topics for critical research paper

Triangulating Shakespeare

Note: These topics are just suggestions; feel free to design your own. A good place to start for inspiration is by browsing through the class reader and through recent issues of Shakespeare Quarterly, the journal that sets the standard for most Shakespeare scholarship today. All these topics (and any you choose) involve both critical analysis of the text and contextualization--that is relating the text to its historical and cultural environments.

A Midsummernight's Dream

1. Dreams in Elizabethan psychology.

2. Love as lunacy in Elizabethan psychology

3. Pucks and other fairies--folk religion and heresy

4. "The Strict Athenian law": fathers and daughters in the sixteenth century

5. Hempen homespuns--amateurs vs. professionals in theatre history

6. Hippolyta and Theseus--the myth of the Amazons

7. Midsummernight's Dream as ballet and opera

8. The changeling boy, where did he come from?

9. Shakespeare's malaprops-- linguistic error, miscommunication and humor


Henry V

1.Just vs. unjust wars in Renaissance political theory

2. War and gender

3. The British and the French--kissing cousins

4. The play's use of languages and dialects

5. Religion and politics; gods and kings

6. The idea of the soldier's duty

7. Conquest in love and war--Petrarchan siege imagery

8. "You've got to be taught"--Henry V and war propaganda

9. Kenneth Branagh and Henry V--biographical connections



1.Witchcraft in Jacobean England

2. The Royal house of Banquo and JamesI's involvement with the theatre

3. Madness and guilt in Elizabethan psychology

4. Ghosts: real, projections, or stage-illusions

5. Regicide or tyrannicide?--theories of assassination

6. The strange stage history of "The Scottish Play":Macbeth's taboos

7. Lady Macbeth and the type of the virago

8. Macbeth, Polanski and Satanism

9. Blood and bloodlines: Macbeth and Henry V

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