Jane Belton/Tom Murphy
Trimester I Essay: “The New Hero”
First draft, in class Wednesday November 5
Directions: Write a well-organized analytical essay that includes an introduction, at least three body paragraphs, and a conclusion. An analytical essay argues an original and powerful thesis that is supported by sufficient textual evidence. In this essay, use evidence from Sophocles’ Antigone, Plato’s Crito, The Greeks, and Cartoon History of the World to support and defend your ideas.
In Ancient Greece the traditional hero was an individual who accomplished great deeds. Achilles' love of battle and glory make him the epitome of the traditional heroic code. He makes the most of his life and would rather fight and die an early, glorious death, than retreat and live longer. However, after Athens’ defeat and loss of empire a new heroic ideal emerges. The new hero is an individual willing to live by and, if necessary, die for his or her principles. The new hero is an individual of conscience whose deeds are secondary to the commitment to his/her beliefs.
Thesis Question: In what ways do Antigone and Socrates embody the new Greek hero?
In completing your essay, you must address the following questions:
In what ways are Antigone and Socrates not viewed as heroic in the new sense of the word? For Antigone, consider the critiques of the chorus, Creon, and Ismene and for Socrates, consider the critiques of the Athenian assembly and Crito.
How do Antigone and Socrates defend and justify their decisions and actions as heroic, in other words as obeying and honoring their principles?
After evaluating the criticisms against Antigone and Socrates and their defense, do you believe Antigone and Socrates are heroes in the new sense of the word? Consider their legacies in answering this question. Did their deaths ultimately serve a greater good?
Essay Writing Guidelines
You will write a detailed outline in preparation for writing the first draft of your essay in class on Wednesday November 5. Your outline will be due Monday November 3. You will receive comments and a grade on what you complete in the time given in class (90 minutes), and will be required to revise your essay for a final grade. Your revised final essay should be 3-4 pages, typed, double-spaced and in 12 point Times New Roman Font.
Elements of the Essay
Introduction: Your introduction provides your reader with the context of your argument. Think of it as a map of the essay for the reader to use as a key to understanding your argument. Like a map, it tells your reader what to look for and shares the direction the essay will take as it develops. It It leads your reader through the ideas you will explore and ends with a thesis statement that pulls together those ideas into a coherent “theory” or argument that you will prove in your essay. Your intro should not have any plot summary. In other words, do not recount the events of the play in your intro.
Thesis: Your thesis articulates the argument for your essay. It should be specific, thoughtful, and well-written. It is one sentence that is placed at the end of your intro. Avoid writing “list-like” thesis statements that just enumerate or list what you will be talking about. Your thesis should assert the overarching theory of your essay.
II. Topic Sentences: Your topic sentences help develop your thesis. Think of them as entry points into your discussion. They help to frame your body paragraphs with the main idea that you will explore in that paragraph. Topic sentences should not repeat plot points from the text.
Body Paragraphs and Evidence: Your body paragraphs are your “think tanks.” Each body paragraph must include sufficient textual evidence to support your claims. Here is a model for how to use your quotes: At one point in the play, Creon declares that Haemon should feel “subordinate” to his “father’s will in every way” (Sophocles, lines 714-715). Notice how the evidence is made to fit into the grammatical structure of the sentence. Also notice how you can break up your evidence into smaller pieces. Here is another example that works: Creon asserts that his son should not “lose [his] sense of judgment over a woman” (Sophocles, line 723). Avoid using any long block quotes; stick to using smaller phrases and lines from significant passages.
Using Correct Parenthetical Citation:
When quoting from Antigone, place the author’s name and the line numbers in parentheses at the end your sentence (see above for examples). When quoting from the Crito makes sure to write (Plato, 1). or (Plato, 2). at the end of a sentence in which you quote. In addition, when quoting from Cartoon History of the World or The Greeks, place the title of the work in italics in parentheses at the end of your sentence. For example: Socrates led Athens to become a “haven of discussion and inquiry” (The Greeks).
Transitions: Transitions occur between sentences in paragraphs and between paragraphs themselves. Your reader should also be able to make smooth and logical connections between the ideas you express in each paragraph. Do not repeat your topic sentence or your thesis statement at the end of a paragraph. Find a way to bring thoughtful closure to your body paragraphs.
III. Conclusion: Your conclusion is not a mirror image repetition of your introduction and thesis statement. That is, it should not repeat what you wrote in your opening paragraph. Your conclusion should push your argument further. It is your opportunity to examine the larger ideas and/or the implications of your argument as a whole.
Process Piece for final essay: Write a one-page (at least two paragraphs) process piece in which you reflect on your experience both reading/viewing the texts (Antigone, Crito, The Greeks) and writing this essay. Reflect on your growth as both a reader and writer, then describe the process you went through to write this essay. What did you enjoy about the texts/not enjoy? What are you most proud of about your essay? With what are you struggling? What do you think about the argument you made? Is it convincing? What did you learn about Antigone and Socrates as you wrote this essay? What did you learn about essay writing? What do you want to work on for the next essay?