Literature essay ideasI have read The Odyssey, Agamemnon, Madea and The Aeneid of Vergil.  From these literature works, what would be some different ideas or topics for an essay?

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lmetcalf's profile pic

lmetcalf | High School Teacher | (Level 3) Senior Educator

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You could explore motivations of characters are how successfully each of the characters achieved his or her goals. Which motivations are pure? Which are tainted with something more sinister? Who achieves the best outcome? How do you define a "good outcome"? Do any of the protagonists share similar motivations?  Those would probably make for the tightest or most focused essay.

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

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Comparing and contrasting characters always provides support that a reader understands a character. Therefore, you could easily examine the protagonists and compare/contrast them. Another suggestion would be to compare and contrast both the antagonists and protagonists in the stories. One last suggestion would be to examine the choices made, or the lessons learned, in the texts.

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marbar57 | Elementary School Teacher | (Level 3) Associate Educator

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I think you need to find out for sure whether you have to use all four works or just one and plan from there.  If you need all four, I think you should look at similarities in characters, themes, or ideals between the four.  Then narrow it down to just one thing that you want to write about.  You could do a comparison and contrast essay in which you show similarities and/or differences between four things.  Or, you could pick a character trait you think all four have and do a persuasive essay in which you try to persuade your readers to see your viewpoint. There are so many possibilities here and it's really exciting to contemplate!

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wannam | High School Teacher | (Level 3) Educator

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I agree that you will need to narrow this topic down.  Pick one work and one specific theme or character from that work.  If you must include all four literary pieces, pick one theme or one character that reoccurs in each piece.  You might discuss how each piece reveals something different about that character or theme.  It would be helpful to create some type of outline or brainstorm before you begin.  You will want to be able to really focus on a narrow idea if you are covering four different works in one essay.

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readerofbooks | College Teacher | (Level 2) Educator Emeritus

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What a great assignment. A very interesting topic would be on the idea of revenge. If you think about it, all four works have an element of revenge. Odyssey wants revenge on the suitors, Medea want revenge on Jason, Aeneas wants revenge on Turnus, and Clytemnestra wants revenge on her husband. If you compare and contrast these four episode, it could lead to a great paper. You might want to think about what the similarities and differences are. If you want, you can also ask why these differences exists. That would be very fruitful.

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accessteacher | High School Teacher | (Level 3) Distinguished Educator

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The answer to this question depends a lot on the actual remit you have to fulfill. If you need to include all four works in your essay, then a compare/contrast might be a suitable topic to cover, with a focus on the main protagonists and how they are similar and different. You might like to focus on the various flaws that are revealed about the central characters in the various works.

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vangoghfan | College Teacher | (Level 2) Educator Emeritus

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Can you choose just one of these works as your focus, or does the essay have to deal with all four?  If the former, you may want to focus on one particular character or episode and discuss how important that character or episode is to the work as a whole.  How would the work be differ if that character or episode were absent?  Would anyone even notice?  Or you might want to choose one particular passage and discuss how and why that passage is memorable and effective (or unmemorable and ineffective). Another possibility would be to examine Aristotle's ideas about tragedies and epics and discuss any or all of these works in relations to those ideas (ideas that can be found in his Poetics).

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lifeinlove | Student, Undergraduate | (Level 1) Valedictorian

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First, thank you all for your different ideas. So I have picked a my topic which is to compare and contrast Euripedes Madea with Senaca's Madea. I will discuss how Euripedes builds more sympathy on his audience for his Madea than Senaca does. Any Ideas? Thanks in advance!

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lifeinlove | Student, Undergraduate | (Level 1) Valedictorian

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I don't have to include all of them in the assigment. I can pick one, two or all four. Any topic as long as is from at least one of the four books.

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