I am looking for a topic to write a research paper on Hero and Leander. I'd like some suggestions that will yield a minimum of 10 pages.
Some topics I have considered writing about are Marlowe as a playwright, the actual story, mythology, the style, and motifs. I would appreciate any further help (especially with style and motifs).
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While I will not be able to provide you with a specific thesis idea, hopefully I can give you some advice that will help you narrow down your topic.
As a senior in college, you are probably looking for topics which would not only yield 10 pages, but ideas which would create a research paper at the argumentative level. Expository papers (even compare-contrast or cause-effect research modes) are not really of a high enough level for your grade. Because you are a senior in college, I am advising you stay away from a 10-page report on Marlow as a playwright. This is a little bit more appropriate for a low level high school research paper. Argumentative research papers require choosing a topic from such an angle that you are asking, "What will I be seeking to prove in this paper?" and, "How can I do this is a way that has not been done before?"
My suggestion is to start with some light research on Marlowe, this poem, and possibly other things he has written. Find scholarly articles written by literary critics. Instead of a basic Google search on Christopher Marlowe, for example, you will need to search for books and journal articles tagged with something more like "Christopher Marlowe Criticism." One question you may want to ask (yourself and your research) is, "What was Christopher Marlow's purpose in writing 'Hero and Leander'"? Most major literary works have been analyzed through this lens by others, so consider ways of answering this question that have not yet been explored.
Another approach as you read what others have to say about the author and the poem, is to look for ideas that you would like to explore further. In some cases, criticism of another work by the same author can be applied to the work you are specifically analzying. In this way, your paper is going to rely on critical research as well as your interpretation of the author's style, use of motifs, or other technical elements present in many of his works.
Finally, as you formulate your thesis, always keep a few questions at the forefront of your mind: What question am I arguing? What side of that argument am I presenting? What evidence do I have to prove my point?
I hope this helps. As you narrow things down further, come back to the Q&A forum here on eNotes for further advice.
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