- Definition: dialectic
- The overall idea. This is an essay which deals with thesis (argument) and antithesis (counter-argument), which leads to synthesis (a point which synthesizes the essence of the argument and the counter-argument).
- Planning. Let’s imagine for a moment that the essay title is: “Examine the representation of jealousy in Othello.” This type of essay is good to write because it is relatively easy to plan.
- FOR. There are always arguments for: Othello is represented primarily as a jealous husband (FIND EVIDENCE FOR THIS POINT).
- AGAINST. Arguments against: Othello’s jealousy is secondary compared to his obsession with loss of status (FIND EVIDENCE FOR THIS POINT).
- SYNTHESIS. The synthesis is where you bring both arguments for and against together and draw out larger points which synthesis (or bring together) both opposing points of view. For example with the above example, a synthesising point might be that Othello’s jealousy is fuelled by his insecurity over his position in Venetian society; Shakespeare paints a picture of a society which fundamentally views Othello as the “Other”.
- Different viewpoints. The “dialectical” essay is excellent at dealing with different viewpoints. Problems can occur when student veer away from the question which can happen if you’re not vigilant.
- Non-stop arguing! The diagram below shows how the dialectical essay (and dialectic) works: it constantly moves from point to point by forming an argument (thesis), having an opposing argument (antithesis), then synthesizing both points of view into one larger point (synthesis). The dialectic then begins again with an opposing view (antithesis) to the synthesis etc.