Intertextual Essays

Week 10 – Autumn holidays

What did I do?

Looked at intertextual essay structures

An intertextual essay must demonstrate:

  • a depth in knowledge of the texts and the dominant ideas that are relevant to the question.
  • evaluations of the relationships between the texts and their contexts
    • contextual aspects that have influenced the text
      • values
  • understanding of the connections/relationships between the two texts themselves

To integrate context into an essay:

  • refer to it as secondary to your main point
  • ADD the intertextual connections that relate to the question and support argument.
  • use context to convey how the text addressed a particular issue of it’s time, place, etc.

One way of structuring an intertextual essay is to start with a topic sentence, then address both texts with references to connections, then talk about the intertextual connections.


Practice Question: (completed: 21/04/2017)

‘A deeper understanding of ambition and identity emerges from pursuing the connections between King Richard III and Looking for Richard.’

Compare how these texts explore ambition and identity

From this, I can identify the istruction: compare, the catalyst: pursuing connections to find a deeper understanding, and the key ideas: ambition and identity

If I was to write an essay from this question I might address the fact that:

  • The conceptual notions of ambition and identity can be seen through the connections between the texts King Richard III by William Shakespeare and Looking for Richard by Al Pacino, through the ways in which they have portrayed the historical figure King Richard III in their varying contexts.
  • Ambition:
    • Richard III is seen as ambitious for power
      • dramatic irony of his manipulation of other characters
    • Pacino is ambitious for the success of his accurate and understandable representation of the play King Richard III
      • juxtapostion of Pacino’s acting and his proccessing the play for production; his repetition of lines as he speaks them and then acts them.
      • parallels between Pacino’s fever and Richard III growing madness/panic as the production comes to its finale?
    • INTERTEXTUAL CONNECTIONS: Pacino is appealing to the post-modern audience, making Richard III more relatable, as everyone can enjoy success and the accomplishment of one’s goal through dedication and work. Whereas Shakespeare’s play was written during Elizebethean rule, in order to please the current Monarch (a major sector of his audience) the play represents Richard III’s evil nature, his ambition brought his destruction and, acquired through deceit and manipulation, he did not deserve the throne. Shakespeare emphasised the Tudor family’s right to the throne.
  • Identity:
    • Richard III identifies as a villian
      • soliloquys + symbolism of deformities = characterisation
    • The actors of the docudrama emphatically converse about how their character is to be portrayed and how that will impact the audience’s perception of them.
      • the scene where the actress for Queen Elizabeth is arguing with the actors of her ‘sons’ (technique?)
    • INTERTEXTUAL CONNECTIONS: The modern actors strive to represent their characters effectively and accurately, in the way that Shakespeare destined them to be seen, for the audience to experience Shakespeare’s work to the full in a culture that mostly ignores his work. Shakespeare over-dramatised Richard III, making him the embodyment evil and emphasising his wrongs in order to influence the audience’s perception of the last York ruler.


From writing this skeleton I can see that I definitely need to work on my techniques, studying the texts further and finding more impactful evidence. I can also see that I lacked variation in my arguments; I repeated myself, especially when talking about Shakespeare’s context and the play itself.




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