How conscious is the speaker of his or her audience? How is the audience supposed to react to the speech?

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Directions: Choose ONE of the following questions, and respond to it in the form of a short answer essay that is 2-3 paragraphs long. You may write at greater length but only if you wish. All of the rules of good writing apply. First, make sure that your essay actually addresses the question and is not off topic. Second, make sure that you are not simply giving a plot summary but that you are performing the analysis that the question asks you to do. Third, have a clear thesis statement. Your thesis statement should be the first sentence of your essay, and it should present a clear argument (the point that you are going to prove in your essay). Fourth, have clear and appropriate topic sentences. A topic sentence is the first sentence of each paragraph. Each one should have an argument; each one should relate back to and develop the thesis statement in some important way while also telling us what point is going to be proven in that paragraph. Each paragraph should develop one and only one point. Fifth, use textual evidence to support your claims. Make sure that by the end of your paragraph, you have proven the point that you set out to prove in your topic sentence. 1.) Author-ization Every work that we have read thus far is very concerned with authorization. Some even have prefaces that allow “authors” to “author”-ize themselves. Choose at least two different texts and compare and/or contrast the rhetorical strategies the authors use to authorize themselves. Remember that rhetoric is simply using language to be persuasive. In this essay you should first simply define authorization as it is defined by these texts. Then move on to questions such as: How do authors present their claims and stories as true? Are truth claims universal or local? Generalized or contingent? What narrative, political, religious, aesthetic, or linguistic techniques do the authors use to manipulate their audiences into believing them and accepting them as authorities? Note that this essay should not read like two unrelated and separate essays. You should always be showing points of contrast and comparison between the two texts so that it is always clear how the two or more authors agree and disagree on this issue. 2. Beowulf and Audience: Andy Orchard, a Beowulf scholar has noted the following: “For a poem in which action is often held to play a major role, there is an inordinate amount of talk in Beowulf; over 1200 lines (some 38%) of the poem are taken up with around forty separate speeches.” To extend Orchard’s observation, there are also many different audiences in Beowulf who hear these speeches—dramatic audiences, intended audiences, implied audiences, real audiences, fictional audiences, etc. Analyze one of these speeches in terms of its audience. (Remember that any of the lays sung by scops are also speeches.) What effect does the audience have on what is said? How might an audience participate in the meaning or creation of the speech? How does the speaker craft his or her speech to suit his or her rhetorical (persuasive) ends? How conscious is the speaker of his or her audience? How is the audience supposed to react to the speech? How do you know? Are there different levels of audience in operation? What effect does this have? What assumptions does a speaker make about his or her audience? etc. If you wish, you may look at two different speeches to compare or contrast the roles of audiences. 3. The Predicament of the History of the Kings of Britain How does Geoffrey of Monmouth’s History of the Kings of Britain bequeath to future writers of romance not only a formula for chivalric narrative but a set of problems that will prove to be recurrent in such narratives? 4. The Joy of the Court Write an essay describing in detail the precise relationship between the Joy of the Court episode and the overall plot of Chretien de Troyes’s Erec et Enide. 5. The Bloody Sheets Examine the “bloodstained sheets” episode in Chretien de Troyes’s Lancelot (ll. 4755-5063). How should we read this episode in relation to the meaning of the poem as a whole? 6. The Episodic Geoffrey’s narrative and Chretien’s romances are often described by less sympathetic readers of medieval texts as just one damn thing after another. That is, it is often believed that epic and romance just feature a string of unrelated episodes with no relation to each other. Write a paper in which you argue against this reading, in which you make clear the principles of structural, thematic, and episodic interlace. How do disparate episodes in romance inform each other, often causing us to reframe or reconceptualize an entire character, event, theme, tone, or narrative altogether? 8. Reading Signs Discuss the nature of reading signs in at least two of Marie’s Lais. How well do characters read signs, and what conditions their success or lack thereof? How clearly does Marie craft her signs, and for what purpose? How does the interpretation of signs drive the narrative onward? What are signs largely indicative of? For example: Emotions? Thoughts? Stories? Something else? How do various societies or individuals representing societies interpret signs, and what does this say about such societies? What role does language play in shaping the sign, given the fact that we are reading in a linguistic medium? 9. Marie and Women How are women represented in at least two of Marie’s Lais? Are they portrayed in ways similar to or different from earlier romance heroines? Are they given power and agency, or are they largely passive? What is the source of their power/agency/passivity and how do they use it? Is gender essential or constructed in the Lais? How so? Are they admirable or loathed? Be specific. What specifically makes female characters appear in such ways, and what is the significance of these gender roles? Are these lais feminist texts? Why or why not?

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