English  permalink

Higher Critical essay

This discussion has been closed.

Messages: 1 - 2 of 2
  • Message 1. 

    Posted by U15531519 (U15531519) on Saturday, 8th December 2012

    I need help with choosing a play for my Critical Essay.

    My teacher hasn't really given us much to choose from. Can I choose The Merchant of Venice or An Inspector Calls ? I do have others which are considered more suitable for Higher essays but I am familiar with these ones. If my choices are not considered suitable can you give me a few pointers plz

    Report message1

  • Message 2

    , in reply to message 1.

    Posted by bitesize_english_teacher (U15197928) on Saturday, 8th December 2012

    You are right in saying that these are not ideal plays for Higher level as they are usually studied in S3/4 rather than S5/6. Shakespeare's later tragedies (Macbeth, Hamlet, Othello, etc) are more typical choices for Higher.

    Neverthless, a well-written Critical Essay on either of the texts you mention could still be suitable for Higher if it contained a high standard of detailed analysis and had clearly constructed paragraphs which used topic sentences to create effective links to the question.

    For example, a look at the past papers book shows several questions that would fit 'The Merchant of Venice', such as:

    'choose a play which has a theme of revenge'
    'choose a play in which a character makes a crucial error'
    'choose a play in which one person's flaws can have a significant impact on other people as well as on himself'

    Perhaps the key difference between a Higher essay and a Standard Grade/Intermediate one would be that it will show a greater awareness of complexities within the characters - i.e. the essay should not take too simplistic approach.

    Thus, if writing about Shylock, you should avoid a simplistic interpretation such as 'Shylock is a villain' or 'Shylock is a victim of prejudice'. While there is plenty of evidence to support each of these views of Shylock, you should show awareness that the issue is not always clear cut: if Shylock suffers from prejudice, he also exhibits it himself (of Antonio he says "I hate him for he is a Christian"). Similarly, if Shylock comes across as a villain we also feel sympathy for him (look at the "Hath not a Jew eyes?" speech, for instance).

    Report message2

Back to top

About this Board

The Bitesize messageboards have now closed

or register to take part in a discussion.

The message board is currently closed for posting.

The boards are now closed

This messageboard is pre-moderated.

Find out more about this board's House Rules

Search this Board

Copyright © 2015 BBC. The BBC is not responsible for the content of external sites. Read more.

This page is best viewed in an up-to-date web browser with style sheets (CSS) enabled. While you will be able to view the content of this page in your current browser, you will not be able to get the full visual experience. Please consider upgrading your browser software or enabling style sheets (CSS) if you are able to do so.