Prompt 1—Shakespeare Essay Argumentative Essay Essay Checklist: 1. Did I write an introduction with a hook, a claim, and three reasons? 2. Do I have 2-3 body paragraphs explaining each reason for my claim? 3. Do I have a conclusion that summarizes my main points and emphasizes my main lesson? 4. Does each paragraph have 3-7 sentences? 5. Did I include textual support with citations from sources? 6. Did I proofread for errors in grammar and spelling? 7. Did I list or cite my sources in correct MLA format? 8. Did you use a mainly academic tone, with one or two conversational phrases for effect?
READ: Emilia gazed out her window at the sparkling sapphire waters of the Mediterranean Sea. On most days, looking out onto the deep blue sea and thinking about the mysteries unfolding beyond their waves made her feel exhilarated, but today she wanted the still waters to turn into angry waves to mirror the turbulence she felt within her heart. Tomorrow she would be wed. She knew she was supposed to feel happy and grateful. She remembered the joy her older sister felt the day before she was married in 1427, just a few years ago. On the other hand, she also knew the despair Maria had felt since her wedding day. She took a deep breath and ranted at the sea.
“I do not understand why I have to do this. Didn’t Mama and Papa learn anything from the mistake they made with Maria, and don’t they see how unhappy she is? Why don’t they care? Bittersweet memories flood my mind as I stand in this spot. Maria and I huddled close together at this same window, staring out at the sea and dreaming about her future. We had not yet met Alfonzo, Maria’s betrothed, but Papa and Mama told us he was a wealthy merchant from a respected family. They heard he was very handsome and generous and kind to his mother, and they swore he would be a perfect match for Maria.
“I feel so foolish to think about how giddy we felt imagining what Maria’s life would be like once she was married. She would be the lady of her own household, free to do as she pleased. That is to say, she would finally have the chance to do what we both desired more than anything else. She would finally be able to see what lay beyond the vast Mediterranean Sea as she traveled the world at her new husband’s side. But, in reality, after Maria became Alfonzo’s wife, her world became smaller. Yes, Alfonzo travels all the time, but he never takes Maria with him. Instead, he leaves her to care for his mother, and Maria has to do everything according to the old woman’s rules. From how she decorates their home to how she raises their children, Maria has no power to make any decisions on her own. It was not the life our parents had been promised for their daughter, but it was too late.”
After the family had learned the truth about Alfonzo, Emilia begged her father to let her choose a husband for herself, but he rejected her plea. “That is not how the world works, my child,” he explained. “Although your happiness means everything to me, I have no sons to carry on our family name. It is the responsibility of my daughters to make connections with the right people so that our family tree can continue to blossom and thrive.”
Emilia did not think her sister was thriving. On the contrary, Maria was wilting in front of their eyes. Every time Emilia saw her sister, she seemed smaller and quieter. When her father announced that Emilia, too, would marry a man she had never met, her heart shrank with fear that her life would turn out like Maria’s had.
Meanwhile, Emilia’s wedding day was almost here, and there was nothing she could do to change her future. Emilia mused to the salty sea air. “Mama and Papa have promised that Diego is different than Alfonzo. For instance, Diego makes his swords nearby, and he must stay in town to run his shop, so he will not sail away and leave me alone. But how am I to know that he will not invent another reason to abandon me with our children? They say that he is kind and, as an illustration, they recall tales told by his apprentices about his patience and generosity, but that does not prove that he will be kind and patient with a woman. There is so much about this arrangement that I do not understand, yet there is nothing I can do to stop it. I must send my fears out into the sea and accept my fate as Diego’s wife. I do not know if Diego will be a good husband, but he may be. I must remember that I am not Maria, and he is not Alfonzo.”
At the end of this declaration, Emilia closed her eyes, bowed her head, and stepped away from the window. She needed to get some rest. Her new life would begin tomorrow.
Please note: This is not a Shakespearean text, but highlights our theme of human love and emotion. It is organized within a stream-of-consciousness soliloquy style, which can be compared to the different Shakespearean styles and forms in other texts you have read in this course. Note the writer’s use of certain connecting words and phrases to help create meaning in this complex text.