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knee
04-07-2009, 10:16 PM
I have to write an argumentive essay on As You Like It and I'm not a particularly opinionated person. I can't come up with a topic! Any suggestions?

Beewulf
04-08-2009, 04:35 PM
Hi knee,

An argumentative essay is not one in which you are required to bicker or quarrel; rather, an argumentative essay requires the writer to present a claim (or argument) and then explain and defend that claim using reason and evidence. Ideally, a claim should be original, not self evident, and offer an answer to an interpretative question for which there can be more than one legitimate response. Avoid solipsistic claims (e.g., those that begin, "I think the reason that Rosalind dressess like a man is . . .) because they cannot be contested. Revise the claim to make the proof of the argument rest outside the writer, "Rosalind dresses like a man because . . ."

Here are some interpretative questions for As You Like It that might suggest a topic and or claim:

What might Touchstone hope to gain by going with Rosalind and Celia into the Forest of Arden?

Duke Frederick's seizure of power is an inversion of established order and hierarchy. Does Shakespeare include other examples of inversion in the play, and if so, what point could he be making?

What about Jacques' melancholy could make him a danger to society?

In what way do Amien's songs reinforce or contradict important themes or events in the play?

What do Orlando and Rosalind learn about love as they carry out their "courtship"?