Opinions on this GCSE English Literature essay?

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FlamingMangoes
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Hi. Can I have some opinions on this English Literature essay I put together? Any feedback would be greatly appreciated.

'Juliet Essay'

Firstly, Shakespeare utilizes Juliet as a vehicle with which to critique the impulsive nature of young love. Secondly, Juliet is presented in such a way as to challenge the patriarchal views present in Elizabethan England. Finally, Shakespeare employs the character of Juliet in such a way as to satirize the arguably fickle and capricious love presented in the text.

Shakespeare utilizes Juliet as a vehicle with which to critique the impulsive nature of young love. Oxymorons are employed consistently by Juliet throughout the text, alluding to the pent-up frustration and confusion that is present as a result of her foolish, albeit powerful love. This is evident from Juliet’s description of Romeo as a ‘Beautiful tyrant’ and a ‘Dove feathered raven’, The adjective ‘beautiful’ is used regularly throughout the text within Juliet’s lustful descriptions of Romeo. This alludes to the rash judgements made on the basis of looks as opposed to the ‘spiritual’. The oxymoron ‘dove-feathered raven’ connotes both life and death respectively, and foreshadows Juliet’s ultimate demise. Such impulse is present during the extract, where Juliet references Phaeton, the son of Phoebus, by saying that ‘Phaeton would whip you to the west.’ The noun ‘whip’ bears connotations of slavery, which could perhaps be alluding to the fact that Juliet is a ‘slave’ to love. Oxymorons are also present, an example of this being ‘Whiter than new snow on a raven’s back.’ Again, the image of death is present.

Juliet is presented in such a way as to challenge the patriarchal views present in Elizabethan England. In reference to Romeo, she exclaims ‘Oh for a falconer’s voice,’ with the image of a falconer bearing connotations of ownership. This strongly juxtaposes what would usually be the case in Elizabethan England, where the husband would, for the most part, essentially own his wife. Saying that she does not possess the falconer’s voice could perhaps represent self-awareness in regards to her situation, in knowing that men have their opinions taken into account, due to them having the ‘Falconer’s voice’. ‘Such a wagoner as Phaeton would whip you to the west,’ could perhaps be Juliet comparing herself to the Greek god. A comparison of herself to a male figure suggests that she is defying the gender stereotypes, and is on par with any other man. In addition, Juliet calls for Romeo to ‘come’. This imperative verb further reinforces the fact that she is defying gender norms, as such language would mostly only be expected of the male figure in the relationship.

Shakespeare employs the character of Juliet in such a way as to satirize the arguably fickle and capricious love presented in the text. This can be inferred from the metaphor ‘Spread thy close curtain,’ which Juliet utilizes to talk about the night. The image of a curtain bears connotations of theatricality, which Shakespeare perhaps uses in such a way as to compare the way in which Juliet dramatizes her love to that of a playhouse or theatre. When discussing Romeo, Juliet references death repeatedly throughout the text, an example of which being ‘Whiter than new snow on a raven’s back.’ The powerful allusion to death in conjunction with the fact the Juliet has not even known Romeo for a week infers how preposterous the whole affair is.

I believe that Juliet’s main purpose (as intended by Shakespeare) was to simultaneously critique and satirize young love. Although she defies the gender expectations present in the Elizabethan aristocracy, her demise at the end of the text perhaps suggests that she would have been better off obeying her father’s wishes.
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studygirl388
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This is a great essay with lots of strong analysis of quotes and key words with the use of relevant technical literary terms. Great use of embedded quotes specifically. The essay reads nicely overall and the language you use to describe what you are analysing is pleasing.

I honestly can't pick out anything major to critique. If we're going to be picky, I'd say maybe try not to repeat the word 'utilize' too much. But again, that's just being picky and I doubt it would really affect your grade. Otherwise, keep up the great work.

Good luck with your GCSEs!

(For reference, I got a grade 7 in GCSE English literature)
Last edited by studygirl388; 6 months ago
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MetellaInAtrio
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This is a very well written essay. Great use of embedded quotations, terminology and very thorough analysis. The points all link together in a sophisticated way, presenting a very strong case for your argument. You should be very proud of your work!

That being said, the one thing I did notice was the use of context. You could make your writing flow even better if you incorporated context into the 1st and 3rd paragraphs, for example about love and romance, so it is spaced out more regularly rather than all in the middle.

However, this is still a very strong piece of work and honestly it comes down to your personal preference what you choose to do as it is a small detail in an overall very good essay.

Good luck!
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