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What are some good topics or thesis statements for a research paper on Idylls of the...

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sparrow514 | eNoter

Posted February 13, 2012 at 9:35 AM via web

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What are some good topics or thesis statements for a research paper on Idylls of the King?

I really hate having to pose this question to an online community, but I am totally blank. It can be a broad topic, I just need some ideas from anyone that has written on Idylls of the King or read something that sparked interest. ANYTHING suggested would be greatly appreciated.

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belarafon | High School Teacher | (Level 2) Educator Emeritus

Posted February 13, 2012 at 9:56 AM (Answer #1)

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Depending on what class level this paper is for, your topic could be as simple or complicated as you choose. The most important factor is actually reading the entire work; the full text of Idylls of the King, by Alfred, Lord Tennyson, is linked below. The study material here on eNotes will help if you find the poem too obscure.

Since the poem is a long-form story about King Arthur and his life, you have a multitude of character analysis to choose from; Tennyson expanded on previous Arthurian works by Sir Thomas Malory and others, so you could take a single aspect of Arthurian legend -- such as the quest for the Holy Grail -- and compare it through Tennyson, Malory, White, etc.

Remember that a thesis statement for a research paper should be a statement that you can prove or disprove. An example would be: "Tennyson's Idylls, through its use of blank verse, allows King Arthur a mysterious quality instead of the factual prose of Malory." You would then use quotes from the texts, and if the statement doesn't prove true, show that in the conclusion.

Another topic might be the moral codes of Arthur throughout the poem. Unlike other works, Tennyson's Arthur is concerned more with work-at-hand rather than dreams of glory; most works show Arthur riding out to seek the Holy Grail and leaving his kingdom behind, while Tennyson's poem shows Arthur berating the knights who left their responsibilities to seek glory.

Finally, most interpretations show Tennyson's work as a metaphor for Victorian society. From repression of sexuality and gender roles to class warfare, there should be a lot of material to work with on that topic.

Good luck!

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