Students will write an essay comparing the plays Othello and Hedda Gabler. The focus of the essay should utilize one of the five topics below:
1. Contrast the different degrees of deception and control committed by Iago and Hedda
2. Analyze the different levels of gullibility and manipulation of Roderigo and George Tesman
3. Contrast the varying weaknesses and character flaws of Cassio and Lovborg
4. Analyze the meekness and naïveté of Desdemona and Mrs. Elvsted
5. Contrast the two suicides of Othello and Hedda (motivations, meanings, contexts of the actions, etc)
1. Essay must be typed, effectively titled, double-spaced, and at least 1250 words; essays may exceed 1250 words (to a max of 1500), but fewer than 1250 words will result in a penalty (2 points will be deducted for every 100 words essay falls sort of 1250 or exceeds 1500 words)
2. Essay must establish a clear argumentative thesis using one of the topics above; essays focusing on something other than an eligible topic above will incur a 20% penalty
3. Essay must include sufficient textual references to relevant passages from both plays equally; insufficient references to the plays will result in 5-10% penalty, while a 15% penalty will occur if no references are present
4. Essay must be submitted as an attached Word Document (DOCX) or a PDF file; it may not be typed or pasted into the Submission box (doing so will result in a 10% penalty and required re-submission)
5. Essay must begin with the following header in the upper left corner; any missing elements will result in a 5% penalty:
Date of submission
Your Unique Essay Title (followed by the topic number in parenthesis)
Keep in mind…
Argumentative essays are only effective if the argument being made actually needs to be made. In other words, it is unacceptable to argue something that no reasonable person would disagree with (like proposing that April follows March). While it may be a fair statement, one could not claim the thesis that “Cassio and Lovborg both have difficulties handling their alcohol.” That statement would be inarguable because no intelligent reader would be able to deny that it was true. Likewise, to claim that “Hedda and Iago both manipulated and deceived the other characters” would also be obvious and would not qualify as a thesis. This too would be considered a reasonable conclusion that any reader would draw about the characters.
Additional to the student’s analysis and opinions about the plays, all papers must cite at least two critical secondary sources (found via EBSCOHOST, JSTOR, or another reputable critical database.) Be aware that plot summaries are not secondary sources and will not be acceptable. Students are not permitted to use Wikipedia, Spark Notes, eNotes, or other non-scholarly materials. Correct MLA style of documentation is required, including correct in-text citations and a separate works cited page(equating to 25% of the assignment value).
NOTE: Unlike all other assignments eligible for partial credit if submitted within seven days of the deadline, this 1250-word essay is not eligible for any partial credit if submitted late and, therefore, may not be submitted after the posted deadline for any reason. Once the deadline passes, students who had not submitted their assignment will receive a zero.
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