Reviews for Untitled Essay
Ulyaoth chapter 1 . 10/13/2004

Look, I'm willing to cut you some slack for being 16 and everything, but seriously, what is this? You have alot of pretty philosophical ideas in this and your (seriously self-conscious) bio page, but I think the best way to describe this essay is from the pen of the great Bill Watterson(and if you don't know who he is, then all your learning is for naught): "The purpose of writing is to inflate weak ideas, obscure pure reasoning, and inhibit clarity. With a little pratice, writing can be an intimidating and impenetrable fog!"

Are you getting me here? I read the works of Charles Peirce for fun, Middle English is rapidly becoming a breeze for me, and yet your work is the single most muddled thing I've glanced over for awhile. You seem less interested in actually getting to these strange creatures called "ideas" and "arguments," and more of just hearing yourself talk.

I'm not sure what the actual paper assignment was, but it's generally considered bad form to repeat the ENTIRE PLOT OF THE PLAY WITHIN THE ESSAY, no matter how obsessed you are with trying to emulate Shakespeare's language. Just to let you know. Also, please SHORTEN YOUR SENTENCES. They might be technically not run-ons, but no teacher really enjoys having to read clause after clause AFTER CLAUSE with cute little bunny eyed quotations and parenthetical information bunched within.

Then we get to the second main paragraph, where you appear to start to analyze the actual scene where justice is mentioned. The crowd is hushed. What will be the impressive judgment? "BUH ALLOW ME TO PARAPHRASE PORTIA'S SPEECH SO AS TO MANGLE ITS MEANING BEYOND COMPREHENSION AND HERE'S SOME QUOTES FROM THE SUMMA THEOLOGICA OH YEAH AND SHYLOCK'S INSISTANCE FOR FALSE JUSTICE RUINS HIM." Never has so little been said with so many lace undercoats.

I don't even KNOW what you're talking about in the third paragraph. Something about the prototypical Philosopher King and what in the hell does this have to do with Merchant of Venice spinning wheels keep on turning. Sigh.

Bottom line? The sooner you start focusing on the ideas instead of paraphrasing them from other sources, and less on making your language so dense that most people believe it's good, the sooner you will graduate from the self-stroking mentality that permeates the internet pseduo-intellectuals.

-Ulyaoth Lite
JaffaCake chapter 1 . 6/1/2004
I have no idea what criteria your paper is being graded on, but since you already turned it in, might as well just write what comes to mind:

An air of flippancy permeates most of your second paragraph, which slightly clashes with the eloquent prose in the rest of your essay. Statements like "instantly transformed into an inebriated child illegally admitted into a casino where all the prizes are sweets" stand in contrast to statements like "Shylock’s avarice for a curtained Libra is his undoing." The abrupt switch from humorous to serious is a bit jarring.

You give a very satisfactory explanation for why mercy is a desirable virtue in context of Aquinas's spiritual philosophy, however I would like to have seen a more fleshed out explanation of how mercy and justice complement each other. Yes, justice should be "constrained" by mercy, but to what extent? How much should respect for your fellow man take precedence over respect for the law? As you mentioned, this is a very controversial subject, and though you may have been constrained by a word limit, a fuller explanation would have greatly enhanced your essay.

But really, these are just minor quibbles. Beyond flawless grammar and spelling, there were lines in this essay that truly demonstrate what constitutes a well written sentence. Concise, thoughtful sentences were such a joy to read; it was a gulp of fresh air from what I have been reading for the past week. Please continue writing, because you really have some talent there.