In 2-3 pages offer a close reading of a poetic form or feature depicting, invoking or drawing upon any aspect of nature or ideas of the ‘natural’ in the poems or plays studied to date. You might choose to write about a symbolically dense image or phrase and unpack its textures by considering its historical, mythological, or other discursive resonances. You might consider the resonance of seemingly innocuous or inconspicuous words or phrases that nonetheless strike you as suggestive in unobvious ways. Your purpose in this short paper should focus on showing how close attention to a particular linguistic, structural or otherwise formal element –in a single instance (or passage) or a sequence of instances that echo one another – sheds light on key interpretive issues in the poem(s) or play, calling these into focus in ways that are, perhaps, not as clear elsewhere or otherwise.
Process: Type out your passage before you begin to draft. Include this at top of your submitted assignment (doesn’t count towards page limit). Do not cut and paste.
Closely examine Shakespeare’s choice of words, imagery, and metaphors. What formal qualities, features, or rhetorical/poetic devices can you identify at work here?
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Figures of repetition (thematic and sonic)
Patterns (consistencies and inconsistencies) in rhyme, meter, etc.
Consider the effects of these devices and ask yourself what service Shakespeare seems to put them to. What does scrupulous attention to the text in this place and moment do to reveal aspects of the poem or play (its emotional impact, dramatic structure, historical resonance, etc.) that might go unnoticed on first pass? What new interpretive problems and/or possibilities emerge for our reading of Shakespeare’s natural worlds through this exercise and the close reading of your chosen passage? Instead of looking for evidence to prosecute a ready formed argument, see what new and unexpected insights this close reading yields for you. Having found these, relate them in a well-structured account of this discovery.
Be very specific both in your own word choices and your selection of text. Go deeper and do more with less text! Revise, proof-read for clarity and correct form. Use MLA style for citing your sources.