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For this 5-7 page paper (1,250-1,750 words) you will discuss a play’s theme(s) through an analysis of the trajectory of a single character.
First, choose a play we’ve read in class which you’d like to examine more closely: A Midsummer Night’s Dream, Henry V, or Hamlet.
Then, choose a theme or a few themes that stood out to you. Is it the fickle nature of romantic love, the trials of middle-aged marriage, and/or the embarrassment of lust in AMND? Is it the controversy of war, the psychological power of patriotism, and/or social class in Henry V? Is it the moral question of revenge, the intellectual question of existential dread, and/or the depiction of women in Hamlet?
Next, choose a character– one and only only one– whose trajectory in the drama shows these themes. Discuss the character at the beginning, middle, and end of his/her appearance in the play. How is the character first introduced? What happens to him or her? What changes happen within the character’s mind and heart? What conflicts does the character have? How does he or she overcome them, or is undone by them? What are the character’s final moments in the play?
Now write your thesis statement, which answers this question in a sentence or two: How does the character develop, and how does such development generate the theme(s) your paper will discuss?
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