Assignment 2: Literary Analysis
The major assignment for this week is to compose a 900-word essay on Antigone. In this paper you will write an in-depth analysis using your own ideas and excerpts from the play in the form of quotes, paraphrase, or summary.
As you prepare to write this essay, make sure you understand what you are being asked to do.
Pick a Topic
First, identify a topic in consultation with your instructor or write about one of the following options:
- Antigone clearly scrutinizes the cultural institution of gender, for the play’s debate about the nature of justice and good governance hinges on Antigone’s defiance of the king, making the play one of only a few ancient Greek dramas that put a woman center stage (apologies for the bad pun!). Moreover, there are important moments in the play that underscore its focus on gender inequality. For instance, at one point Creon accuses his son, Haemon, of considering “some women” more important than the rule of law. Creon goes on to complain that Haemon puts Antigone before all others. In another passage, Ismene, invoking the argument that women should obey men, urges Antigone to submit to Creon. Examine representations of gender and the gender conflict in Antigone in detail.
- Scholarship developed from the nineteenth century through the present offers multiple interpretations of Antigone’s character. One of the abiding questions about her is whether her desire to bury Polyneices properly is political or if her defiance of the king is motivated, as she claims, solely by divine edict. Advocates of the first position see her as “speaking truth to power” as she engages in civil disobedience. But scholars who support the second explanation tend to consider Antigone’s concerns as primarily domestic—about her family—rather than political. Yet another interpretation of Antigone is that she, like so many other figures in ancient Greek drama, is guilty of excessive pride—hubris—as she tries to impose divine law on Creon.
Develop a character analysis of Antigone. You may argue for or against one of the positions stated above or you may take another direction. One thing to consider in your discussion is whether she is successful despite her suicide.
Develop a Tentative Thesis
As you consider different options for your thesis:
- Develop a few hypotheses about the text that are based on your own perspectives and relate to the topic that you chose to explore for this assignment.
- In addition to considering the text’s plot, reflect on what genre and other elements of literature (see the online lecture on this topic) reveal about ancient Greek cultures and important philosophies and values associated with this era and region.
- Review the lecture on literary movements and determine if examining other ancient Greek plays, particularly Sophocles’ Oedipus the King and Oedipus at Colonus, can shed light on Antigone and/or test your hypotheses about it.
Gather evidence that is likely to support your tentative thesis. At this point, there is no need to use “outside” sources to complete the essay. You will have an opportunity to do that next week. For now, your evidence should consist of experiential knowledge (what you have learned through life experience) and quotes, paraphrase, or summary from the play’s text.
Next, choose one of the prewriting techniques discussed in chapter 3c, "Invent and Prewrite," of The New Century Handbook and begin prewriting.
Write your rough draft. You are not required to submit it, but you should acquire the habit of writing one for every essay you compose in this and other classes.
Revise and Edit
Proofread the rough draft to ensure:
- The thesis is clear and well focused and the introduction includes all the necessary information.
- The discussion of evidence includes quotes, paraphrase, or summary and synthesizes this material and your ideas.
- The conclusion is appropriate and reinforces the paper's main ideas without repeating the introduction word for word.
- The essay is formatted in APA style throughout. It uses appropriate grammar, spelling and mechanics, and quoted material does not exceed 25% of the paper.
Remember to put headings between paragraphs!
|Due By (Pacific Time)
||07/15/2014 10:00 pm