:( A2 English Lit coursework.. help :( Watch

Karlisha12
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okay so, I have a 3000 word essay for English Lit, this is my question:

Compare and contrast the presentation of power in William Shakespeare's 'Othello', Arthur Miller's 'The Crucible' and Geoffrey Chaucer's 'The Wife of Bath's Prologue and Tale'.

I'm kinda struggling with what to say about the authors, like how do i talk about how Shakespeare created Iago's personality traits you know? And is it best to have separate paragraphs for each text or weave them in?

so many questions!
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The Empire Odyssey
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(Original post by Karlisha12)
okay so, I have a 3000 word essay for English Lit, this is my question:

Compare and contrast the presentation of power in William Shakespeare's 'Othello', Arthur Miller's 'The Crucible' and Geoffrey Chaucer's 'The Wife of Bath's Prologue and Tale'.

I'm kinda struggling with what to say about the authors, like how do i talk about how Shakespeare created Iago's personality traits you know? And is it best to have separate paragraphs for each text or weave them in?

so many questions!
Definitely, under no circumstance write about your texts separately. That will not even get you into Band 2! You need to weave your texts in each paragraph as one of the most marks will come from AO3 which is comparing texts for connections.

I've only studied Othello so I can give you help on that. Do you have you main three points that you will be writing about?

For example my A2 essay was "Explore the corruption of morality and it's consequences in Othello, Picture of Dorian Gray and Enduring Love". Something like that anyway. My three points were 1. Reason for corruption (Iago's jealousy of not having the position of being in command of an army (or something), 2. Effect of corruption on that character or others (Othello's paranoia, his abuse to Desdemona 3. The consequences of corruption and morality (Death of Othello and Desdemona and Iago still lives). That's how I did it. Get three points and get quotes from each text.

You are studying a character, not a person. You must see the character as a literary figure and not as if you are doing a psychological character profile. You are examining the literature merit of Iago's actions of power which effect's the play's outcome drastically. So what he does: acts and says: and how themes correspond to this. So you have his manipulative side where he is always by Othello's side whispering things into his ear, making this and that up to break Othello's "armour" and this could be symbolised as Iago being the devil's advocate, it creates an alarming figure that Iago will stand by and get into people's head and break them down for his own hedonistic pleasure. From showing this, you can then link this to how this is shown as powerful. Then you can bring in context with what Elizabethan society thought of religion (the devil, temptation, deadly sins) etc etc. That's A04 which plays a bigger part at A2 level.

You should have 2 core texts (one will be the Shakespeare) and the 2nd one will be up to you and then the 3rd text with be your partnered text which you will use as a reference on how the 3rd text has illuminated your response and understanding of the other 2 texts you discuss is way more critical detail. Also to get high, high marks defo use critical analysis theories and see what critics say. You can use this for alternative interpretation which is A03 (I think) which will also be useful if you have nothing else to say about your point, get a quote from a critic in to help it develop/end your point. You will get so many marks for this.

Hope I've helped.
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alishahussain832
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(Original post by The Empire Odyssey)
Definitely, under no circumstance write about your texts separately. That will not even get you into Band 2! You need to weave your texts in each paragraph as one of the most marks will come from AO3 which is comparing texts for connections.

I've only studied Othello so I can give you help on that. Do you have you main three points that you will be writing about?

For example my A2 essay was "Explore the corruption of morality and it's consequences in Othello, Picture of Dorian Gray and Enduring Love". Something like that anyway. My three points were 1. Reason for corruption (Iago's jealousy of not having the position of being in command of an army (or something), 2. Effect of corruption on that character or others (Othello's paranoia, his abuse to Desdemona 3. The consequences of corruption and morality (Death of Othello and Desdemona and Iago still lives). That's how I did it. Get three points and get quotes from each text.

You are studying a character, not a person. You must see the character as a literary figure and not as if you are doing a psychological character profile. You are examining the literature merit of Iago's actions of power which effect's the play's outcome drastically. So what he does: acts and says: and how themes correspond to this. So you have his manipulative side where he is always by Othello's side whispering things into his ear, making this and that up to break Othello's "armour" and this could be symbolised as Iago being the devil's advocate, it creates an alarming figure that Iago will stand by and get into people's head and break them down for his own hedonistic pleasure. From showing this, you can then link this to how this is shown as powerful. Then you can bring in context with what Elizabethan society thought of religion (the devil, temptation, deadly sins) etc etc. That's A04 which plays a bigger part at A2 level.

You should have 2 core texts (one will be the Shakespeare) and the 2nd one will be up to you and then the 3rd text with be your partnered text which you will use as a reference on how the 3rd text has illuminated your response and understanding of the other 2 texts you discuss is way more critical detail. Also to get high, high marks defo use critical analysis theories and see what critics say. You can use this for alternative interpretation which is A03 (I think) which will also be useful if you have nothing else to say about your point, get a quote from a critic in to help it develop/end your point. You will get so many marks for this.

Hope I've helped.
I was just wondering if you could help me as I am currently doing my English coursework too on a topic similar to yours and on similar texts.

I am basing my essay on The Picture of Dorian Gray, Othello and The Great Gatsby. And my question is basically along the lines of "Compare and contrast the presentation of immorality in the texts". Although, I am not sure whether the question has to be more specific than this.
Anyway, my points were: 1) Immorality in society 2) Immoral people and their effects on the protagonists and 3) The cause of immorality in the protagonists (so whether it was their personal vices which caused their tragedy or whether it was society's influences). Though, I am thinking of changing the last point to something like the effects of immorality on the protagonists.

So I was just wondering whether you could give me any pointers which may help me because you did a similar theme and texts. I am really worried that my points aren't related to my question and that there isn't really a process and argument. Also, my teacher said to include a counter argument. So I was just wondering what your one was, if you had one?
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The Empire Odyssey
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(Original post by alishahussain832)
I was just wondering if you could help me as I am currently doing my English coursework too on a topic similar to yours and on similar texts.

I am basing my essay on The Picture of Dorian Gray, Othello and The Great Gatsby. And my question is basically along the lines of "Compare and contrast the presentation of immorality in the texts". Although, I am not sure whether the question has to be more specific than this.
Anyway, my points were: 1) Immorality in society 2) Immoral people and their effects on the protagonists and 3) The cause of immorality in the protagonists (so whether it was their personal vices which caused their tragedy or whether it was society's influences). Though, I am thinking of changing the last point to something like the effects of immorality on the protagonists.

So I was just wondering whether you could give me any pointers which may help me because you did a similar theme and texts. I am really worried that my points aren't related to my question and that there isn't really a process and argument. Also, my teacher said to include a counter argument. So I was just wondering what your one was, if you had one?
Why don't you shape your question on something like: "To what extent is society responsible for the immoral/corruption of the individuals presented in the works of Measure for Measure, The Picture of Dorian Gray and The Great Gatsby?" (this way you have an argument for looking at society as a whole. Then your counter argument could be not the society, but the antagonist (Henry, Iago and Tom).

Points: 1) The society and the individual. Othello is a black/dark-tanned man in a white, male dominated society - theme(s): racial issues and prejudice. Dorian is an innocent young (17-18) boy looking to delve into the mysterious, complex and dangerous adult world that is the aristocracy of Victorian society - theme(s): societies blacklash on young people (innocence), social pecking order of Victorian society. Gatsby - he is stupidly and pointlessly dashes and "burns" his money away on pointless parties that doesn't mean anything in the time of the Great Depression - theme(s): a lost generation, and consumerism in 1920s America.

2) Immorality/corruption in society shown through the antagonists. Iago and his evil, manipulating and backstabbing behaviour that he manages to infest and deceive most characters. Theme is again, racial issues, and jealousy. Dorian Gray we see that the how far the aristocrats can go into their philosophy. (You will have to look into the type of philosophy Wilde is on about. Also The Hellfire Club is a good one to look into as Henry belongs to this radical group). (Only briefly read Gatsby a few years back. So you will have to link this on your own).

3) Consequences of immorality/corruption upon the individual. Because of Iago, Desdemona is murdered, Othello commits suicide and the biggest irony of them all is the fact that Iago is still alive! Theme: deception. For Dorian Gray, he basically begins to lose his mind (we see a change (i think) when he reads Sybil has committed suicide. This taints him. Also he kills Basil too :/ Then ultimately he kills himself. Theme: appearance vs reality, lost innocence and fall from grace. Gatsby ends up being shot doesn't he? Erm so you have materialism that has ultimately got Gatsby to that way and his failed American Dream too.

Hope this helps
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JackS94
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You could definitely get in a paragraph about female influence.
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The Empire Odyssey
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(Original post by monurhussen)
Compare and contrast how Shakespeare, McEwan and Chaucer present their male protagonists in the 'Taming of the Shrew', 'Atonement' and 'The Miller's Prologue and Tale'
Need some talking points, almost giving up
I don't think I would be much help as I've only read Atonement! :/
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xatican
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Iago is the most intelligent and socially powerful person in his world. This is fairly obvious, but he is also a nihilist, believing in nothing - a trait unusual among psychopaths since many of them are narcissists and believe that they should possess all of the power. This is likely due to his military background and/or his class since in both he would be made to bow down to his superiors and ascension is almost impossible without exceptional circumstances, leading to desensitisation. The contrast to this however is Othello. He was of the same or lower class as Iago within Venetian society (Yes I know he says he was royal back in his country, but he isn't there for the entirety of the play, so its irrelevant) yet rose to power and fame through his skills as a leader, something that a true psychopath like Iago would not be able to do. This gives Othello the kind of power that Iago can only dream of - an insult further compounded by Iago's Xenophobia, since it was a Moroccan and later a Florentine (Cassio) that outrank him - and motivates him to use his knowledge as an insider in Venice to destroy Othello and Cassio.More than this however, the most traditionally powerful people in the play (Brabantio, the Duke, the Senators etc...) do not get a lot of stage time, and when they do it is just to contrast the relative power of the other characters. For example. In 1-3 the duke and Brabantio both heavily outrank Othello and he is forced to abandon his traditional source of power (combat/leadership) and instead engage them on their terms (wordplay), yet he still wins by using tactics that a Venetian would never think of, like treating Desdemona as her own person and acting humble by playing down his own power. Iago meanwhile (who has orchestrated the whole conflict) does not get any lines until after everyone else has left, but when he does speak, it is about his own philosophy and Othello. He pays no mind to the upper class at all, and to someone who sees the world through the lens of money or power, to do this means that he dosent see them as people who could possibly stop him, thus proving his power over them. Iago is able to operate anywhere. This is his real strength. Everyone else is effected by the environment of their company. Iago is not.Shakespeare presents this overwhelming power subtly (like Iago himself) and never puts Iago in a situation where he both socially and intellectually superior to his partner in fact, the only time he is outwitted is by Emilia right at the end, and that is only because he assumed her loyalty to her husband (see psychopathy). This means there is never an instance when Iago can lose outright (when he does, it is something like 6 vs 1 with people from multiple classes and backgrounds), thus giving him ALL the power.
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