Messrs. Burns & Coon
Paper Assignment: Close reading of a scene
TOPIC: Choose a scene from The Merchant of Venice for a close reading. Once you have chosen your scene, look carefully at the dialogue and language in order to draw conclusions about the importance and meaning of the scene.
CHARACTER ANALYSIS: Look for evidence of the characters’ deepest motives, the nature of their relationships with each other, the existence of any doubts or inner conflicts, how the play helps us understand their wishes and desires, how Shakespeare steers our sympathies as audience either in favor of or against specific characters.
STYLE & LANGUAGE: As you identify the key aspects of the scene, also make mention of how the language itself furthers the scene. How do particular words, images, and metaphors help bring out the desired effect and enhance the meaning of key aspects of the scene.
LENGTH: 2 ½ to 3 pages (approximately 800 words), typed, double spaced, 12 point serif font, one-inch margins all around.
RESOURCES: None, please. Read your scene several times, making notes of the patterns you identify as you go, then write your paper solely from those notes.
DUE: Thursday, January 31 (day 6 schedule) Turnitin.com title: Merchant of Venice scene study.
Your other final assignment for this play is to select a monolog (20+ lines) or dialog (40+ lines) to perform dramatically. It's not a requirement that your performance choice come from the scene you discuss in your paper, but the two assignments could certainly be linked. We will give you more information, and time to work on both assignments, during Tuesday's class.