Comparing Fourth-Act Soliloquies in The Two Gentlemen of Verona

DUE: Thursday, 18 September, either in hard copy or electronically submitted through the Digital Dropbox of our Blackboard site

LENGTH: 3-4 double-spaced word-processed pages (approximately 750-1000 words)

APPROACHING THE TOPIC: The Two Gentlemen of Verona provides many opportunities for characters alone on stage to speak at length about their problems and plans. These speeches, known as soliloquies, accomplish many different things. Your introduction should propose how soliloquies function in this play. Your thesis should state an opinion about the contrasts between three soliloquies that occur in Act 4 (Proteus, 4.2.1-17; Launce, 4.4.1-40; Julia, 4.4.90-107. The body of the essay should explore those three speeches in detail in order to justify your thesis.

QUESTIONS TO CONSIDER: Your essay should address these questions and others that you propose:
• Which characters soliloquize the most?
• What kinds of concerns do they focus on?
• What kind of language do they use to express themselves?
• What relationship with the audience does the soliloquy encourage?
• How does this particular soliloquy work in terms of language and theme?
• How do these three speeches epitomize the motives and concerns of the three speakers?
• Why do you think the play gives these characters the opportunity to speak along on stage in such rapid sequence as the play is moving towards its conclusion?
• What evaluation of their natures does setting Proteus, Launce, and Julia against each other encourage?

WRITING PAPERS FOR THIS CLASS: Re-read the play(s), keeping in mind the particular focus that you need to discuss. Make note of any speeches or actions that seem related to this focus, so that you have a sense of the context in which they occur. Then find an organizing idea that will provide you with a thesis statement—the key point that you want to make. Remember that an...

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