English  453
Dr. Morillo
Romantic Period
Tompkins G118

Second Paper Assignment.

Due Friday, April 1, at my office, Tompkins 270 . Please turn in the paper in 2 forms: printed out on paper AND as a emailed file to morillo@unity.ncsu.edu. Be sure to put your last name in the file name.

Letter-graded assignment worth 20% of your final grade.

6-7 pages, double-spaced typed/printed text.
Standard margins.
If you have any other format questions, ask me.
Pick ONE:

1) Is Mary Shelley's Frankenstein a story with a moral? If so, what is it? If not, how and why does it avoid having a moral? Select the best textual evidence for whatever claim you decide to make. Your job is to argue, not simply summarize.

2) Frankenstein is structured as what is called a "nested narrative." That is, there is a story, within a story, within a story. Identify what you consider to be the most important layers of this series of stories, who is telling or writing them, and then construct an argument about why Mary Shelley may have decided to use this particular narrative structure for her tale.  Is there some relationship between the form the story takes and what it is about?

3) Byron's Manfred begins with an epigraph from Shakespeare's Hamlet. Is Byron's brooding Count best understood as a rewriting of Shakespeare's dour Danish prince? Identify  the most important similarities and differences between the two troubled heroes in order to construct an argument either for or against reading Byron's play as a rewriting of Shakespeare's tragedy.
This one will require a good grasp of two plays.

4) Generations of readers have noted and often been puzzled by the fact that Manfred lives in Switzerland but calls upon a series of gods from pagan Greek tradition (Nemesis) and from an Eastern religion: Zoroastrianism.  Manrfred's scenes with Arimanes, god of evil, and his fraught relationship with Astarte, his Aphrodite-like forbidden love, all create dramatic characters out of principle gods of one Eastern religion.  The prophet figure for that same religion is called Zarathustra. How helpful to understanding Byron's whole play is it to see Manfred as type of Zarathustra? Are the Zoroastrian touches in the play just so much exotic window-dressing, or are they central to understanding what this play is about?
This one will require you to choose useful secondary sources to learn about the life of Zarathustra and Zoroastrianism.

5) Pick your own topic about any work on the syllabus after Blake and through Mary Shelley.  You must put this in writing and hand it to me on paper, in class, by Monday, March 21 , so I can see that it has potential to produce a successful essay.


Feel free to discuss your developing ideas with me.