Texts and Traditions

Texts and TraditionsSpring Semester, 2015
Texts and Traditions
Essay
Word Limit: 1500 words (+/- 10%; excluding primary source quotations, in-text citations / footnotes, and reference list)
Weighting: 40%

Texts: This assessment covers:
Sophocles, Oedipus the King
Plato, “Crito”
Plato, Euthyphro”
William Shakespeare, Hamlet (mandatory text)
Jean-Jacques Rousseau, “Fifth Walk”
For this assessment task, you must write on two texts. One of these texts must be Hamlet.
Research Requirements: For this task, students are required to use two scholarly, secondary sources in their work. Students may use more than two secondary sources if they wish. However, all sources used must be academic sources: academic books, academic book chapters or journal articles. Students may use critical material from the Norton edition of Hamlet as part of their two mandatory sources.
No websites may be used for this task.
Late penalties and extensions: The penalty for late essays without approved extensions is a deduction of 10% per day or part thereof. Saturday and Sunday count as one day each.
All requests for extensions should be directed to:
Dr Helen Basides – Parramatta students – H.Basides@uws.edu.au
Dr Bridget Brooklyn – Bankstown students – B.Brooklyn@uws.edu.au
Requests for extension received over the weekend will not be processed until the following Monday. If the request for extension is rejected, late penalties will apply from the deadline. ********************************************************
100968 Texts and Traditions
Spring Semester, 2015
Answer one of the essay questions below.
Your answer should present a critical comparison of two texts. Hamlet is mandatory for each question.
Question 1
“Something is rotten in the state of Denmark.”
(Hamlet, I.v.90)
Hamlet laments that the problems in Denmark have been left for him to solve. Critically compare the way in which individuals act in response to perceived problems in politics or the state in Hamlet and another text you have studied this semester.
Question 2
Critically examine the way in which the prospect of a state after death – be it a Christian conception or an Ancient Greek conception – influences the way in which characters think and act in this world. Your answer should critically compare Hamlet and one other text you have studied this semester.
Question 3 “For most critics of Shakespeare, Ophelia has been an insignificant minor character in the play, touching in her weakness and madness but chiefly interesting, of course, in what she tells us about Hamlet.” Elaine Showalter, “Representing Ophelia: Women, Madness, and the Responsibilities of Feminist Criticism” Are the female characters in the texts you have studied this semester significant only in their relationships to the men around them? Critically assess the extent to which these female figures tell us something about women’s stories. Your answer should critically compare Hamlet and one other text you have studied this semester.
Question 4
“What does one enjoy in such a situation? Nothing external to the self, nothing but oneself and one’s own existence: as long as this state lasts, one is self-sufficient like God.”
Jean-Jacques Rousseau, “Fifth Walk”
Is self-sufficiency a godlike state? Critically analyse the ways in which the texts you have studied this semester show people looking to themselves for answers on how to think, act and live well. Your answer should critically compare Hamlet and one other text you have studied this semester.

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