Remember that your essay is an argument, and that this argument must be focussed and coherently organized and developed. You must develop a clear and workable thesis based on close reading of the primary text you choose to work with. Do not do research for this essay. We are interested in what you have to say about the text. Some repetition of class discussion is bound to happen, but remember that the best essays are those which move beyond class discussion. Make sure you are thinking for yourself.
Options are :
1. How may Marie de France Lanval be understood as more than mere entertainment? What (and how) do you see this story offering its 12th-century readers as a teaching tool? (For instance, what social ideals does it convey?)
It is said that in medieval literature, laughter serves as a weapon rather than an end in itself. Discuss this contention with reference to The Miller’s Tale or at least two character sketches in The General Prologue.
Do a close comparative reading of Wyatt’s The long love that in my heart doth harbour (349) and Spenser’s Sonnet 34 (435). How does Spenser both imitate and alter Wyatt’s approach?
Do a careful reading of EITHER Shakespeare’s sonnet 65 OR his sonnet 87. If you choose 65, you might analyse the poem with the aim of arguing whether the speaker is praising the beloved or his own art; if you choose to analyse sonnet 87, it may be with the aim of deciding how the speaker feels about saying goodbye to his beloved.