I want to compare Prince Hamlet and Antigone. In the introduction should write the summary of the play?
I want to compare and contrast these characters of Shakespeare and Sophocles by looking at their strengths and weaknesses, how each of them seeks to establish justice when it goes against the law. Are there any references I can mention at the end of my papers? I don't know how to write the introduction of such paper? Is it necessary to write the summary of both plays in the introduction or what? Please help me. Thank you very much
I think that the first point of reference has to be the assignment itself that your instructor has given. If this specifies what has to be done, such as writing a plot summary, then I believe you should do so because it is expected of you. Having said this, I speak with full honesty when I say that I think it really takes away from your paper if you go over the summary of each play in the outset of your writing. Given the fact that you are writing the paper for an audience that has some understanding of the play, to summarize both will be lengthy and will cause your paper to lost focus. You might be spending two pages of writing talking about elements and not even deal with the topic of justice. I personally don't support such a move in student writing.
If your focus is the "justice against the law" angle, I would spend some time in talking about how justice and seeking it is a vital element in much of literature or how the topic of justice is something that has been around in literature for quite a while. Sophocles and Shakespeare through their works offer their own vision of justice in contrasting it with the law. I would probably talk about how both works address the idea of human freedom and that there is much within this in terms of how one pursues and seeks justice. In dealing with this in the introduction, you might be able to close with your idea of how both characters seek to attain justice even though it goes against the law or how both see the law as presently constructed as denying a sense of justice. As for the ending references, I would think that your topic is so powerful in terms of thought that it would be artificial for you to seek to wrap it in an arbitrary manner at the end. Perhaps, your ending could be that both works cause the reader to think about the nature of justice and the law, offering more questions than answers.
As you know very well that an Introduction is supposed to introduce the subject under discussion. Writing down mere summaries would be rather diffusing. Introduction should be more focussed. Beginning with a few comments on the two plays and their authors, you should highlight the problematic of justice, the battle between an individual and the state, the question of political morality, the paradoxes of relationships and power etc. You may also suggest how the protagonists are coparable and yet different: they belong to different times and spaces, they are different in respect of sexual status, even their battles for justice/law are different. Your Introduction should consist of the general frame of reference as well as the particular focus of investigation.