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‘To what extent are women shackled by patriarchy in Shakespeare’s plays?’ (65%, 2008)

An image of the feedback sheet pertaining to Chris Larham's essay examining the extent to which women are shackled by patriarchy in Shakespeare's plays [65%, 2008].

In this essay I will examine the extent to which women are shackled by patriarchy in William Shakespeare’s ‘Twelfth Night’ and ‘The Merchant of Venice’. I will firstly apply Vladimir Propp’s tool of narrative analysis to ‘Twelfth Night’ in order to provide Structuralist evidence for the Feminist critique of this play propounded by Lisa Jardine. I will then extend Jardine’s contentions to ‘The Merchant of Venice’, using Propp’s narratological principles to highlight the various ways in which women are constrained by patriarchy in this play. The insights which arise from this methodology will be fully explored in the conclusion to this essay.[…]

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Posted in English Degree [Bachelor of Arts]

King Lear [William Shakespeare]: Essay Five [41 out of 50, 2001/2002]

Image of the second marked page of Chris Larham's essay on 'King Lear' (21 out of 25, 2001/2002).

Edmund’s first soliloquy, “Thou Nature art… for Bastards”, is worded using a verse form; a form suitable for conveying Edmund’s passionate, personal beliefs.

From the very beginning, it is clear that Edmund is a firm believer in the natural world, “Thou Nature art my Goddess”. He prefers the ‘every man for himself’ attitude of the natural world to conventional, less mercenary religions – he takes a pre-Darwinian “Survival of the fittest” view.[…]

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Posted in A Level English [A2]

King Lear [William Shakespeare]: Essay Four [19 out of 25, 2001/2002]

Image of the first marked page of Chris Larham's essay on 'King Lear' (19 out of 25, 2001/2002).

In saying “Do you mark that?”, Goneril uses an interrogative to convey the incredulity she feels at Lear’s outbursts. Her apparent astonishment suggests that she isn’t one to think deeply (in this case as to why Lear is acting in such a manner); she is emotional and only considers what’s best for her.[…]

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Posted in A Level English [A2]

King Lear [William Shakespeare]: Essay Three [35 out of 50, 2001/2002]

Image of the first marked page of Chris Larham's essay on King Lear (35 out of 50, 2001/2002).

The ‘Fool’ articulates his attempts to make Lear understand what Lear has done through the use of a light-hearted verse form. In fact, it could be argued that Fool talks in vers libre, a term which refers to “rhymes in which various metres, or various rhythms, are combined, or the ordinary rules of prosody disregarded.” This can be seen through his mixture of statements and rhymes in the same speech- coupled with his sudden changes in metres- for example, “I have used it nuncle, e’er since thou mad’st thy daughters thy mothers {an unrhyming declaration}… Then they for sudden joy did weep,/ And I for sorrow sung,/ That such a King should play bo-peep,/ And go the fools among {an ordered abab rhyme, with an 8/6/8/6 syllable structure}”. Upon closer inspection, it becomes apparent that much of his wisdom-filled homespun philosophy is conveyed through the use of such a seemingly meaningless, harmless form.[…]

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Posted in A Level English [A2]

KING LEAR [William Shakespeare]: Essay One [‘B++’-grading, 2001/2002]

Image of the first feedback sheet critiquing Chris Larham's essay on King Lear (B++, 2001/2002).

The first sentence we hear from King Lear is, “Attend the Lords of France and Burgundy, Gloucester.” This expectant imperative sets the tone for his contribution to the following discourse, and hints at his strong feeling of self-importance. […]

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Posted in A Level English [A2]

Poetry Analysis: Essay Three [23 out of 25, 2000/2001]

Image of the fifth and final marked page of Chris Larham's poetry essay (23 out of 25, 2000/2001).

Throughout ‘To Virgins’, Robert Herrick employs an ‘abab’ rhyme scheme, coupled with an ‘8787’ syllable mix, in each of the four compact stanzas, to put forward his ‘while you’ve got it, flaunt it’ message. Versification is very ordered throughout the poem; Herrick knows what he wants to say, and the desired tone in which to say it – this assuredness in his own mind helps make the poem more persuasive. The stanzas are all one-sentence long, with a colon or a semi-colon joining the two contrasting parts after the opening two lines (the apparently limitless youthful opportunities in love and relationships/the aged loss of beauty and chances). Written from a third person perspective, ‘To Virgins’ comes across in a fun, playful ballad form that is reminiscent of youth. Such a free-flowing style makes the idea of losing one’s virginity seem trivial – not the massive, life-changing event that it is usually considered-and advised- to be. Herrick uses this style to good effect: in using it to convey his words of advice, the virgins will think that love and relationships are something to be enjoyed while youth is on their side; the ease with which the poem runs will encourage them to relax and enjoy themselves.[…]

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Posted in AS Level English [A1]