Drama or Poetry essay


Drama Essay Guidelines

Length: 2-3 pages of text (750-1000), double spaced with an additional works cited page of 1-2 sources.

Format: Use MLA manuscript format. For more about MLA Format, see the Course Directions folder.

Topic:  For this essay, you’ll develop a thesis about your chosen play/film. You will use evidence from both the text and film and some sources to support your argument. In other words, you do NOT merely summarize, or even just explain the play, but think deeply about a text and film through all of its parts (which you’ve already done in your drama analysis/essay prewriting discussion). Then you generate an arguable claim that becomes a thesis for a polished essay.

This essay, as you’ve seen in your prewriting, is somewhat different in that it is really an evaluative comparison. An evaluation is argumentative–you explore the evidence you have from your analysis discussion and then use it to support argumentative topic sentences (that is, ones that someone could disagree with).

One approach

The most common approach is to center your thesis on an evaluation of the film more broadly, asking how does the film fulfill, distort, or achieve the seeming overall intent of the play. You make use elements of drama that you used in your prewriting and use elements of film (lighting, acting, costumes, etc.) like those you used to evaluate Hamlet’s soliloquy as paragraph topics.

For example,

Topic Sentence: Other casting choices, like for the character of Ophelia, were fabulous.

Supporting Passages in the paragraph:

  • In the play, Ophelia is      genuinely crazy with grief at Polonius’s death. She . . .
  • In the film Regina Carter      appropriately downplays her love for Hamlet, and emphasizes her love for      her father. . .

Another approach

From your earlier essay writing, you learned some approaches to generating topics on page 1892-1897. You may use those prompts again if you want a more narrow thesis focused on a few aspects of the play and film. For example, from that list of topic approaches, you could examine the world view of a character from beginning to end and compare it to how the film fulfills or distorts the play’s message with regard to that worldview.

For example,

Topic Sentence: Paul’s early development from the play to the film makes him seem like another character entirely.

Supporting Passages in the paragraph:

  • In the first scene, Paul’s      pessimistic worldview is established in his opening soliloquy. He states      ” . . .
  • In the film, this speech is cut      into three parts, one of them not appearing until mid-way through the play      when on the page Paul is to be much more evolved . . .

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