Applying Concepts (100 points): a short essay (roughly 500-750 words or 2-3 pages, double-spaced) in which you will make a claim about Shakespeare’s play and/or Joss Whedon’s Buffy the Vampire Slayer (your choice).
“Jeffery Jerome Cohen suggests that monsters reflect our desires, especially desires involving freedom or socially unacceptable choices. Using Shakespeare’s Titus Andronicus and/or Joss Whedon’s Buffy the Vampire Slayer for support, discuss the ways in which monsters can function as symbols of desire. What kinds of monsters do we see in the text(s) you’ve chosen, and how do they reflect the idea of desire? In what different ways might these monsters be attractive, and what does that tell us about larger cultural desires and assumptions (for instance, the assumption that romantic love is important, or that social acceptance is important)? You should have a clear thesis, no later than your second paragraph, that makes a statement about who or what is “monstrous” in the play and/or television show and how those monsters connect to the idea of desire, then use your body paragraphs for evidence and support. Have a good general knowledge of plot points and important characters and concepts, so that you can give examples.”

Concepts you should know:

Primary sources (know the major plot points, main characters, author/title/approximate decade of publication/production of primary sources):
-Shakespeare’s Titus Andronicus
-Joss Whedon’s Buffy the Vampire Slayer (episodes one & two: “Welcome to the Hellmouth” & “The Harvest”)

Secondary sources (know the main concepts and important ideas):
-Cohen’s seven suggested theses about the functions of monsters
-Machiavelli’s advice for princes about warfare, fear versus love, generosity versus miserliness, and not keeping one’s word
-King’s reasons for why people enjoy horror movies, especially why he thinks dark stories can provide emotional release
-Jefferson’s arguments about when revolution is justified and what makes an unjust ruler (what are some specific reasons he cites?)
-Leggatt’s argument that Shakespeare’s play initially sets up a distinction between Rome (“us,” as we initially identify with the Romans as main characters) and the Other or outsider, only to dissolve those distinctions by the end of the play, implying that there’s no real difference, especially in shared violence
-Freud’s definition of the uncanny
-Aristotle’s definition of the happy man, and why happiness requires external factors as well as internal
-Hsun Tzu’s distinction between the gentleman and the petty man, what people can do to improve themselves, and his reasons for believing that people have evil natures

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