ENG 2330 Fall 2020 – Essay #1 Prompts
Whatever response you choose, you should aim to write 400-500 words. Label your actual essay response according to which option you choose (A, B, or C). You will submit your essay using the same method in Canvas–this assignment page–as you did for the previous two assignments.
OPTION A – The Complexity of Medea’s Point of View
Knowing the violent choice Medea eventually makes at the play’s conclusion, write a well- thought-through, evidence-supported essay—using the below quoted section as your main evidence—that addresses why Euripides invites his audience to sympathize with and/or understand Medea’s complicated perspective and actions.
While you do not have to agree with Medea’s actions, you must attempt to explain WHY Euripides creates this sympathy/understanding in the audience.
In order to answer the WHY question, you must also of course show HOW Euripedes accomplishes this as well. These question of WHY and HOW are interlinked and should guide your overall central idea/thesis.
Feel free to tie in your own experience or your own wisdom gained in the world, but you must connect your thoughts to the prompt and to the plot points of the play.
You can use the same quote from the PIQAL template, but DO NOT use any of the same language found in the respective PIQAL sections in that document.
3 TOTAL QUOTATIONS
You must quote at least two times from the following passage and once more from somewhere else in the play, for a total of three quoted lines or excerpts throughout the essay. Each quoted passage should contain at least one sentence from Medea; the quoted passages can be longer but they shouldn’t be shorter.
Lines 258-291 from Medea by Euripides
My life is gone, dear friends. I’ve lost all joy. I want to die. The man who was everything to me, my own husband, has turned out to be the worst of men. This I know is true.
Of all things with life and understanding, we women are the most unfortunate.
First, we need a husband, someone we get for an excessive price. He then becomes the ruler of our bodies. And this misfortune adds still more troubles to the grief we have. Then comes the crucial struggle: this husband we’ve selected, is he good or bad?
For a divorce loses women all respect, yet we can’t refuse to take a husband. Then, when she goes into her husband’s home, with its new rules and different customs, she needs a prophet’s skill to sort out the man whose bed she shares. She can’t learn that at home. Once we’ve worked hard at this, and with success, our husband accepts the marriage yoke and lives in peace—an enviable life.
But if the marriage doesn’t work, then death is much to be preferred. When the man tires of the company he keeps at home, he leaves, seeking relief for his distress elsewhere, outside the home. He gets his satisfaction with some male friend or someone his own age. We women have to look at just one man.
Men tell us we live safe and secure at home, while they must go to battle with their spears. How stupid they are! I’d rather stand there three times in battle holding up my shield than give birth once.
OPTION B – Dante’s Depiction of Hell
For this prompt, you will answer: WHY does Dante’s Inferno utilize such graphic depictions of the conditions of hell? Over the course of the essay, you must attempt to explain how Dante employs word choice, graphic visuals, and/or a descriptively gruesome imagination and WHY you think he makes this choice. Though you may discuss different aspects of image choice and style and break up your paragraphs along those lines, your overall essay should still be unified around a central idea/thesis that answers the above WHY question.
3 TOTAL QUOTATIONS
You must include at least three quoted passages from Dante’s Inferno for a total of three quoted lines or excerpts throughout the essay. Feel free to include more. Each quoted passage should contain at least two lines from the text; the quoted passages can be longer but they shouldn’t be shorter. You can focus your essay on a specific passage from a single Canto or on several passages from anywhere in Cantos 1-14.
PLEASE CITE WHICH CANTO and LINES you’re quoting from.
OPTION C – HEROIC FUNCTIONS
If you choose this prompt, you must organize your essay according to the follow instructions.
FIRST TWO SECTIONS (or main body paragraphs): choose one of the following stories and discuss why its protagonist performs two of the below functions. The “how” should be fairly obvious; the “why” is up to you to conjecture.
The Epic of Gilgamesh • Inferno • Medea
Conquers problems facing the community
Discovers answers for which the community implicitly seeks answers
Embodies a journey in which the community longs to participate and complete
Retaliates against an injustice (literal, metaphorical or inherent in the communal structure)
THIRD SECTION (or third main body paragraph): discuss a contemporary example that shows a hero figure serving a similar function to a community as you just discussed. You’re welcome to use movies, tv shows, video games, or real life examples. Just be specific.
For each of the above texts, you can define community however you desire. For example, you may define community specifically as the ancient Mesopotamian culture of Gilgamesh, Dante’s political turbulent Florence, or the patriarchal city of ancient Athens. Or you can define community more broadly as the universal human community possessing certain desires and fears and values. Either way, make sure you define the community to which you believe the text applies.
3 TOTAL QUOTATIONS
You must include at least three quoted passages for a total of three quoted lines or excerpts throughout the essay. Feel free to include more. Each quoted passage should contain at least one sentence from the above text you choose; the quoted passages can be longer but they shouldn’t be shorter. You do not need a quote in your third section, but be as specific as possible.
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