Skip to main content Skip to navigation

first assessed essay 2017-18

Write an essay of 2,500 words in response to one of the following questions. Your essay should be submitted by noon on Tuesday of Week 4, Term 2.

1. “Oh, to vex me, contraryes meet in one” (John Donne). What oppositions arise in the religious poetry of Donne and/or Herbert, and how do they resolve these issues? You must discuss at least three poems in detail.


2. “These things are but toys” (Bacon, “Of Masques and Triumphs”). How trivial is the early seventeenth century masque OR the literature of the Cavalier Poets?


3. How are ideas of perfection and imperfection presented in seventeenth-century country house poetry? Discuss at least three poems.


4. Do Milton’s Poems (1645) offer a critique of Cavalier poetry? Discuss at least three poems in detail.


5. “It wanted a full and understanding auditory” (Webster, on The White Devil). What does Webster teach us about education and intelligence in The White Devil?


6. “I ha’ known men ha’ been insufficient, but women can play their parts’ (Bird in a Cage, 3.3.36-7). Discuss the nature of female performance in Shirley’s play.


7. Discuss the presentation of nature and artifice in Marvell’s poetry. Discuss at least three poems in detail.


8. Compose your own title. If you choose to do this, you must agree the title with your tutor beforehand.