Comparison and Contrast of Two Sources (Drama Section)
Purpose: On a general level, the purpose of this essay assignment is to develop your critical thinking skills as you work with multiple sources concerning the same subject.
Description: This assignment encourages you identify similarities and differences in multiple texts with the same subject matter (play and movie), and to translate those observations into insightful and sophisticated discussions of the particulars or elements of those texts through in-depth and thorough analyses.
Audience: Intelligent, educated person who has not read your articles.
Voice: 3rd person, but your point of view
Style: Semi-formal to formal
Even though English departments value words, we have to admit that the dominant communicative power in a visual culture is not only the image, but the moving image: television, film, and video games dominate the collective cultural attention span in North America.
For this assignment, I would like you to explore any film representation of a Shakespearean Drama– anything from a commercial blockbuster, to an animated feature, or a parody. You may NOT use The Tempest. Included with your paper portion, you’ll need to provide a collection of still color photographs / reproductions in print or digital format or a video (like YouTube). The number of images you include is up to your discretion, but keep in mind that I am looking for critical analysis and variety. Try to find something I may have never seen before.
What is most important is that you lend a critical eye to the images and representations in the film. Consider the soundtrack, the lighting, the effects, and the costuming as well as the plot.
Then you will write a three page (totaling 4-5 pages in all) explanation of the cultural influences that caused the directors and producers to make the cinematic choices that they did. You will want to keep in mind that particular audiences respond to different film products. Think about how the film was marketed.
In your paper, you will explain any differences in character development as well as any plot changes or additions and you will discuss your understanding of “why” the director/screenwriter made such choices/changes. You will also discuss the significance of these changes on the overall cultural understanding of the original text. For instance, “How does it change our perspective of Ariel that he is often portrayed as nonhumanoid?”
I will be looking for both variety and critical thought when evaluating your projects – remember to date these films and talk about the significance of socio-historical influences on those films.
Your choices may be comic – but remember to look at humorous representations critically. Often humor functions to mask, to satirize, or to praise. Be sure you understand how the film functions within its cultural context.
This assignment is meant to address Western/American culture; however if you have enough exposure to another culture to explain an image, run it past me and I will likely approve it.