Entering a Critical Conversation

After completing my historical contextualization and receiving feedback from my instructor, I felt like my claim still needed work. I also knew that writing an entirely new essay would only distract me from my attempt to situate my work in a critical conversation.

I started my work with research. While I had a selection of sources that were provided by my professor in the context of the class, I chose to reach out and do my own research. I wanted to see what other work was out there, especially since I was looking to revamp my claim. I found a piece by Italian scholar, Giulio Marra. Since I was discussing the expectations of the theater commenting on the structures of comedy and tragedy his work was compelling and seemed to bring a new angle to my work. This led me to rework my claim so that I was focusing less on Anti-theatricalism and more on how Shakespeare uses the text to rebel from a social norm.

I then brought my first draft to a peer. They suggested that I include another historical source since I had abandoned Crosse and the anti-theatricalist ideas. We thought that including evidence from another Shakespeare play may help to discuss the way that the structures of comedy and tragedy work on stage. You can see these revisions in my second draft.

After receiving instructor feedback, I realized that many of the changes I made were not successful in clarifying my claim. The idea of tragedy and comedy as structures that control the play did not integrate well as I discussed the power of the audience. What I turned in was difficult to follow and had neglected some of the helpful work I had done in previous essays.

I returned to the basic ideas that I had discussed in the earlier drafts of my historical contextualization essay. I put Crosse back into my argument and worked out a more refined and focused version of my claim and close reading.

My instructor also pointed out some issues with the reliability and accessibility of the source as a whole. After a little digging, I realized that, besides the copy I had printed initially, I was also unable to locate this source. My documentation of my research process was not sufficient to prove that this source was done by a reputable scholar. More than that though, as I mentioned above, the ideas presented by this scholar did not help my argument. I abandoned Marra and turned to Kermode who offered claims that were more along the lines of my intended argument.

I then turned to another peer with a third draft for one more round of feedback. This helped me to really polish the essay and add the finishing touches to make it feel more academic

 Check out my final draft here.