‘Of all his tragedies, Othello is Shakespeare’s most relentless and excruciating’ because it ‘concentrates on the systematic immolation of one man’ argues Geoffrey Benet of the Antioch Review. Shakespeare’s Othello is engrossed with issues of jealousy, sexuality and gender as the audience watches Othello fall into the pit of deception that his ensign, Iago, has … Read more
A Tale of Two Cities has long been one of Charles Dickens’ most favoured books. This book opens in the year 1775 by contrasting two cities: Paris, France and London, England. Throughout this story various characters are “recalled to life”, meaning that they have had a new chance at life. Dr. Manette is clearly mad after being … Read more
Macbeth is a play full of darkness, evil, and tragedy. It is the story of a man who goes against his conscience and commits a horrible deed which leads to his destruction and loss of everything he has around him. This includes the relationship he has with his wife, Lady Macbeth. In the end, he … Read more
In the play Macbeth by William Shakespeare, we discover that Macbeth is a tragic hero. Macbeth is very ambitious, courageous, and a moral coward: all these things lead to his tragic death at the end of the play. At the beginning of the play, Shakespeare defines Macbeth as a hero very clearly. From the courages in … Read more
The concept of love in many movies and novels is very conventionalized. Charlotte Brontë’s interpretation of love in the novel Jane Eyre is exemplified differently than others would perceive. The love in this novel is never simple. The various experiences that Jane goes through with her various relationships, romantic or not, help her to grow … Read more
Intertextuality is the interrelationship between literary works whereby each text is seen as a product shaped by other literary works. The Bulgarian critic Julia Kristeva is said to have invented the term while its meaning can be traced back to the works of Russian philosopher M. M. Bakhtin (Harder, 2017). Intertextuality explains the fact that … Read more
I believe that all four suspect the young lovers, the family, the state and the church all can be blamed for the death of Romeo and Juliet. Shakespeare has betrayed Friar Lawrence is a caring, loved by many and wise character that did whatever he could to help Romeo and Juliet. However, if you interrogate … Read more
Macbeth is a tragedy by William Shakespeare; It dramatises the psychologically damaging effects of political ambition and greed on those who seek power for their own personal gain. In the play several writing techniques are exhibited to show the exaggerated rise and fall of Macbeth’s character and his actions that lead to the consequences. In … Read more
When Romeo and Juliet meet, they are oblivious that they are from different families, but when they find out, they are hesitant to continue with their relationship. Two devices used in this passage are metaphor and religious imagery. Metaphor is used to express love in this passage, and occasionally hate. When Juliet finds out that … Read more
A very important and recurring theme in Shakespeare’s plays, The Merchant of Venice, is loyalty. Loyalty is a warm quality that includes devotion, faithfulness, and unswerving allegiance. Shakespeare’s work is still relevant today because we can compare ourselves to the characters and talking about the plays can possibly build friendships. Loyalty is important in today’s … Read more
Sigmund Freud’s psychoanalytical theory examines the manifestations, issues, reactions of a person’s subconscious. Freud believed that humans are guided by fears, desires or thoughts they are unaware of. According to what Freud said, there are three major components of personality: id, ego and super ego. The id works to satisfy basic needs and desires and … Read more
In William Shakespeare’s play ‘The Merchant of Venice’, his protagonist Portia conforms to the 16th century’s patriarchal society while conveying that women are mistreated and have no power within traditional Venation society. William Shakespeare was an English poet, playwright and actor, widely regarded as the greatest writer in the English language. His works consists of … Read more
Ever since I was young and started gaining knowledge about Shakespearean plays, I believed that all of Shakespeare’s works, were plays that one would read to hear a entertaining, happy story; but, it was not until this term, after reading The Merchant of Venice, that I recognised the darker, more sinister, side of Shakespeare’s plays. … Read more
Throughout time Man has attempted to subvert the natural order to fulfill the desire for ascendancy. Shakespeare’s play, Macbeth, explores the concept and the interplay of external and internal forces on one’s actions. While some might argue external forces were the main cause of Macbeth’s rise and fall, it was ultimately Macbeth’s troubled conscience, internal … Read more
The tragedy of Hamlet is a play written by William Shakespeare in the late 1500s. Shakespeare was born in a time where women were considered inferior to men in society. Over the years, there have been many adaptations of his story which subsequently maintain the sexist undertone of his time period as well. As a … Read more
William Shakespeare’s “Othello” was set in the late 1570’s in Venice, Italy. The play follows the destruction of Othello, a general of African descent who is essentially looked down upon by society due to his ethnicity. Throughout out the play, it becomes evident that he too, views himself as inferior to the venetian society. Othello’s … Read more
William Shakespeare is famous for his use of tragedy as a style in most of his plays. This is also seen in his play “Julius Caesar” which involves a tragic hero who ends up facing a tragic event as the play comes to an end. Caesar is killed by Brutus, who is also a character … Read more
The nature versus nurture debate is one of the oldest issues within psychology. Nature refers to factors such as genes and heredity that influence one’s behavior. Nurture refers to all the environmental characteristics that impact who we are, including our childhood experiences, how we were raised and the culture we were raised in. Some philosophers … Read more
In this essay, I will be analysing Shakespeare’s Sonnets 71 through 74 and Plato’s Phaedo to distil their concepts of the ‘self’ and the implications these concepts have on self’s immortality. First, I will analyse Shakespeare’s Sonnets 71 to 74, which all revolve around the central theme of death, to argue that his definition of … Read more
Shakespeare’s work has always been one to influence and touch people around the world for years. The themes behind each of his writings are known for their deep meanings and applicability to a persons life. For instance, Romeo and Juliet and The Tempest both have themes and messages within them that are meaningful. The story … Read more
As one of only two female characters in Hamlet it seems surprising that Ophelia is presented as unsubstantial and entirely passive. She is polarized by her love for Hamlet and sense of duty to her father, and these feeling bind her completely. She neither questions her father’s demands and instructions nor queries Hamlet’s supposed madness, … Read more
Through the study of two distinct texts composed centuries apart, it is evident that an exploration of context and intertextual connections provide a deepened understanding of the shared human struggle as individuals search for their identity and a meaningful purpose in life. Subsequently, human frailty is illuminated through one’s misguided pursuit of power, and unwillingness … Read more
Introduction Lord of the Flies is a 1954 novel by the British author William Golding. The novel traces the adventures of a group of boys after their plane crashes on an uninhabited island. The events of the novel take place against a backdrop of warfare and violence, which recreates the bloodshed that occurred during the … Read more
The nature of Foucault’s writings – their size, variety, and complexity – have been the subject of considerable debate, necessitating a broad response in the form of appreciation and critique. In a series of works written over thirty years, Foucault has attempted to persuade his readers to abandon traditional theoretical boundaries and reject disciplinary frameworks. … Read more
John Milton was born, in London, England on December 9th. He was alive during the Restoration Era of King Charles II, that’s when he decided to begin to write Paradise Lost. Paradise Lost which follows/talks about Satan’s impulses/itch of Adam and Eve and their journey from the Garden of Eden and what happens to them … Read more
How to write an English Literature Essay
When writing an English literature essay, it is crucial to keep in mind the importance of the readability of your essay. Throughout the essay, ensure that the essay is not a regurgitation of other writers’ ideas, research notes or facts. This is important because people will not find your essay interesting to read if you would not read it yourself.
The following sections offer fundamental guidelines on how to write an English literature essay.
Plan it out
Planning is an important point, which you need to keep in mind before you even start to write your essay. It is important that before starting to write your English literature essay, you identify your audience. Planning for your English essay requires that you identify a goal or the major points to discuss in your essay. Before starting the essay, ensure that you write all the key points or ideas you intend to discuss in your essay. Visualize how you want your essay to be, and develop an outline of all the paragraphs. Identify the argument of the essay and position.
It is important to have an idea of where you want to take the reader in terms of the impacts you seek to have on the audience after reading the English literature essay. These are among the various important aspects that you need to keep in mind when writing an English literature essay. These suggestions when followed are helpful in writing a high standard essay, which is relevant to the topic of discussion.
Learning how to write an English literature essay is not just about writing the essay. You also need to know how to structure the essay in the correct way.
Structure of an English literature essay
This is the most important factor in an essay. The length of each paragraph is a crucial point for consideration to avoid a reader getting lost while reading it. Paragraphs are useful to both you as the writer, and the reader of the essay. Use different paragraphs to categorize your points and ideas. Ensure that you use short paragraphs throughout your essay. A high standard essay should not have paragraphs that exceed an A4 page.
English literature essays require that you have a strong argument unless the paper instructions need you to write a summary of a provided text. Ensure that your argument is not biased. The discussion should comprise all the possible position of the argument. A quality essay should provoke discussion by including different thoughts using the texts creatively.
The aim of writing an English literature essay is to demonstrate an individual’s love of words and English language. Utilize literary devices like alliterations, onomatopoeia, sibilance, and anaphora to make your English essay interesting. These technique can be effectively used when writing poetry.
All sources used in the essay should be credited and acknowledged using footnotes and creating a reference list. There are various ways which you can use to credit texts and ideas from other writers that you have used in your essay. In-text references can comprise name of the author, year of publication, and page number of the source. This allows a reader to look up the source used should he want. Ensure that your footnotes for the essay are well notated, and include information about the edition of the source and name of the publisher.
Use quotations in your essay to support facts, theories, ideas, thoughts, and argument in the essay. Quotations are effectively presented either as part of an essay sentence or as a word. Ensure that you include quotations in your essay creatively. In cases where you think that you need to use lengthy quotations to support your discussion or argument, make sure that you satisfy the following areas in your essay:
- Quotations should be set in the middle of a page in addition to leaving a single blank line before starting the quotation, and after the end of a quotation.
- A high Standard English literature essay picks relevant sentences or words form lengthy quotations in a source, and discusses how the quotation relates or supports the argument a writer is making.
- It is acceptable to use a single ‘comma’ quotation mark, or a “double” to mark your quotations in an English literature essay.
- When using quotations in your English literature essay, bear in mind the importance of properly citing and acknowledging the source of the quotations used to avoid plagiarism in your essay.
Did our ‘how to write an English literature essay’ guide help you?