English 2000 Citizens in Time

Group Dialogue





























Achilles' Shield celebrates the extraordinary vigor of life on this earth. It is also Homer's hopeful vision of a world moving toward peace as its citizens work in concert with nature and each other. Thus Achilles' Shield is a fitting icon for a course that asks, "What does it mean to be a human being living in society?"


                        Let the Festival Begin

As you are aware from Plato’s Crito, the dialogue is an ancient form in which a philosophical discussion is presented like a drama with several speakers.  Each speaker represents a different point of view about the specific topic under discussion.  You and two or three classmates will write and present to the class a modified version of the dialogue exploring one of the following topics:

1) The nature of right order in the city
2) The nature of happiness
3) The effect of violence (random or organized—i.e. war) on the city
4) The power of persuasion in achieving the good city

The four speakers in your dialogue must be from the following groups:

1)  A Greek philosopher or politician: Plato, Socrates, Aristotle, or Pericles
2) An ancient Greek poet/dramatist: Homer, Aeschylus, Sophocles, Euripides, or
3) An author studied in English 2000 not from classical antiquity
4) A fourth speaker from any of these groups.

Note: Your speakers should stay in character--in fact you are encouraged to use their own words in composing your dialogue (put those words in bold in your script).

You may choose any setting--modern or otherwise.  Anachronisms are welcome.  In other words, you may place all of your characters in Socrates’ cell the night before he dies or in Martin Luther King’s Birmingham Jail cell.  Or you may have them riding in an elevator or seated in the Tiger Lair of the LSU Union.  Your speakers may be on their way to a Senate hearing on ethical practices in today’s huge corporations.  The possibilities are endless!

Dialogue Format:

Your dialogue must involve four speakers as per the list above and must be at least 4 to 5 typed single-spaced pages (it can be longer), double spaced whenever there is a change of speaker.  Give your dialogue an interesting title.
Your dialogue also needs an introductory paragraph setting the scene and introducing the characters.  This introductory paragraph should be single spaced and italicized.


You will have more than a week of unstructured class time (see Course Schedule) in which you and your group write, perfect, and rehearse your dialogue.  Bring your laptop so that your group can compose during class (or else do it the old way--quill and paper). 
Attendance is mandatory. If you miss a class set aside for work on the Group Dialogue, your dialogue grade will be lowered a whole letter.  If you miss two classes, you will have to write your own dialogue for a grade not higher than a C.

Presentation of Dialogues:

--Because your dialogue has four speakers, if there are only three in your group, someone will have to double up as did the ancient Greeks in their Festival Dionysius.
--To designate your speakers,
name tags (huge or modest, affixed to clothing or hanging from yarn around the neck) are recommended.  Your chorus (what chorus?--improvise!) can present the prologue, i.e. your introductory paragraph.
--Props and costumes are encouraged.
--You don’t have to memorize your dialogue (you can use your script), but being familiar with the lines will help make your drama more entertaining for your audience (the class).


You will be graded on originality and a mastery of the four different viewpoints. Your dialogue should demonstrate an understanding of the way your writers think.  Your group’s evaluation of each member and a class evaluation of your presentation will also make up a small percentage of your grade. Right before your presentation, turn in a script (with the names of all group members indicated at the beginning).

Student Dialogues

HA (Happiness Anonymous)


Guys' Night Out

Note: Dialogues may take a few minutes to load.

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Created by Dorothy McCaughey   09/28/2010

Louisiana State University