A Midsummer Night’s Dream

A Midsummer Night’s Dream

engage in research as you develop a deeper understanding of either Medea or A Midsummer Night’s Dream. This research might include historical, biographical, or literary backgrounds, but whatever form it takes it should support and not detract from your analysis.

Your research must include one scholarly article or book. Anything that you take from the shelf in the Noel Library, the articles I have posted to Moodle, or any article downloaded from a database such as JSTOR, Project Muse, or Academic Search Complete counts as �scholarly.� Beyond this requirement, you should use whatever sources best help you answer your research question and produce a thoughtful essay.

Remember that when writing a research essay, you should never attempt to conceal your reliance on your sources. All references to source material (facts, statistics, interpretations, ideas, paraphrase, direct quotation, maps, illustrations) must be correctly integrated into your work. This means that you will use both a signal phrase and in-text citation for each reference to source material. Failure to use source materials ethically will result in failure, while a seemingly deliberate attempt to conceal reliance on a source will result in referral to the Dean of Students.

All essays are due by 5pm on the due date. Essays received beyond that time will be considered late and will be penalized according to the schedule explained in the syllabus.

While you are welcome to develop your own research question, you might like to choose or adapt one of the questions below.


1. How has Euripides revised existing myths about Medeia in this play and why?

2. During the Prologue, the Tutor warns of the power of self-love as a directive force. How do self-love and love come into conflict in this play?

3. Do you think Medeia is a proto-feminist or an anti-feminist play?

4. What were marriage and household management like in fifth century BC Athens? How does Euripides critique contemporary domestic customs in Medeia?

5. Medeia is the eponymous hero of this play. How does her gender complicate her status as a hero?

6. Aristotle described the parts and function of tragedy almost a century after Euripides wrote Medeia. Does Medeia confirm or challenge Aristotle�s definitions?
Midsummer Night�s Dream

1. Egeus claims that Lysander has �bewitched� his daughter by giving her �rhymes� (1.1.27-28). How are rhyme and magic interrelated in this play?

2. How does Shakespeare use space in this play? You might choose to write about use of stage space or about the organization of action between Athens and the woods.

3. When Bottom awakes after his night in the woods, he believes that his experiences have been a dream �past the wit of man to say what dream it was� (4.1.101). How do reason and imagination interact in this play?
Suggested Reading
While you are encouraged to do your own library and database searches, you might find the following articles interesting. Those marked with an M are on Moodle; those marked with an R are on reserve at the library � you can find them at the Circulations Desk.

Mills, S. P. �The Sorrows of Medea.� Classical Philology 75.4 (1980): 289-96. Print. [M]
Palmer, Robert B. �An Apology for Jason: A Study of Euripides� �Medea.�� The Classical Journal 53.2 (1957): 49-55. Print. [M]
Tessitore, Aristide. �Euripides �Medea� and the Problem of Spiritedness.� The Review of Politics 53.4 (1991): 587-601. Print. [M]

Midsummer Night�s Dream
Gurr, Andrew. �The Shakespearean Stage.� The Norton Shakespeare. Ed. Stephen Greenblatt. New York: Norton, 1997. 3281-3301. Print. [R]
Jones, Emrys. �The Scenic Poet.� Scenic Form in Shakespeare. Oxford: Clarendon P, 1971. 3-18. Print. [R]
Lichtenfels, Peter. �Shakespeare�s Language and the Theatre.� Reading Shakespeare�s Dramatic Language: A Guide. Ed. Sylvia Adamson et al. London: Arden Shakespeare, 2001). 158-72. Print. [R]
Marshall, David. �Exchanging Visions: Reading A Midsummer Night�s Dream.� ELH 49.3 (1982): 543-75. Print. [M]
Wright, George T. �What Else Shakespeare�s Meter Reveals.� Shakespeare�s Metrical Art. Berkeley: U of California P, 1988. 249-63. Print. [R]



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