Humane Letters III: Tragedy Essay
LENGTH: Reengage with both Aeschylus’ The Oresteia and Sophocles’ The Three Theban Plays. Essays should be five pages, not including the “Works Cited” page. Your essay may fall short of or exceed the required length by 10% without having marks deducted. No paragraph should be longer than three-quarters of a page.
GRAMMAR/MLA: The paper should be double spaced, Times New Roman, 12-point font, and formatted according to MLA standards. All in-text citations and the “Works Cited” page must comply with rules established in the MLA Handbook, 8th Edition. An in-text citation for a single play notes just the line numbers, for example: (834). Whereas, when quoting multiple plays, alternating between multiple play titles requires the inclusion of the play title, for example: (Agamemnon 834) and (Libation Bearers 720). The teacher will read the final draft for punctuation errors and may turn it back the next day for a 10% deduction in grade (or simply deduct the points in the final grade) if, on average, there are more than two and half errors per page.
INTERESTING QUESTION: Choose an idea from the book that (a) interests you, (b) is interesting (e.g. stable context and destabilizing condition), and (c) is more than a yes/no question. In other words, pick an idea that excites and inspires you to take a deeper look at the text to advance an argument that favors your original, mature, and thoughtful interpretation. For example, I may be interested in determining who Homer thinks bears responsibility for Patroclus’ death and, thus, write a corresponding question. I would then research the text for relevant passages, unravel complexities, formulate an argument that Achilles bears responsibility for his death, and defend that interpretation against alternative interpretations that Apollo, Euphorbus, or Hector bear responsibility.
EXPLORATORY OUTLINE: The exploratory outline is time dedicated to the slot, fluid unravelling of the main question’s complexities and tensions. This can happen through asking essential questions and re-engaging with the author’s answers to these questions. This offers time to reflect on the topic without thinking about the essay. This will include the header, title, interesting question (with stable context and destabilizing condition), initial thesis, four to six essential questions, and citations. This requires a minimum of two full pages of content. No works cited is necessary with this outline.
ARGUMENT OUTLINE: This task primarily concerns the work of argument development: your initial answer to your primary question and the assertions leading you to that conclusion. The exploratory outline’s questions and the argument outline’s main assertions have no necessary connection. In fact, they will likely not correlate. While writing this outline, you may ask yourself questions like the following: Does each assertion develop the argument? Is each assertion precise and comprehensible? How do the other authors’ thoughts interact with these assertions? Does the initial thesis logically follow from these assertions?
INTRODUCTION/CONCLUSION: Introductions must employ either an inquisitive, paradoxical, or narrative tactic. Do not include a grabber or POA. The thesis statement must be the last sentence of this first paragraph. Do not underline your thesis. Conclusions will employ one of the following concluding tactics: new idea, emotional appeal, or tail-biting snake.
QUOTATIONS: Each body paragraph should contain as many textual references as necessary, typically one to three quotations per paragraph. Generally, quotations should be as terse as possible. Integrate often partial quotes to effectively weave the words of the author into one’s own phrasings. When not analyzing some specific aspect of the text’s language, paraphrasing effectively reduces quote overuse. Accordingly, quote with variance employing multiple lead-in forms, thus, avoiding the common overuse of any particular lead-in style, especially block or complete sentences. Quoting long multiple-sentence quotations requires a block formatting and cannot be integrated otherwise. Every quotation needs a lead-in; a quotation never appropriately stands alone. Only occasionally use a colon to introduce a quote, and only with a block or complete sentence.
FORMAL TONE: Essays containing contractions or first or second person (except in direct quotations) cannot be expected to receive a mark higher than C.
ECONOMY OF LANGUAGE: You must omit or adjust all unnecessary determiners/modifiers and inflated phrases.
WORD CHOICE: You must clarify pronoun antecedents, avoid passive voice and the “to be” verb, and increase verb variance with quotation lead-in usage.
TRANSITIONS/COHERENCE: You must employ the use of transitions, stitching, and dependent clauses to increase the essay and paragraph unity. An over usage of “but” or “and” denotes a deficiency of variance.
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