Swamped with your writing assignments? Take the weight off your shoulder!
Resources and citations: You can consult the Module commentary, the playtexts, or any other resources. However, if you consult or cite sources that are not part of the course material, you must include them in a list of Works Cited (MLA format). For the Module commentary, playtexts, and secondary readings referenced in the Modules, you can just give author last name or short title and page or line numbers in parentheses following your quotation or paraphrase (e.g., Holland, p. …; or Module 3; or Hamlet, 1.3.25). A Works Cited list is not needed if you are only citing these sources. The general idea is that I know where to find citations from the course material, but you need to tell me where else you have gathered your information from.
Part A (40 marks): Answer any two of the following four questions. Each answer is worth 20 marks and should be in the form of a paragraph (100-150 words). llustrate each of your answers with at least one specific example from any of the plays we have studied. The Module commentary has all the information you need to answer these questions. Try to use your own wording to demonstrate that you have understood the topic in your own terms.
What exposure would Shakespeare have had to “global” culture in early modern London?
What can be learned about Shakespeare’s plays by studying the books that he read?
How does Shakespeare represent non-English people in his plays? How would you characterize this “cultural vocabulary of difference”?
At the Globe theatre, what resources were available to actors for staging faraway places?
Tip for Part A: Remember that an effective paragraph is structured like a mini-essay: it should have an opening “topic” sentence, followed by detailed evidence supporting the idea introduced in the topic sentence, and ending with a sentence summarizing the evidence. A good approach would be to answer the question in a single sentence right at the beginning of your paragraph. If you do so, the rest of the paragraph will flow more easily.
Part B (60 marks): Write a short essay (500-600 words) reflecting on the following question.
How has the study of Shakespeare as a global author altered your understanding of his plays? In your essay, refer specifically to at least two of the plays we have studied.
Tip for Part B: A “short essay” on an exam is a scaled-down version of the kind of essay you write for your term papers. It should have an introductory paragraph clearly stating your argument (one or two sentences would be fine), at least three but no more than five supporting paragraphs, and a concluding paragraph (again, one or two sentences would be fine). Remember that this is an exam, not an essay proper, so write clearly, straightforwardly, and with a mind to getting your point across. If you like, give your essay a title.
General tips for a strong exam paper overall:
Composition matters. Spelling, punctuation, and grammar will be considered in grading.
Accuracy matters. Names, dates, places, historical facts, etc. should be correct and complete. (If you’re not sure you have it right, check. Take advantage of the take-home format.)
Detail matters. The more detail you can pack into your paper, the better. The level of detail in your writing demonstrates how well you know the plays, the context, and the performance conditions. Strive for detail; avoid overly general statements.
Formatting matters. Submit text that is double-spaced, in 12-point font, with clear divisions and headlines. Include your name and date on the first page, top left.
Budget your time based on your workload (take-home exams are less scary, but they can be a time-sink), plan your approach, work on the paper over several days, and, if at all possible, enjoy the process. I very much look forward to reading your work. Good luck!
A final thought. Given that this course has been about Shakespeare as a global author, this would be a good time to reflect on where on the globe we are, who has occupied and continues to occupy the land where we live, and who and what has made it possible for us to be where we are, pursuing the privilege of higher education. The issues around place, power, and cultural identity we have been exploring in relation to Shakespeare’s plays are not only alive, but also being lived by us, wherever we are.
PLAYS: Hamlet + The Al-Hamlet Summit (Al-Bassam), Macbeth + Throne of Blood (Kurosawa), The Tempest + A Tempest (Cesaire)