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WJEC English Literature A2 Exam 20th June 2012

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    I'm finding King Lear and Oedipus the hardest because there is so much happening, does anyone know how to write a King Lear/Oedipus essay effectively?
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    (Original post by Musical123)
    I'm finding King Lear and Oedipus the hardest because there is so much happening, does anyone know how to write a King Lear/Oedipus essay effectively?
    Find the most important arguments relevant to the question, and others you can use as extra info in the conclusion. I usually find 5-6 points is sufficient. I usually keep to this sort of organisation per paragraph/argument:

    -Introduce your point
    -Quote to back up point
    -Language/Format/Structure points that back up point
    -Alternative Reading of Language/Format/Structure point
    -Connect to context and/or Connect to point portrayed in Oedipus

    Remember Oedipus is merely the "condiment" to you dinner, in other words you only need to sprinkle a little bit in. King Lear is always the main focus of your essay and your main points should be based around it! Don't worry if you think you've underdone it, If you feel you haven't added a lot, whack a lot of Oedipus into your conclusion.

    I hope this helped!! What poetry are you doing?
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    Is anyone doing Hamlet and Chaucer's Wife of Bath?

    I am soooo struggling with both
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    (Original post by christacrisp)
    p.s I'm happy to post essays I've done for Blake if you need examples etc just to look at or borrow ideas from, I usually find reading other peoples essays can help you look at it from a new perspective
    that would be great if you could! I'm doing blake too, with measure for measure and the duchess of malfi, I am terrified and really struggling to remember any quotes!:confused:
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    Hi everyone,
    I'm doing this exam as well! We're doing Lyrical Ballads by Wordsworth & Coleridge & Hamlet / The Revenger's Tragedy. Feeling incredibly nervous for this exam as we can't have the texts with us! It's going to be tough remembering all the quotes & stuff. :eek:
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    (Original post by British_Student^^)
    Hi everyone,
    I'm doing this exam as well! We're doing Lyrical Ballads by Wordsworth & Coleridge & Hamlet / The Revenger's Tragedy. Feeling incredibly nervous for this exam as we can't have the texts with us! It's going to be tough remembering all the quotes & stuff. :eek:
    I'm doing Hamlet and The Revenger's Tragedy, too!

    Eeek! How're you revising the quotes?
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    (Original post by christacrisp)
    p.s I'm happy to post essays I've done for Blake if you need examples etc just to look at or borrow ideas from, I usually find reading other peoples essays can help you look at it from a new perspective
    This would be very helpful for me, if you wouldn't mind pm-ing a few of them.
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    (Original post by christacrisp)
    p.s I'm happy to post essays I've done for Blake if you need examples etc just to look at or borrow ideas from, I usually find reading other peoples essays can help you look at it from a new perspective
    Hey there,
    It would be great help if u could post/email a few of your essays! Thank u
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    Sorry about the late reply, this is one which got an A* (the only one I might add so far ),so thought this would be the most useful to show you, hope it helps!

    Explore the presentation of and the attitudes towards desire in Blake’s poetry


    Blake explores different attitudes towards sex in his poetry however his own personal stance on sex follows one theme. This is the theme of sex as liberation, and peoples right to have sex with whom ever they may please since it is a natural God-given desire. Despite the conventions of his time, Blake takes an astonishingly liberal attitude towards sexuality and this can be seen throughout his poetry. Often using metaphors of nature to explore sexuality and the repression of it. This can be seen in Blake’s poem Ah! Sun-Flower, The Lily and My Pretty Rose Tree.

    In Ah! Sun-Flower, the sun-flower can be seen as a metaphor for sexuality. The bright and fruitful connotations of a sun-flower suggest a positive attitude towards sex whereas ‘the pale virgin shrouded in snow’ suggests infertility and a lack of positive growth. In this poem, the sun can be seen to represent sexual desire, and as the sun-flower reaches towards the sun, and so follows its desire, it grows and prospers. The ‘pale virgin’ is an important image because it relates the popular fashion of pale skin in the 18th century, which showed that you were wealthy, and remained always inside. However the sun-flower, who by its nature is always outside, shows a sense of exploration and a break from conformity and fashion. Desire is, as the poem says ‘the traveller’s journey’, likening sex to exploration and learning and so suggesting that there is more to sex than the physical connotations.

    The ‘sweet golden clime’ also suggests that sexuality is an experience to enjoy. The word ‘clime’ shows that it is not about instantaneous gratification but the experience of love and lust. The word ‘golden’ here shows how sexuality can lead to prosperity, though not a material prosperity. The sun-flower as a metaphor also suggests this because sunflowers produce a wealth of seeds and are therefore considered to be fruitful, this contrasts to the repression of sexuality, which has connotations with death.

    Blake uses cold imagery to depict the repression of sexuality compared with the bright imagery used to depict free sexuality. This is in the form of the ‘pale Virgin shrouded in snow’ who ‘arise from their graves’. This goes to say that by repressing sexuality you repress a form of life, and restrict life to the extent that you loose your vitality. The line ‘Arise from their graves, and aspire, Where my Sun-flower wishes to go’ suggests that by embracing sexuality you embrace life. Despite the conventions of his age, where repression of sexuality and virtue were valued, Blake says the opposite, and even goes so far as to say that repression of sexuality can lead to aggressiveness and anger.

    This is illustrated in Blake’s poem, ‘The Lilly’. ‘The modest Rose puts forth a thorn’ shows how in virtue we become not purer, but more vicious and protective. This is shown by the harsh syllable sounds of ‘thorn’ and ‘horn’, which blemish the otherwise beautiful Rose and innocent ‘Sheep’. Here, repression of sexuality is further illustrated by a ‘stain’ or a ‘threat’, and so says that the repression of sexuality is un-natural, like a ‘stain’, it is added or a human mistake.

    In giving ‘Love’ a capital letter, it states its power and presence in the poem and therefore it’s importance. Love therefore, like God (in Blake’s belief) is in us all and should be embraced. By directly associating love and lust, lust then becomes more pure. The trochaic metre of the first two lines creates a monotonous and ominous tone that illustrates the harshness and aggression of a life without sexuality, but when Blake moves on to talk about the ‘Lilly’ who in ‘love delight[s]’ the rhythm changes to an anapaestic metre, showing the spontaneity of lust by creating a freer and more positive rhythm. Whilst this poem explores positive connotations of free sexuality, Blake’s poem ‘My Pretty Rose Tree’ explores another aspect.

    ‘My Pretty Rose Tree’ , unlike the other poems approaches the subject of fidelity and monogamy. The ‘flower’ here represents a sexual advancement. Since it is only one flower, it has negative connotations compared with the ‘Rose tree’ since it suggests that it is plucked and some day will wither. It also suggests that the flower, being only one, offers only an aspect of sexuality, however the fuller ‘Rose tree’ shows how sexuality is far more complex than the simple exchange of physical love. The metaphor of the tree suggests an aspect of nurture and care that a flower does not need. The anapaestic trimeter of this poem would suggest a gentle and carefree attitude towards sexuality but could also have connotations of stability, since the rhythm is consistent, bar one line. There is however a negative aspect within this poem. This poem explores the negative emotions related to the exploration of sexuality, whereby, it encourages jealously. The persona, who turns down the advancement with kindness, to tend to his Rose tree ‘by day and by night’ is met with jealously, and although we can see the strength of his affection by the line ‘And her thorns were her only delight’, he is still scorned, and so in search of any human emotion clings to the ‘thorns’. This shows a negative aspect of free sexuality in that it in itself can cause problems however, generally, Blake feels positively about this notion of open sexuality.

    In all three poems, Blake uses nature as a metaphor for sexuality. By using flowers he gives positive and beautiful connotations to sex. The use of nature goes to show that free sexuality is a natural human aspect and so should be embraced as such. We see in each poem how the repression of sexuality can have negative connotations such as aggression. Generally, sex in Blake’s poems can be seen as something positive and natural, compared with the negativity of repression.
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    (Original post by NoSpeakNewSpeak)
    This would be very helpful for me, if you wouldn't mind pm-ing a few of them.
    hello, below I posted an essay in response to another comment, having trouble tracking more down though I'm sure there must be some!
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    (Original post by Acrylic)
    that would be great if you could! I'm doing blake too, with measure for measure and the duchess of malfi, I am terrified and really struggling to remember any quotes!:confused:
    I've posted one below, thought I had more but obviously I hand wrote more then I thought though I will have a look again. What i've done is recorded myself saying some poems, which works for me at least, because you can sort of listen to them whilst doing something else, on the bus or w.e and if you keep doing that then at least some of it should sink in!
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    (Original post by christacrisp)
    I've posted one below, thought I had more but obviously I hand wrote more then I thought though I will have a look again. What i've done is recorded myself saying some poems, which works for me at least, because you can sort of listen to them whilst doing something else, on the bus or w.e and if you keep doing that then at least some of it should sink in!
    thanks so much! wow, the recording idea sound like a good one. that seemed to work for me during the gcse french orals so i'll give it a go!
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    (Original post by christacrisp)
    Sorry about the late reply, this is one which got an A* (the only one I might add so far ),so thought this would be the most useful to show you, hope it helps!

    Explore the presentation of and the attitudes towards desire in Blake’s poetry


    Blake explores different attitudes towards sex in his poetry however his own personal stance on sex follows one theme. This is the theme of sex as liberation, and peoples right to have sex with whom ever they may please since it is a natural God-given desire. Despite the conventions of his time, Blake takes an astonishingly liberal attitude towards sexuality and this can be seen throughout his poetry. Often using metaphors of nature to explore sexuality and the repression of it. This can be seen in Blake’s poem Ah! Sun-Flower, The Lily and My Pretty Rose Tree.

    In Ah! Sun-Flower, the sun-flower can be seen as a metaphor for sexuality. The bright and fruitful connotations of a sun-flower suggest a positive attitude towards sex whereas ‘the pale virgin shrouded in snow’ suggests infertility and a lack of positive growth. In this poem, the sun can be seen to represent sexual desire, and as the sun-flower reaches towards the sun, and so follows its desire, it grows and prospers. The ‘pale virgin’ is an important image because it relates the popular fashion of pale skin in the 18th century, which showed that you were wealthy, and remained always inside. However the sun-flower, who by its nature is always outside, shows a sense of exploration and a break from conformity and fashion. Desire is, as the poem says ‘the traveller’s journey’, likening sex to exploration and learning and so suggesting that there is more to sex than the physical connotations.

    The ‘sweet golden clime’ also suggests that sexuality is an experience to enjoy. The word ‘clime’ shows that it is not about instantaneous gratification but the experience of love and lust. The word ‘golden’ here shows how sexuality can lead to prosperity, though not a material prosperity. The sun-flower as a metaphor also suggests this because sunflowers produce a wealth of seeds and are therefore considered to be fruitful, this contrasts to the repression of sexuality, which has connotations with death.

    Blake uses cold imagery to depict the repression of sexuality compared with the bright imagery used to depict free sexuality. This is in the form of the ‘pale Virgin shrouded in snow’ who ‘arise from their graves’. This goes to say that by repressing sexuality you repress a form of life, and restrict life to the extent that you loose your vitality. The line ‘Arise from their graves, and aspire, Where my Sun-flower wishes to go’ suggests that by embracing sexuality you embrace life. Despite the conventions of his age, where repression of sexuality and virtue were valued, Blake says the opposite, and even goes so far as to say that repression of sexuality can lead to aggressiveness and anger.

    This is illustrated in Blake’s poem, ‘The Lilly’. ‘The modest Rose puts forth a thorn’ shows how in virtue we become not purer, but more vicious and protective. This is shown by the harsh syllable sounds of ‘thorn’ and ‘horn’, which blemish the otherwise beautiful Rose and innocent ‘Sheep’. Here, repression of sexuality is further illustrated by a ‘stain’ or a ‘threat’, and so says that the repression of sexuality is un-natural, like a ‘stain’, it is added or a human mistake.

    In giving ‘Love’ a capital letter, it states its power and presence in the poem and therefore it’s importance. Love therefore, like God (in Blake’s belief) is in us all and should be embraced. By directly associating love and lust, lust then becomes more pure. The trochaic metre of the first two lines creates a monotonous and ominous tone that illustrates the harshness and aggression of a life without sexuality, but when Blake moves on to talk about the ‘Lilly’ who in ‘love delight[s]’ the rhythm changes to an anapaestic metre, showing the spontaneity of lust by creating a freer and more positive rhythm. Whilst this poem explores positive connotations of free sexuality, Blake’s poem ‘My Pretty Rose Tree’ explores another aspect.

    ‘My Pretty Rose Tree’ , unlike the other poems approaches the subject of fidelity and monogamy. The ‘flower’ here represents a sexual advancement. Since it is only one flower, it has negative connotations compared with the ‘Rose tree’ since it suggests that it is plucked and some day will wither. It also suggests that the flower, being only one, offers only an aspect of sexuality, however the fuller ‘Rose tree’ shows how sexuality is far more complex than the simple exchange of physical love. The metaphor of the tree suggests an aspect of nurture and care that a flower does not need. The anapaestic trimeter of this poem would suggest a gentle and carefree attitude towards sexuality but could also have connotations of stability, since the rhythm is consistent, bar one line. There is however a negative aspect within this poem. This poem explores the negative emotions related to the exploration of sexuality, whereby, it encourages jealously. The persona, who turns down the advancement with kindness, to tend to his Rose tree ‘by day and by night’ is met with jealously, and although we can see the strength of his affection by the line ‘And her thorns were her only delight’, he is still scorned, and so in search of any human emotion clings to the ‘thorns’. This shows a negative aspect of free sexuality in that it in itself can cause problems however, generally, Blake feels positively about this notion of open sexuality.

    In all three poems, Blake uses nature as a metaphor for sexuality. By using flowers he gives positive and beautiful connotations to sex. The use of nature goes to show that free sexuality is a natural human aspect and so should be embraced as such. We see in each poem how the repression of sexuality can have negative connotations such as aggression. Generally, sex in Blake’s poems can be seen as something positive and natural, compared with the negativity of repression.
    Thank you very much. I love reading other people's essays, kind of gives a guide /structure to my own one. :]
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    (Original post by Bright)
    Thank you very much. I love reading other people's essays, kind of gives a guide /structure to my own one. :]
    no problem! glad it was helpful!
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    Does anyone have any sample Donne essays they could post here?
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    Anybody know where we can find critic quotes for The Tempest and Dr Faustus?

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    Here is another, not so good as the last but maybe helpful to get an idea. You can see my teachers feedback at the bottom which shows where it might have fallen down a bit!

    Rather than simply delighting us with the beauty of nature, some poems seem primarily designed to teach us important moral lessons.




    William Blake often rejoices in the power and beauty of nature, and simply writes to admire and to rejoice in nature however sometimes, Blake’s poems about nature do have a greater meaning and do not serve simply to admire. Blake sees nature as having been abused by humanity, and Blake’s poems Introduction (E) and Earth’s Answer (E) explore the distress of the earth using techniques such as personification and dialogue. This contrasts to the peaceful connection between nature and humanity seen in The Ecchoing Green (I) and in Edward Thomas’s Out in the Dark.

    Blake’s poem The Ecchoing Green (I) serves to admire the serenity and kindness of nature and also the kindness of people attitudes towards it. The title itself shows how nature is an eternal force which continues to provide both to the ‘old folk’ and to ‘the little ones’. Blake’s choice to spell ‘Ecchoing’ with two ‘c’s illustrates this idea of repetition. This gives an image of nature as being a nurturing force of kindness. There is also a great sense of unity expressed in the poem, shown by the line ‘The Sun does arise,/ And make happy the skies’, which shows us how nature itself aims to create a wealth of happiness, simply for the sake of happiness, and therefore delighting us with the beauty of nature. The enjambment evokes this sense of happiness, and more importantly, continued happiness by showing how it continues, from line to line, un-stopped and therefore unpunctuated. The sense of nature as a protecting force is shown by the line; ‘Sitting under the oak,/ among the old folk’. It shows how nature both provides a place of play for the young and protection for the old. Unity is once more expressed by the line ‘among’ which gives the poem a feeling of togetherness. Unity is further expressed by the line; ‘round the laps of their mothers’. The word lap shows a cyclical happiness, which continues, much like the cyclical nature of life and death. This poem therefore shows not only a celebration of nature but a celebration of life itself. Nature simply acts as a representation of the joys of life and is a tool used to show the positive nature of the world. This poem aims to embrace all that is good in nature and so perhaps deeper meaning is surpassed. It attempts to celebrate the way in which nature and humanity work together. This sense of unity is also shown in Edward Thomas’s poem Out of the Dark.

    Thomas, who wrote primarily during the war, and who therefore one might assume might focus solely on the horror and the difficulty of this time, surprisingly finds the beauty in the world. This sense of unity that can also be found in Blake’s poem, is also seen in Out of the Dark. ‘And star and I and wind and deer’, the repeated use of the word ‘and’ connects each of the beings and entities mentioned in this poem to show that they are connected. It would be easy to bypass the mention of ‘I’, because the line seems to describe nature as a whole. By involving himself in this nature, Thomas embraces nature, and the beauty of it. This line is followed by the line ‘and all else is drowned’, showing the comfort Thomas goes on to feel in nature, similarly to the protection that nature offers in Ecchoing Green in the form of the ‘oak’.

    In contrast to the unity explored in Ecchoing Green, Introduction (E) explores a darker theme. This poem focus’s on the troubled relationship between nature (signified by the earth) and humanity. Its main focus is the way in which humanity abuses nature. Blake’s very liberal views held equality with the highest regard. It was important to Blake that everyone should be equal, and one could, perhaps, therefore assume that Blake did not feel that nature should be left out of this. The distress of nature is shown by this line; ‘And fallen, fallen light renew’. Blake uses the same idea of a repetitive action as he did in Ecchoing Green, yet this time it is a repeated abuse of natures giving spirit. This is illustrated by the repetition of the word ‘fallen’. Which reinforces the pain felt by nature. Similarly the iambic foot of this line creates a heavy beat giving the line a harsh tone to replicate the literal image of humanity striking at the earth. The use of dialogue in this is important because it shows which character is the most dominant, this being the ‘Bard’. Whilst some may argue that since Blake uses the image of the Bard to depict humanity, this could not be a negative poem, simply because Blake is a poet himself, yet one might distinguish between a ‘Bard’ and a ‘poet’ such as Blake. Given Blake’s dislike of authority, the fact that a poet is put in such a specific role as the Bard, might to Blake seem distasteful, since one could easily imagine that he saw himself as a ‘free spirit’ and thusly free from a specific role. This negative role of the Bard is shown by the fact that only the Bard speaks, making the earth seem weakened or distressed. Not only is the dialogue unreturned but also is spoken in command, shown by the punctuation such as exclamation marks and full stops, which break up the natural flow of a poem. Despite the positive imagery within the poem such as ‘starry’ and ‘dewy grass’, this poem does not, like The Ecchoing Green, aim to depict simply beauty but is a moral lesson, which illustrates the way in which Blake sees humanities misuse of the earth. Similarly, in Thomas’s poem, there is use of positive imagery, yet there is a darker meaning, as one might expect from a war poet.

    The use of cold imagery sets the tone for the poem, which is primarily one of darkness. Words such as ‘snow’ and ‘slow’ symbolise a harsh surrounding. Similarly the image of the ‘fallen fawns’ which ‘invisible go’ create a sense of loneliness. This poem describes the more frightening elements of nature, that despite the comfort of the ‘deer’, creates an eeriness. Yet it is essentially the human aspect of this poem, which removes Thomas’s sense of discomfort-‘ when the lamp goes… all else is drowned’. This line goes to say that despite the cold elements of nature in which there is still some beauty (such as the stars) it is not at all as traumatic as the human impact, represented by the vanishing light. This suggests that though nature may be harsh and unwelcoming, the disregard of humanity towards the figure of the poem is much more damaging. So, very similarly in Blake’s The Ecchoing Green, nature in some ways provides a comfort that humanity cannot. This poem uses both humanity and nature to show the world as a cold and discomforting place. This is not dissimilar to Blake’s Earth’s Answer, which continues to describe the deliberate conflict between earth and humanity.

    This poem acts as a second part to Introduction (E) in that it is a direct response from the earth to the Bard and therefore humanity. Particularly poignant is the line ‘I hear the Father of the ancient men./ Selfish father of men!’ The iambic pentameter works in a similar way as it does in Introduction in that it helps to convey this sense of anger by metrically emphasising each second syllable to create a harsh effect. Furthermore the monosyllabic adjectives such as ‘cruel’, ‘jealous’, ‘selfish’ and ‘vain’ illustrate the anger by creating cutting words, which, since they are on their own, seem raw and emphasise the pain. This poem goes to say that humanity has treated nature cruel. It is in a sense a very modern poem because it reflects the guilt we feel now about the way the earths resources have been taken. Blake uses flower imagery to depict the innocence and beauty of the earth; ‘buds and blossoms’. This image contrasts heavily to the harsh, singular words used to describe humanity. The alliteration of ‘buds and blossoms’ creates a sense of calm because of the ease at which it can be read whereas the emphasis on punctuation such as exclamation marks in the last stanza make the poem stilted, showing the disruption and suffering.

    Whilst some of Blake’s poetry only aims to explore beauty, there lies a deeper meaning in much of his poetry. Introduction and Earth’s Answer are key examples of this. They reflect the Romantic view of the time within the arts, and follow a line that nature is something passionate. More specifically for Blake however, it is a representation of God. It questions the Urizen like image that was more common at the time, and might suggest that nature is God in some way, making the people of the time, question their attitudes towards nature, given at this time entertainment such as bear baiting existed. This poetry, given fears of global warming, can be incredibly relevant to a modern day audience, showing that Blake’s message is a universal one which has a resonating impact upon his readers. Equally, Thomas reflects this mood of poetry, which simultaneously explores beauty and other more serious issues.

    Basically very strong especially in comparison / AO3 and close reading AO2
    Very well informed
    Perhaps a little light on Blake’s context as a Romantic poet? The question goes to the heart of their dual attention to nature and society…
    Quite challenging poems to pick – what about The Tyger which is much more than a natural image??
    Check accuracy especially sentencing
    Lots of A / Band 4 features but probably still a bit borderline….
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    how many critics are people going to include for either essay?
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    (Original post by don_lad_)
    how many critics are people going to include for either essay?
    I've been told we don't need to actually include critics, just different interpretations, so for example, ' Whilst some may see Blake's poem 'Eccohing Green' as a wholly positive, others may interpret the last stanza as having a negative aspect' or 'some may consider the role of Prospero as good whilst others may seen him as being corrupt and power hungry', or even, in one interpretation of the play, Sebastien is play by a women etcetc. Sorry if this doesn't directly answer your question, though thought I would mention it as many seem to be talking about critics, even though I don't think we need to know them by name for this paper, although I suppose it doesn't hurt!

    In direct answer to your question, I would probably, in an ideal world, I'll probably try an put one in for every point, for both the unseen and chosen poetry, and main and subtext, so perhaps 6 points overall.
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    (Original post by christacrisp)
    I've been told we don't need to actually include critics, just different interpretations, so for example, ' Whilst some may see Blake's poem 'Eccohing Green' as a wholly positive, others may interpret the last stanza as having a negative aspect' or 'some may consider the role of Prospero as good whilst others may seen him as being corrupt and power hungry', or even, in one interpretation of the play, Sebastien is play by a women etcetc. Sorry if this doesn't directly answer your question, though thought I would mention it as many seem to be talking about critics, even though I don't think we need to know them by name for this paper, although I suppose it doesn't hurt!

    In direct answer to your question, I would probably, in an ideal world, I'll probably try an put one in for every point, for both the unseen and chosen poetry, and main and subtext, so perhaps 6 points overall.
    oh ok fair. yeah i'm probably going to put a couple in either essay so i can agree with one and disagree with another/hopefully use two critics who disagree with one another to show that i've done loads of ''wider reading'' (lol).

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