On a separate piece of paper, write an essay in which you discuss the play

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Critical Lens Essays
Directions: On a separate piece of paper, write an essay in which you discuss the play Romeo and Juliet1, by William Shakespeare, using the quote provided. In your essay, explain what the quote means, agree OR disagree with it, and support your opinion using specific examples of literary elements in the play. Be sure to include ALL of the required elements (see checklist).


Critical Lens will go HERE.


Did you

  • Mention the title and author? (intro)

  • Explain what the quote means in your own words? (intro)

  • Agree or disagree with the quote? (intro)

  • Supported your opinion using examples from the play? (body)

  • Make specific reference to literary terms (for example: theme, characterization, setting, point of view, irony, etc.) to prove your point? (body)

  • Organize your ideas in a three-paragraph structure? (intro, body, conclusion)

TIP: start your introduction with the quote!

Tips for writing the Critical Lens Essay

Here is a formula for writing the critical lens introduction.

Restate the “critical lens”. This statement means _______________. It is a (true OR false) statement (pick one!). Two pieces of literature that support this idea are ____________ by ________, and ________________ by _______. Last sentence: something about the literary elements you will use….characters, events, etc. that support it, WITHOUT being too specific.

“Readers can learn as much about life from the villains of literature as from the heroes.” This quote means that people learn more from the bad guys in books than from the good guys. This is an incorrect statement. The hero in a story is there to BE an example of good behavior that readers can learn from, and try to be like. Two works of literature that support this statement are The Odyssey by Homer, and “Tortoise Weeps” by Marella Sands. Readers learn much more about proper behavior from Odysseus and Frog Spring than they do from the villains in these two stories.

Body Paragraphs:


  2. OUTLINE your body paragraphs before writing.

  3. Use specific details from the story/novel/play/poem to support your ideas. I MUST be able to tell that you’ve read and understood the piece of literature that you’re talking about!

Conclusion: restate titles, authors, Critical Lens, and wrap up your essay with a new thought.

1 This example comes from a classroom test. On the Regents Exams, there will be no suggested work listed, and the writer must use two examples from literature.

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