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OCR A2 F663 Drama and Poetry Pre-1800 | Section B: Drama and Poetry

Paul Merrell | Sunday October 16, 2011

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1. Introduction
2. Section A: Shakespeare
3. Section B: Drama and Poetry
4. Exemplars
5. Conclusion

OCR say that all of the six questions on this paper can be answered by any possible combination of the texts – and that they spend a long time ensuring this is so. I’m not sure I necessarily agree – there was a question on ‘women’ a few years ago that I would have been interested to see a response to it using Dr Faustus and Paradise Lost Book 1 – containing, as they do, no women . . .
Thus, I would suggest that some texts go together much better than others.

For 2012, my own school will be offering The Wife of Bath’s Prologue and Tale in comparison with The Rivals – which seems to offer some interesting connections over the position of women in society, power and ambition, etc.

It is worthwhile looking through the past papers on the texts that have just been studied, purely as they give you the general direction of the questions. There is quite a lot of repetition from year to year and – if you and your class are rigorous – you can probably come up with seven or eight obvious thematic links that at least one must come up on the paper . . .

Much of the advice on addressing the assessment objectives here is very similar to that which I offer on Shakespeare – however, there are a few specific things that I would stress . . .

AO3 and AO4 Critics, Comparisons and Contexts

There is clear potential for these two assessment objective to overwhelm students. A good answer needs not only to show a good awareness of the cultural contexts of each of these texts, plus demonstrate a response to a range of critical readings, but they also need to be able contrast and compare them. No easy thing in one hour.

As with the Shakespeare, contextualising these texts early is very important to a high grade. Although the temptation is to dive in and start with the textual analysis, students must be familiar...


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