This engaging, argumentative essay assignment is designed to heighten and enhance students’ analytical and communication abilities by comparing protagonists from two dramas: William Shakespeare’s Macbeth and Aaron Sorkin’s The West Wing (“Two Cathedrals” episode).
Students will tackle this question:
“Who is the more influential character, Lady Macbeth
or Dolores Landingham?”
NOTE: Though not required, it is recommended that students begin the entire analytical process by experiencing the Literary Analysis Meets The West Wing exercise (see separate listing) where they partake in general analysis of the “Two Cathedrals” episode. This will provide helpful context and equip students well for any future analysis or other pursuits related to these works and characters. So, the recommended sequence of exercises would be:
- Literary Analysis Meets The West Wing
- Lady Macbeth Meets Her Match?
This essay exercise encourages students to select and argue a highly subjective position involving nebulous language, thereby forcing them to define elements and dig deep into character analyses to support their positions. Students must not only develop criteria for what “influential” means, but also analyze these two significant characters whose contexts and themes converge and diverge in compelling ways.