TS English W2016: Methodology Length: Format: Shakespeare Paper “Shakespeare’s Literary Meanings” 4-5 pages, double-spaced Times New Roman font, 12pt size MLA Format and Citation Style In the first few weeks of winter quarter, we will turn to William Shakespeare’s play, The Tempest, to examine the innovative and complex ways that the Bard constructed literary meaning in his dramas. In case you haven’t noticed, reading Shakespeare is a unique experience. How can we unpack the dense dialogue, imagery, and complex thematics that construct the play? Ross McDonald, for one, has insisted that Shakespeare “in other words” is not Shakespeare at all, and that an appreciation of his works must begin with a detailed microanalysis of language, syntax, metrics, and wordplay. Taking this cue for our own work, this paper will ask you to adopt a formal approach to the language of the play, analyzing how the language and structure of the play itself constructs a dense and elaborate network of meanings. This paper has two main goals: 1. Use a “formal analysis” of the text. By now, you should be familiar with several strategies for breaking down and examining the formal elements of Shakespeare’s drama. The important point here is that a critical reading of Shakespeare cannot simply look at “the story” as though the play were no different than other fictional writing styles like the novel. You must also look to components like the play’s mobilization of language, its genre, its thematic structure and patterns, its choice of setting and scene. Your main goal in this paper: make an argument about how these formal components produce a particular meaning, conflict or problematic in The Tempest. Look for: Wordplay, multiple meanings that produce complex meanings Metrics/Syntax, meaningful shifts in the musicality and sound of the text Structure, meaningful patterns in the arrangement of the drama 2. Make an argument about the play’s use of/insights into language. Feel free to write on a topic that interests you, be it romance, revenge, race, gender, or the nature of political power. But, whatever you choose, it will be important to remember that all of these issues are intimately connected with questions of language, speech, storytelling, art, and the power of words. To construct a complex claim in this paper, and to make the most of your formal analysis, make a claim which focuses on these issues (or their connections). You may, for instance, consider how issues of slavery or parenthood are expressed in particular kinds of dialogue or use of words, or how conceptions of race or gender are linked to issues of language and storytelling.