Sample Essay Conflicting Perspectives
Composers successfully create interesting and diverse perspectives through considered manipulation of textual form, features and language.
A multitude of conflicting perspectives regarding events, situations and personalities generate diverse social values and interesting perspectives on freedom and equality. Also (Don’t use ‘also’ to start a sentence, it appears to be an afterthought) through the manipulation of textual from, features and language, composers create opportunities for debate within the audience and enable them to construct varied meanings of the text. This is exemplified in William Shakespeare’s play Julius Caesar (1599) and the documentary A History of Syria by Dan Snow (2013) directed by Robin Barnwell, which both revolve around the succession of power and the way it is achieved by different characters. Through the representation of two polarising political systems, autocracy and democracy, in the composers’ contexts, the audiences are able to break their own preconceptions and reinterpret given events in interesting and diverse ways through the lens of the composer.(a bit of figurative wordplay – not really necessary)
Shakespeare powerfully uses the textual form in Julius Caesar to show the conflicting perspectives in the situation of Brutus’ inner conflicts towards discerning Caesar’s nature. (I would not refer to this specifically in your topic sentence. You should state the whole play uses textual form. You then discuss it, using that scene as an example.) The disputed situation where Brutus needs to decide whether he should kill Caesar or not is portrayed dramatically through the soliloquy in Act 2 Scene 1 where he commences, ‘I know no personal cause to spurn at him/ But for the general’. This quote shows the inner conflict within Brutus as he struggles between his friendship with Caesar and the fear of tyranny in Rome if Caesar becomes a king. In addition, the quote ‘And, to speak truth of Caesar, I have not known when his affections swayed more than his reason’ is immediately juxtaposed with the general idea ‘that lowliness is young ambition’s ladder/ Whereto the climber upward turns his face;/ But when he once attains the upmost round/ He then unto the ladder turns his back/ Looks in the clouds/ By which he did ascend. So Caesar may’. This dramatises the opposing perspectives of what Caesar is now (now is subjective. You can simply say ‘who he is or who he could be’) and how Caesar can be in the future, together with the metaphor of ladder which portrays the uncertainty in making his decision. However at the end, it is evident that Brutus’ republican idealism and his loyalty ‘for the general’ is what led him to decide to assassinate Caesar, as he concludes to ‘think him as a serpent’s egg (which, hatched, would as his kind grow mischievous) and kill him in the shell’. Through allusion to the Old Testament and demonic symbolism, ‘serpent’s egg’ in a Shakespeare’s Roman Catholic society, he dramatically highlights the possibility of the tyranny that would follow if it hatched. Through dramatic features in the play, Shakespeare represents Brutus’ indecisiveness which in turn creates ambiguity about his nobility and his republican values of freedom and equality.
(These are good quotes but they do not really ‘textual form’ as much as they do ‘a manipulation of language’. Your discussion of the soliloquy is how textual form is used i.e. you should discuss how this interaction with the audience provides insight into his thinking. You can either use the quotes you have (I think you have too many anyway) and rephrase your point of discussion or split this into two paragraphs).)
The multiple of perspectives on the personality of former president Hafez al-Assad in Syria generates interesting and diverse perspectives as the documentary enables the audience to reflect Hafez al-Assad’s loyalty to his country through extensive use of film techniques. The conflicting perspectives lie in his identity as an Alawite Muslim (which is one of the minority groups in Syria) (avoid brackets, just insert info into sentence) and the ruling Sunni Muslims, which take the majority in Syria who have suppressed the Alawites for centuries. When Hafez al-Assad first came to power via political coup in the 1971, Syria had just been liberated from French rulers and was going through political instability. Therefore the formation of hierarchy and political stability that Assad brought was welcomed by ‘even many in the powerful Sunni community’. (Don’t need to give background to story- just discuss film techniques and how they relate to audience) This is reflected in the footage when al-Assad first enters the parliament house as the president. The majestic diegetic sound combined with a panning shot showing the clapping and cheers by the senators in the parliament emphasise the absolute power that Assad gained as well as the rejoicing of Syria as it indicated the end of long-held turmoil. In addition, in his time of presidency Assad ‘introduced schools in all villages, [in] all rural areas in Syria which enabled woman to go to school’. This narration, by the interviewee Dr. Bouthaina Shaaban, over a picture of Assad zooming-in on his face highlights his positive impacts of his works to reduce the injustice and oppression of the minority groups and elevates him to a hero-like figure. However, such just personality of Assad is soon contradicted with his political regime that he instigated over Syria. The interview scene of Dr. Patrick Seale, who was the biographer of President Hafez al-Assad, reveals that when he became a president in 1971, ‘he then set about creating what really looked like a proper, well-organised state … in which the army was powerful, in which the civilian politician were less so and in which the parliament as almost from the beginning something of a rubber stamp’. The low modality language and speaker’s significant emphasise on the word ‘looked’ and the metaphor of the ‘rubber stamp’ highlights the hollowness in the actual government system and that it was merely an imitation of the other successful governments. Therefore through the different personalities of Assad, director Barnwell challenges conventional view on autocracy and its systems and enables the audience to gain diverse and interesting ideas into its different aspects.
(You have again covered a wide array of topics, though you have also spent a bit of time here recounting the text. You don’t need to tell us the story or how it is told – only how the director uses form, features and language to represent perspectives. You only really need to mention power as a perspective, and how it too is represented.)
Similarly, differing perspectives in Caesar’s assassination create interesting ideas about whether Caesar would have been a tyrant or not. Through the ambiguous representation of good and evil in the characters involved in this event, Shakespeare provokes the audience to reconsider the idea of democracy. In Act 3 Scene 2, the dramatic conflict in his assassination is further shown in the funeral oration of Brutus and Antony. By using parallel structure and logos Brutus justifies that ‘There is tears for his love, joy for his fortune honour for his valour and death for his ambition’ emphasising the tyrant and ambitious nature of Caesar. Shakespeare validates this justification by the nobility of Brutus found in previous Acts. Nevertheless, the negative perspectives of Caesar are challenged by Antony’s oration as he manipulates the audience through rhetorical devices. The use of logos and the rhetorical question in the quote ‘[Caesar] hath brought many captive home to Rome … Did this in Caesar seem ambitious?’ to arouse debate about Brutus’ justification within the plebeians. Further, the pathos in the quote, ‘My heart is in the coffin there with Caesar, and I must pause till it come back to me.’ and the stage direction ‘weep’ adds dramatic effect to emphasise Antony’s grief and highlights his loyalty and the ability to manipulate plebeians’ emotions. Whilst portraying Antony as a loyal friend of Caesars which convinces the unnecessity of Caesar’s Assassination, Shakespeare reveals Antony’s duality which provokes the audience to doubt his nobility. This is shown in Antony’s act to ‘cut off some charge in legacies’ which was originally for the plebeians. Also the dramatic irony of Antony to call Brutus ‘the noblest Roman of them all’ at the end, the audience can understand Shakespeare’s pursuits for democracy, which he had to hide under the tyranny of civil war due to the regulations of the monarchy society he lived in. Hence through the conflicting representation of the characters Antony and Brutus in Caesar’s assassination Shakespeare creates diverse perspectives in the audience which provoke them to debate which political system is more ideal in Elizabethan society. (This feels a bit tacked on. You need to discuss from the beginning of the paragraph that the Roman world is juxtaposed with the Elizabethan society the Julius Caesar was influenced by – and if this is important, how.)
(I would rephrase this paragraph to simply state that the play’s climax is ultimately a war between two perspectives which Shakespeare expresses through contrasting characters distinguished through contrasting personas and language. The point of Caesar’s tyranny is mostly irrelevant – the funeral is merely a ‘platform’ for these perspectives to be revealed to the audience.)
Both Julius Caesar and the documentary A History of Syria explore the conflict between the political systems of democracy and autocracy in the characters, and through dramatic representation of the personalities, events and situation that they are involved in. Hence composers create interesting and diverse insights that challenge their audience’s preconceived (This point you don’t really discuss. I would either include this more in the body or leave it out.) notions.
Some very detailed discussion and analysis of both Hamlet and the play. You have got some valuable insights into the meaning of the play. Discussion is mostly excellent, you have really elaborated on each quote. You have discussed Hamlet’s characterisation effectively.
The question has only been partly answered here, albeit, the question is a little vague in. You haven’t really answered how these are ‘enduring powers’ which affected your personal understanding of the text. The point about universality was good and it would have fulfilled this.
You have summarised the play a bit, which is not necessary.
Avoid writing claims by ‘critics’ whose names and faces you do not provide. This response is about your analysis, not theirs. You also don’t need to talk about productions of the play, because you are not studying those. Your only focus is the text itself.
Your work could be improved by sharpening your discussion:
- Have a clear, re-phrased version of the question which utilises its keywords
- Trim some of your discussion down – ask ‘is this line adding something’
- Edit your work and rephrase sentences to shorten where possible
A very good attempt, but your response does not address the question as deeply as it could do.
You have written a clear outline, which for the most part is excellent. You do, however, vaguely discuss sections of the play and you elaborate on others a bit too much. You need to constantly evaluate what you write and trim where you can. With a good edit, you could easily cut about 500 words from this response.
With some revision and some extra focus on Hamlet’s ‘enduring powers’, you have the makings of a potent essay response.