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Please choose one of the following four essay prompts on which to write a 900-word comparative essay (which is 3 double-spaced pages if you use 12-point Times New Roman font with 1-inch side margins). Whichever prompt you choose, please use the following three-part structure: First 300 words (two paragraphs): explain how the play Titus Andronicus handles the topic in one or two specific passages, scenes, or episodes. Second 300 words (two paragraphs): explain how A Midsummer Night’s Dream handles the topic in one or two specific passages, scenes, or episodes. Third 300 words: compare the two texts’ treatments of this topic. Make sure you provide textual evidence to support each claim you make. Avoid introducing historical context or setting; stick to the texts themselves rather than using the texts to explain something about the people or culture or tradition that produced them. And while paraphrase (also called “plot-summary” or just “summary”) can be brought in sparingly to assist your argument in one or more paragraphs, it cannot substitute for argumentation. In other words, you should be making arguments about the text rather than merely narrating what happens in the text. Please cite act, scene, and line numbers for all quoted passages. Also make sure at the head of your essay to note your name, the course number, and the number of your chosen prompt. 1. Violence is a keynote of both Titus and, in a more subtle yet still quite present way, in A Midsummer Night’s Dream. Using two individual scenes of your choice, compare the way Titus and MND invite their readers or playgoers to feel about the violence depicted in the play. What are the similarities and differences? 2. Compare the way Titus Andronicus and A Midsummer Night’s Dream invite their readers to think about the power and / or danger of performance – that is, pretending to be someone or something other than you are. The obvious scenes on which to focus are the Tamora, Chiron, and Demetrius performance (dressed as “Revenge” et al.) in Titus and, in MND, the play-within-the-play (Pyramus and Thisbee). But you are not limited to choosing these two particular embedded dramas. You might alternatively focus on other scenes when characters are in disguise or talk about disguise or performance. 3. Compare the way Titus and MND depict the theme of deceit. Using two individual scenes of your choice, compare the way the two plays invite their readers to think or feel about the deceit. What are the similarities and differences in the two plays’ depictions? 4. Arguably, humor is an important element of both Titus and A Midsummer Night’s Dream, both as experienced by the characters in the play and as experienced (or not!) by the playgoers / readers. Using two individual scenes of your choice, compare the way the two plays use humor to deal with one of the play’s larger concerns. What are the similarities and differences in the two plays’ uses?

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