After much deliberation, I decided on these six prompts. It was tough! My original list was 15 prompts long, but I decided that would be too many options. If you wrote a prompt you were very attached to, but you don’t see in this list, please let me know. We can discuss the possibility of using it.
- Pick one or two scenes in A Comedy of Errors and Hercules where mistaken or hidden identities lead to conflict. Pay special attention to the differences between the characters’ public and private personae in each scene. In 4-5 pages, compare and contrast how both the film and play use the concept of public and private identity to comment on the process of self-fashioning or other themes associated with the idea of renaissance.
- Pick a scene from both The Hunchback of Notre Dame and Hamlet which discusses the concept of sins. Compare and contrast how the “villains” of each story are characterized through the concept of sinning and forgiveness. How do the characters differ in their interpretations of sin, and how do they cope with the possibility that they have sinned? What concepts may the creators have been trying to communicate to their respective audiences by including these concepts in their stories?
- Compare the justifications for and characters’ reactions to the planned executions of Egeon in The Comedy of Errors and Esmerelda in The Hunchback of Notre Dame. What is the attitude of their respective “judges” toward their condition? What do these aspects reflect about society and its attitude toward death both in the setting of the work and in the time in which it was written? How does the reversal of the executions reflect how these societies view this metaphorical rebirth or reprieve, and how are these views similar and different?
- Throughout the material we have viewed, masculinity has been portrayed in different ways. How has audience and story had an effect on various male characters? For example, you could compare Antipholus to the Beast or Hamlet to Aladdin.
- Pick a soliloquy from Hamlet and a song from a Disney movie of your choice (if your choices are brief you may pick two soliloquies from Hamlet/two songs from the same movie). In 4-5 pages, analyze the effect of interrupting ‘realistic’ dialogue with dramatic declamations such as soliloquies or songs. Compare and contrast how the film and the play use these structural elements to externalize inner feelings and conflict. Consider how these elements permit a different style/quality of writing, using specific quotes to support your argument. Finally, discuss how the intended audiences of the works might react to soliloquies and songs, considering also the increased suspension of disbelief being demanded of them.
- Pick a scene in Hamlet and a scene in Aladdin to compare and contrast in 4-5 pages about how each story portrays women in power. How does the role of women in power contribute to the themes of identity, community, rebirth, or some combination of these themes?