For Unit IV, students may choose to write about Drama or Music. If the drama option is chose, this is the assignment. Possible Plays to write about are here. An example is posted here. Spring 2011 Student papers are indexed here.


Description: For this assignment, you will analyze a play from the time period and cultures covered in Unit Four. This essay should be one-two pages typed (double spaced). It is more important to cover the required components rather than to worry about length. Use essay format with paragraphs rather than question / answer format or bulleted list format. Sources are not required, but any used must be documented correctly. Essays must be submitted electronically so that they can be submitted to Safe Assign to check for plagiarism. Please read the syllabus policies on the use of Safe Assign and the consequences of plagiarism. The policies will be strictly enforced.

Components: In the first paragraph, tell the reader about the play. What is its title? Who was the playwright? Where did you get a copy of it to read (give specifics: in suchandsuch textbook on page soandso or on the internet at suchandsuch address or at soandso library on suchandsuch date)? When was its composition? What is it about?

Then, in a series of body paragraphs, address as many of the following categories as relevant to the play:

  • Genre: What genre was the play? How did it exhibit the characteristics of tragedy, comedy, melodrama, and so on?
  • Plot: How did the plot work? Where in the play did the exposition occur? Where was the climax? Where and what were the crises? What instances of foreshadowing, discovery, and reversal were present? How was the plot resolved?
  • Protagonist: Who was the protagonist? How did his or her actions and decisions move the plot? Was the protagonist active or passive?
  • Character: How did the playwright draw the characters? Were they three-dimensional? If so did you find any of them identifiable with your own life or feelings?
  • Thought: What themes did the play pursue?
  • Language: How did the playwright’s language and actors’ speech create meaning for you? Help or hinder your understanding?

The concluding paragraph should be your Reaction: how do the previous elements combine to create a reaction in you? In other words, what draws your attention? What is your emotional response to the work, and what do you think causes the response?

Questions were adapted from page 79-80 of the Artsguide: World and Web by Dennis Sporre (2004).


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