Analyzing Plays

Use 12 font in Times New Roman with one-inch margins.
Topic: Analyze two plays we have read by choosing ONE of the following topics for a literary analysis essay. Provide equal treatment for each play in the essay. Refer to the text as a play (place in italics) and the writer as a playwright. Use specific examples and details to support your position along with direct quotations from each play.

1. Edward Bok Lee says, “Art can show you the interior of another person’s life and soul, if only just for a few minutes” (1272). Apply this quote to two of the following: El Santo Americano, Susan Glaspell’s Trifles, and David Henry Hwang's The Sound of a Voice. The genre of drama is the "art" in this case.

2. According to Oscar Wilde, “In this world there are only two tragedies: one is not getting what one wants, and the other is getting it.” Write an essay in which you analyze how this assertion relates to the scene from Christopher Marlowe’s Doctor Faustus and Jane Martin’s Beauty. Please also include material from the end of the play linked to the module.

3. How do David Henry Hwang's The Sound of a Voice and Edward Bok Lee's El Santo Americano demonstrate the theme of illusion and reality? The characters of each play misunderstand each other on multiple levels with grave outcomes. What is the illusion and what is reality? Both playwrights are interested in the convergence of language, history, and memory.

4. In David Ives's Sure Thing and Jane Martin's Beauty, what is comic? What is serious? How are these plays proof of his statement that "comedy is just tragedy without the sentimentality"? (891)


The title, author, and date of publication
Some historical or geographical background if relevant
A brief summary of the works to provide the reader with context
A thesis that will guide you as writer regarding what your essay will discuss

Writing Tips:

Thesis Revision: State your claim about the two plays and add the points that you plan to use and discuss in your essay, such as the theme. What are the aspects of the plays that you discussed in your essay? How does your analysis of these aspects support the claim you made about the two plays? Review your outline to determine the points you will add to complete your thesis statement.

Effective organization: You may compare and contrast the plays in each body paragraph OR analyze one play and then transition into the other play and make similar points for a cohesive flow.

Transition smoothly between ideas: Transitional words or phrases can express various relationships between ideas. Some common examples are “In addition”, “Moreover”, and “Furthermore” to indicate that you are adding to the previous idea, and “On the other hand” and “However” to show that the two ideas are contrasting.

Remember to use a block quote if you cite two or more characters: Set the quote apart from the text with two tabs and keep it double-spaced. Place the names of characters in all capital letters followed by a period. Sentences after the first line should be three spaces in as follows:

FAUSTUS. Think’st thou that Faustus is so fond to imagine,

That after this life there is any pain?

No, these are trifles, and mere old wives’ tales.

MEPHISTOPHILIS. But I am an instance to prove the contrary,

For I tell thee I am damned, and now in Hell! (2.1.131-135)

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