Shakespeare: Stranger – Merchant of Venice

Your first essay will be a short one 2-4 pages. But don’t celebrate just yet! It’s hard to write a good short essay; you must distill your argument into an economical package, and every sentence must count.

For this essay I would like you to focus on an encounter with or representation of a Stranger in The Merchant of Venice. Here I want you to select a specific scene or passage relating to the Stranger in your chosen text and perform a close reading of it. Analyze, for example, word choice or use of imagery or metaphor or characterization.

It’s most important that you articulate a strong thesis at the end of your introduction and then use the body paragraphs “ few as they will be

“ to support that thesis. Strive to illuminate the text, and to teach me something new about it. That is not impossible, even in two pages.

Don’t forget to quote your text in the body of the essay. If you are planning to write only two pages, you’ll have to make some judicious choices about what “ and how much “ you quote. The two-page essay will most likely concentrate on a very specific part of the text “ a very short passage or even a sentence. YouÃ’ll have a little more leeway if you’re writing four pages, but even so, most of the text of your essay should be yours and not Shakespeare’s or Bronte’s.

Please use a 12-point Times New Roman font. Double space your text and number your pages. Please make sure your name and section umber are in your header.

Finally, don’t dismiss the importance of editing and proofreading your work; a sloppy essay usually reflects sloppy thinking, as well as a lack of seriousness about the class.

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