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Elyse W.
Vassar graduate, specializing in English literature, theatre studies, and Shakespeare studies
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Writing
TutorMe
Question:

How can you address opposing viewpoints an argumentative essay?

Elyse W.
Answer:

It is just as important to be well-versed in the viewpoints you are refuting as it is to be an expert on the subject or material about which you are constructing your own argument. This helps prove to your reader that you have in-depth knowledge of your subject, as well as its broader context; in other words, this is a way of demonstrating your credibility. This can also help you specify or solidify your own perspective, by determining what it is that you do not believe, and by anticipating critiques or disputes of your viewpoint. Some ways of accomplishing this are: • Including quotes from texts whose theses you are aiming to refute • Paraphrasing arguments you plan to analyze or dispute in-depth • Introducing these quotes/arguments with neutral language (e.g., "argues," "claims," "suggests," "contends") • Countering with argumentative language (e.g., "However, this argument falters…", "The author does not account for…", "Jane Doe fails to acknowledge…") • Conceding valid aspects of the opposing viewpoint (e.g., "of course," "admittedly," "while this is/may be true") • Presenting rhetorical or hypothetical examples that challenge or disprove the opposing perspective (it is important, however, that these not turn into straw man arguments, which are often logical fallacies and rarely offer any room for complex arguments, analysis, or critique)

Shakespeare
TutorMe
Question:

Rephrase the following passage from the epilogue of Shakespeare's "The Tempest" in contemporary English. Now my charms are all o'erthrown, And what strength I have's mine own, Which is most faint: now, 'tis true, I must be here confined by you, Or sent to Naples. Let me not, Since I have my dukedom got And pardon'd the deceiver, dwell In this bare island by your spell; But release me from my bands With the help of your good hands: Gentle breath of yours my sails Must fill, or else my project fails, Which was to please. Now I want Spirits to enforce, art to enchant, And my ending is despair, Unless I be relieved by prayer, Which pierces so that it assaults Mercy itself and frees all faults. As you from crimes would pardon'd be, Let your indulgence set me free.

Elyse W.
Answer:

A possible line-by-line "translation" would be: Now all of my spells are broken, And the only power I have left is my own, Which is very weak. Now, it is true That you have the authority to confine me here, Or let me go off to Naples. Do not force me— Since I have now regained my dukedom And pardoned my usurper—to remain On this desert island by your power over me, But free me from my imprisonment With your applause; Your praise is like gentle wind Filling my ship's sails. Otherwise, I have failed in my purpose, Which was to entertain. Now I have no Spirits to do my bidding or magic to cast spells, So I am condemned to despair, Unless I am liberated by prayer, Which is so powerful as to prevail over Mercy itself and absolve all sins. As you would hope to have your crimes forgiven, Indulge me, and set me free.

English
TutorMe
Question:

What distinguishes the epic journey of Aeneas (as recounted in the Roman poet Virgil's epic Aeneid) from that of the heroes of Homeric epics like the Iliad and Odyssey?

Elyse W.
Answer:

As described by Virgil, Aeneas represents a major shift in the classical definition of an epic hero. The heroes of Homer's poems, such Odysseus, are defined by pride, ambition, and the knowledge that they are extraordinary men. By contrast, Aeneas' journey is that of an unwilling hero or reluctant wanderer. He is haunted by grief and his own sense that he has betrayed those he loves, in the name of his divine mandate to found Rome. Whereas the Homeric heroes press on and are less encumbered by their own guilt or morality, Aeneas is heroic precisely because of this. He is a long-suffering and self-sacrificing hero who struggles, crucially, to balance his personal, earthly desires with his faith in the gods and his divinely ordained destiny.

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