Prompts for Short Analytical Essay
Norton Anthology of English Literature: The Major Authors, ed. Stephen Greenblatt et al, 9th ed.
(New York: Norton, 2013)
William Shakespeare, King Lear (Recommended edition: The Arden Shakes-peare, 3rd series, Thomas Nelson and Sons, Ltd.)
John Milton, Paradise Lost (Recommended: Random House (The Modern Library Paperback Editions, eds. Kerrigan, Rumrich, Fallon)
Prompts for Short Analytical Essay #1
Choose one of the following options and compose a 2-3 page essay according to the prompt; be sure to make use of concrete textual details. See the MLA formatting document on Blackboard for additional information.
Format: 2-3 pages, MLA style citation, 12 pt. Times New Roman Font, 1”margins.
Option 1 (Analytical): Lanval
What is the attitude toward “courtly love” in this work? Which characters represent that tradition? In traditional “courtly love,” a knight performs feats of valor for a lady he loves who is generally not his wife. He aspires to win her love by proving his worthiness, chivalric merit, etc. through “love service”—doing her will and trying to help her and be worthy of her regardless of her treatment of him.
How is courtly love portrayed in Lanval? Is the portrayal typical, or does it disrupt conventions? If so, how?
Option 2 (Analytical): The Dream of the Rood
Analyze the attitudes of the Rood and the Dreamer in this poem. Are the similar or different? Do they undergo a change through the course of the poem? How do they interact with one another and how does their interaction structure the work?
Option 3 (Analytical): The Franklin’s Tale
The Franklin’s Tale is an example of a Breton lai, a short narrative genre with romance-like characteristics of which the best known are the Lais of Marie de France (e.g. Lanval ).These vernacular poems were decidedly secular, frequently contained supernatural or fairy-tale elements, and most often were concerned with male/female love relationships. Why might the Franklin have chosen this sort of tale? (Consider such things as: his station in life, social class, profession, personality traits).
Option 4 (Creative): Lanval
Write the opening stanzas (minimum of 3) to medieval chivalric romance based on figures from current pop culture. Follow the style and sensibility of Lanval or The Franklin’s Tale/Wife of Bath’s Tale/Clerk’s Tale (i.e., same relative stanza length, octosyllabic verse, etc.)
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