epic may enlarge its dimensions by introducing episodes, but these episodes must not violate the unity of the work. Below are listed three episodes in Dante’s Inferno. Choose one, and analyze closely how the episode functions in the work. For example, you might begin by explaining how the episode develops the sinner’s personality and/or reveals the sinner’s reasons for her/his sinful behavior. Then consider whether Dante learns any lesson (is changed by the encounter)? Or does the encounter reveal a new personal quality in Dante’s character?
A. The Francesa da Rimini Episode Canto 5.73-142
B. The Farinata Degli Uberti Episode Canto 10.22-123
C. The Ulysses Episode Canto 26.64-142
3 Medea, Everyman, and Dante’s Ulysses all rely on eloquent skill with words to achieve certain aims. Choose two of the following: (1) Medea’s conversation with King Creon,
(2) Everyman’s conversation with Death, or (3) Ulysses’ words to his sailors in canto 26 of Dante’s Inferno. Explain what goal each hopes to achieve. Then assess closely and compare each character’s skill in using words to achieve the desired end. Ultimately, how successful is each?
4. Be a critic. Which film version of Sophocles’ Oedipus The King has more power? Use the
Link on Blackboard and watch the Tyrone Guthrie production of Oedipus The King.
Then choose another version from Youtube’s offerings and watch it. Choose one scene, and compare the power of each to stir the audience’s pity and/or fear. As you weigh the effectiveness of each, you might consider choices such as: costumes? Actors? Setting?
Audience’s ability to comprehend the lines as spoken?
5. In class we discussed two Medieval plays, the Biblical pageant Noah’s Flood and the
Morality play, Everyman. Choose one of the plays, and set yourself up as the director.
Discuss how you would present either one section or the whole play to a modern audience.
Among things you might consider are: how you would direct the acting, choose the scenic backdrop and props, design costumes, make choice of actors, and consider inclusion of musical accompaniment, etc.
6. Jocasta, Medea, Mrs. Noah, and Francesca da Rimini are all married. Choose two or three and compare their marital relationships. In particular assess the nature of the relationship presented in the work. How does each wife maneuver in order to achieve personal happiness? How much happiness does each wife ultimately attain for herself (not necessarily from the marriage)?
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