Figure 65: Essay Excerpt on the Theme of Disloyalty in Cymbeline, William Shakespeare

Below is an excerpt that falls under the comment “Unclear.”

You may access the comment by clicking on the “U” category or by typing the title into the search box.

You may print the excerpt for class discussions.

In the following sample excerpt, the student applies four different types of themes: disloyalty, expectation, creation, and loyalty. The student doesn’t establish clear goals for writing the essay. Therefore, the paper doesn’t reflect a single purpose. Let’s read the excerpt.

Sample Excerpt

The theme of disloyalty is evident in the play and it takes many forms. From parental to marital, disobedience is questioned and authority challenged. Expectation is never allowed respect and creation, itself, altogether becomes a problem for some characters in the play. Loyalty also shifts its focus as well.  Overall, disloyalty manifests itself in the following ways.

Figure 65: Essay Excerpt on the “Theme of Disloyalty in Cymbeline,” William Shakespeare


1) How can the theme of disloyalty take a form?

2) “Expectation” is not a person.  How can expectation “expect” respect?

3) How does “creation” become a problem for some characters in the play?  What problem do the characters have with “creation”?

4) What is “creation,” or what does it mean in the play?  Are the words “expectation” and “creation” used in the play?  Are these appropriate themes?

Revision Considerations

What makes the student’s analysis “unclear” is the student hasn’t defined how she will use the keyword “disloyalty.” It appears that the reference to other words will serve as definitions for “disloyalty.” In addition, the student also applies the meanings of contemporary words to a dated text.

With this in mind, don’t apply concepts that are not already present in the work itself. In other words, stay within the context of the work. The author provides ample words and phrasing to use for evaluation. Bringing in foreign terms will only confuse the reader and you won’t maintain the integrity of the text.

Group Activity

1) Reread Shakespeare’s work.

2) Review the comment “Ambiguous (Revision Plan).”

3) Develop a revision plan for the student’s analysis. Use the following questions and suggestions as guides for revision planning:

a) What are the key issues with the student’s thesis?

b) Based upon the student’s claim, what is the appropriate textual evidence? In other words, in reference to what the student writes, where can we find this information within Shakespeare’s text?

c) If the student’s analysis doesn’t reflect a true reference to any section of the play, then highlight this error within your revision plan. Find an appropriate section to validate the student’s claims.

d) Based upon your understanding of the literary work, rewrite the student’s thesis. Remove contemporary wording and phrasing that do not reflect the time period.

e) Choose a theme. If “disloyalty” is an appropriate theme of the canon, then use it to connect sections of the play. Develop parallels.

f) If “disloyalty” isn’t appropriate, based upon the canon, develop a theme, connect sections, and include parallels.

For an extended explanation, see the comment “Explain the Parallel Here.”

Copyright 2011 Regina Y. Favors. All Rights Reserved.

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