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Ceofy

Urgent Help with IB Commentary

Hello!

Originally at the end of Semester 1 my English teacher did not recommend me to take English IB, which would prevent me from taking full IB. I went and talked to her, and she said that the main problem was one of the commentaries that I wrote, on an excerpt of Shakespeare's Romeo and Juliet. She said that if I could rewrite it and then hand it in to her tomorrow, she might reconsider the recommendation.

I've rewritten the commentary and I've had some of my classmates check it over, but we're all just pre-IB English students and they basically know what I know.

I was wondering whether someone with more experience in this area might be willing to look it over for me, and to help me perfect it. This is my last shot at being able to do full IB, so any help at all in any form would be greatly appreciated.

Here is the commentary. It is written on Act 3, Scene 5, lines 1-36 of Romeo and Juliet, the link to which can be found here:

http://nfs.sparknotes.com/romeojuliet/page_186.html

Thank you in advance for helping me!

The Power of Love

In Act 3, Scene 5 of William Shakespeare’s play Romeo and Juliet, Shakespeare explores the meaning of love and the things that love will motivate people to do. The first part of this scene describes Romeo and Juliet waking up together after their wedding night, and their unwillingness to leave each other. At the beginning of the excerpt, the characters speak to each other using a peaceful and quiet tone. Throughout the excerpt, as night turns to day, dark turns to light, an imaginary nightingale turns into an all-too-real morning lark, and the person who is insisting that Romeo must leave shifts from Romeo to Juliet, the tone becomes increasingly urgent and the lovers words to each other become increasingly despairing.

At the beginning of the scene, Juliet wishes for Romeo to ignore the rising sun and stay with her, telling him that “It was the nightingale and not the lark, that pierced the fearful hollow of thine ear,” and “Yond light is not daylight, I know it, I.” In the first quote, the words “pierced” and “fearful” are used to highlight the couple’s reluctance to accept the fact that the sun is rising, and in the second quote, Juliet’s adamant, redundant “I know it, I” demonstrates that she is trying fervently to convince herself that she truly believes that it is not yet morning. Despite their disagreement, the lovers’ language remains very lyrical and sweet; it is expressed in iambic pentameter. Romeo uses very gentle and poetic language to try to convince Juliet that it is, indeed, morning, calling the stars “Night’s candles” and personifying day as a figure who “stands tiptoe on the misty mountain-tops.” Juliet also uses personification in her speech, saying that “It (the daylight) is some meteor that the sun exhaled to be to thee this night a torchbearer.” Juliet’s behaviour shows that although she is aware of what will happen to Romeo if he stays too long in Verona, she is still unwilling to let him go because of her love for him.

In response to Juliet’s desire to keep him close, Romeo abandons his sense of self-preservation and agrees that “It is not day.” He says, “Let me be ta’en; let me be put to death,” and “Come death and welcome. Juliet wills it so.” These hyperbole in part demonstrate Romeo’s cavalier attitude towards his death penalty, which shows that he is confident that he will escape Verona in time and that he and Juliet will soon be reunited. This is an example of dramatic irony as it was foretold in the prologue of the play that Romeo and Juliet would commit suicide together, while Romeo remains unaware of this. These quotes also show the extent of Romeo’s love and trust for Juliet, in that he is willing to entertain the possibility of death simply because “Juliet wills it so.” He continues to use romantic personification in his discourse and alludes to Greek mythology while referring to the light of dawn as “The pale reflex of Cynthia’s brow,” Cynthia being the Greek goddess of the moon. Romeo is now doing as Juliet had done and is attempting to convince himself that it is not yet time for him to go. This shows that Romeo is willing to risk his life in order to stay close to Juliet because of his love for her.

As if reminded that her longing to have Romeo with her could very well result in her death, Juliet becomes anxious for him to escape Verona. Her distress is shown in her line, “It is, it is. Hie hence, begone, away!” She repeats “It is” twice and “hie hence”, “begone”, and “away” are all synonyms for each other. In her anxiety, she cannot repeat herself enough. This line drastically and immediately changes the tone of the conversation from one of longing and love to one of agitation and fear. Juliet admits to herself that it is the lark singing outside her window and not the nightingale. In her love for Romeo, it appears that Juliet has more will to preserve Romeo’s life than Romeo does. In order to defend Romeo, she is willing to make what is arguably a lover’s biggest sacrifice, which is giving up the one they love.

The excerpt ends with Romeo’s line, “More light and light, more dark and dark our woes.” This is a comparison between the “light” that Juliet and Romeo experienced during the night, and the “dark” that the couple must face now that it is light. It also foreshadows the fact that the story of Romeo and Juliet will not have a happy ending, but will rather grow “more dark and dark”, until it culminates in the lovers’ suicides near the end of the play.

Through this excerpt, Shakespeare demonstrates the effect that love has on the actions of human beings. He shows Romeo and Juliet’s love for each other through the way they act towards each other and their terms of endearment for each other, such as “love” and “my soul”. At the beginning of the excerpt, Romeo wishes to leave, in order to preserve his own life, and Juliet wishes for her lover to stay. At the end, Romeo wishes to stay, in order to make Juliet happy, and Juliet wishes for her lover to leave, in order to save his life. Each of these contradictory stances are fuelled by the couple’s passionate love for each other, as is their double suicide at the end of the play. In this excerpt, Shakespeare demonstrates not only the irrationality of love, but also its tenacity and innate selflessness, as each lover defies his and her initial desires in order to protect the desires of the other.

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Hello!

Originally at the end of Semester 1 my English teacher did not recommend me to take English IB, which would prevent me from taking full IB. I went and talked to her, and she said that the main problem was one of the commentaries that I wrote, on an excerpt of Shakespeare's Romeo and Juliet. She said that if I could rewrite it and then hand it in to her tomorrow, she might reconsider the recommendation.

I've rewritten the commentary and I've had some of my classmates check it over, but we're all just pre-IB English students and they basically know what I know.

I was wondering whether someone with more experience in this area might be willing to look it over for me, and to help me perfect it. This is my last shot at being able to do full IB, so any help at all in any form would be greatly appreciated.

You must be in 10th grade, right? I think it's pretty good. I'm not all that good at commentaries but it looks good to me. hopefully he other guys at IBS will comment on this.

and i'm not sure if this is a problem or not, but i think you've used too many quotes. If you can't get rid of them that's fine. I think your teacher should be satisfied with this.

Good luck for the whole IB thing but just remember that everything happens for a reason so there's better things for you in case it doesn't work out. Although i don't see why it shouldn't work out with this commentary. (Y)

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It's a bit off in places in terms of what you're saying and I think your interpretation leaps to a few odd conclusions, but generally I'd say that commentary ought to get you into your English class, especially as you'll then have 2 years to work on it!

A few pointers would be that you need to follow the format PEE - point, example, explanation. You have a lot of examples but your explanations aren't always there/are quite vague and generally you make your point after you've done the example. If you follow the PEE format (in that order), your essay will read a lot better because the person reading it will know what your example is an example of from the word go and it'll look like a more logical structured analysis.

Also some of your interpretation is odd, as I said. For instance, "At the beginning of the excerpt, the characters speak to each other using a peaceful and quiet tone." ...how do you know this?! It's written words, not a film, and Shakespeare wasn't big on stage directions. So I'm not sure why you say this but it doesn't start off well because it's not actually true. I mean it might be, depending on who is acting, but it's not always true from the text.

"Throughout the excerpt, as night turns to day, dark turns to light, an imaginary nightingale turns into an all-too-real morning lark, and the person who is insisting that Romeo must leave shifts from Romeo to Juliet, the tone becomes increasingly urgent and the lovers words to each other become increasingly despairing." - this super long sentence doesn't finish with any kind of point. It is unclear why you've just narrated a synopsis of what happens. Never do anything in your essay where there's no apparent explanation for doing it. All it takes is for you to either remove this or add in some justification for including it.

"In the first quote, the words “pierced” and “fearful” are used to highlight the couple’s reluctance to accept the fact that the sun is rising" <--- are they really though? Yes R&J are reluctant but the words show their fear at the sun rising, they don't actually do anything to demonstrate reluctance. This is what I mean by an odd interpretation, it's not wrong to say that they seem reluctant, but that fact doesn't actually tie up with the parts you've picked out.

"Juliet’s behaviour shows that although she is aware of what will happen to Romeo if he stays too long in Verona, she is still unwilling to let him go because of her love for him." <--- you don't give any evidence for this and it doesn't follow on from the personification, which you never really drew any point or conclusion from.

Anyway the above are just a few things where it doesn't quite read perfectly, not going to go through the whole thing but with any luck you can see from those the sorts of areas where the commentary is a little weaker than it could be. It is still definitely a passable essay though! Remember that if your topic is the theme of love, you've got to keep referring to it throughout the essay, not get lost in describing what's going on. The whole essay needs a strong argument running through it, and for that you've got to keep returning to a central pillar of thought which you're trying to persuade whoever is reading your essay that they ought to agree with.

I hope that makes sense.

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Thank you so much for your advice!

I've reworked the essay, so here it is if anyone would be willing to look over it for me again.

The second last paragraph is in square brackets because I wasn't sure whether I should keep it. It doesn't fit in very well with the central idea of the essay, but it's about the last line in the excerpt, which is a very symbolic and foreshadowy and generally important line that I'm not sure I should just ignore.

Any feedback of any kind is welcome and much appreciated. Thank you in advance.

Here's the essay:

For Better or For Worse

In Act 3, Scene 5 of William Shakespeare’s play Romeo and Juliet, Shakespeare explores the power and meaning of love and the things that love will motivate people to do. The first part of this scene describes Romeo and Juliet waking up together after their wedding night, and their unwillingness to leave each other. At the beginning of the excerpt, the tone is quiet and peaceful. Throughout the excerpt, as night turns to day, dark turns to light, an imaginary nightingale turns into an all-too-real morning lark, and the person who is insisting that Romeo must leave shifts from Romeo to Juliet, the tone becomes increasingly urgent and the couple’s words to each other become increasingly despairing. Despite this, every action they take seems to be ultimately motivated by love. In this excerpt, Shakespeare shows that love is a powerful force that can motivate human beings to do anything.

At the beginning of the scene, Juliet abandons reasonable thought and tries to convince Romeo to stay with her, despite the fact that he must leave Verona before anyone discovers him, on pain of death. She tells him that “It was the nightingale and not the lark, that pierced the fearful hollow of thine ear,” and “Yond light is not daylight, I know it, I.” In the first quote, the words “pierced” and “fearful” are used to highlight the couple’s fear of the rising sun, and in the second quote, Juliet’s adamant, redundant “I know it, I” demonstrates that she is trying fervently to convince herself that she truly believes that it is not yet morning. Despite their disagreement, the lovers’ language remains very lyrical and sweet; it is expressed in iambic pentameter. Romeo uses very gentle and poetic language to try to convince Juliet that it is, indeed, morning, calling the stars “Night’s candles” and personifying day as a figure who “stands tiptoe on the misty mountain-tops.” Juliet also uses personification, saying that “It (the daylight) is some meteor that the sun exhaled to be to thee this night a torchbearer.” This adds a poetic, romantic feeling to her speech, which is one of the ways in which Romeo and Juliet’s love for each other is demonstrated. It seems that Juliet’s love for Romeo will not allow for him to leave, and she would rather delude herself into believing that it is not morning than be parted from Romeo.

In response to this, Romeo shows his love for Juliet by abandoning his sense of self-preservation and agreeing to risk his life in order to stay with her. He announces, “Let me be ta’en; let me be put to death,” and “Come death and welcome. Juliet wills it so.” These hyperbole in part demonstrate Romeo’s cavalier attitude towards his death penalty, which shows that he is confident that he will escape Verona in time and that he and Juliet will soon be reunited. This is an example of dramatic irony as it was foretold in the prologue of the play that Romeo and Juliet would commit suicide together, while Romeo remains unaware of this. He continues to use romantic personification in his discourse and alludes to Greek mythology while referring to the light of dawn as “The pale reflex of Cynthia’s brow,” Cynthia being the Greek goddess of the moon. These quotes continue to show the extent of Romeo’s love and trust for Juliet, in that he is willing to entertain the possibility of death simply because “Juliet wills it so.” Romeo is now doing as Juliet had done and is attempting to convince himself that it is not yet time for him to go. This shows that, because of Romeo’s love for Juliet, he is willing to humour her and stay with her a little longer, even at the risk of losing his life.

As if reminded that her longing to have Romeo with her could very well result in her death, Juliet’s position on the issue of whether Romeo should stay or go makes a sudden change. Because of Juliet’s love for Romeo, she becomes anxious for him to preserve his life and escape Verona. Her distress is shown in her line, “It is, it is. Hie hence, begone, away!” She repeats “It is” twice, referring to the fact that “it is” daytime, and “hie hence”, “begone”, and “away” are all synonyms for each other. In her anxiety, she cannot repeat herself enough. This line drastically and immediately changes the tone of the conversation from one of longing and love to one of agitation and love. Her line, “Some say the lark makes sweet division. This doth not so, for she divideth us,” shows that although she is still upset at the fact that Romeo must leave, she has accepted the fact. It appears that Juliet now has more will to preserve Romeo’s life than Romeo does. Because of her love for Romeo, she is willing to make what is arguably a lover’s biggest sacrifice, which is giving up the one they cherish.

[The excerpt ends with Romeo’s line, “More light and light, more dark and dark our woes.” This is a comparison between the “light” that Juliet and Romeo experienced during the night, and the “dark” that the couple must face now that it is light. It also foreshadows the fact that the story of Romeo and Juliet will not have a happy ending, but will rather grow “more dark and dark”, until it culminates in the lovers’ suicides near the end of the play.]

Through this excerpt, Shakespeare demonstrates the effect that love has on the actions of human beings. He shows Romeo and Juliet’s love for each other through the way they act towards each other and their terms of endearment for each other, such as “love” and “my soul”. At the beginning of the excerpt, Romeo wishes to leave, in order to preserve his own life, and Juliet wishes for her lover to stay. At the end, Romeo wishes to stay, in order to make Juliet happy, and Juliet wishes for her lover to leave, in order to save his life. Each of these contradictory stances are fuelled by the same passionate love that the couple has for each other, as is their double suicide at the end of the play. In this excerpt, Shakespeare demonstrates not only the irrationality of love, but also its tenacity and innate selflessness, as each lover defies his and her initial desires in order to protect the desires of the other. He shows that love not only overpowers the more negative aspects of human nature, such as selfishness, but also the positive ones, such as self-preservation. In the end, love is the most powerful human emotion, and transcends all else, regardless of the consequences, for better or for worse.

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