How to Write a Reflection Paper in Shakespeare Studies

Writing guide
Posted on September 24, 2020

Most people hear about William Shakespeare as one of the greatest poets not only in the English literature. While someone gets inspired by his poems and plays, others need to write a reflection paper in Shakespeare Studies to get high grades. If you’re a student, you are likely to hear the term ‘a reflection paper’. It means a personal and subjective type of writing about any particular issue, event or person done in a proper academic tone. The fact that it is required to express one’s own impressions about such a great author as William Shakespeare may scare someone and inspire others.

This guide is aimed at simplifying the writing process for all who find themselves in trouble or get stuck in a train of thoughts while dealing with a reflection paper in Shakespeare Studies. Follow each step and come up with a well-written reflection paper.

10 Sample Topics in Shakespeare Studies to Reflect on?

Primarily, define the topic of a reflection paper in Shakespeare Studies if you haven’t done it yet. If you have a reflection paper topic on hand, skip the following list of possible topics and move to the next step. If no idea what to explore in your reflection paper, consider the list of 10 sample topics in Shakespeare Studies below:

  • Who Is William Shakespeare for You?
  • The Role of Shakespeare in English Literature?
  • The Place of William Shakespeare in Today’s World?
  • What Is the Contribution of Shakespeare to the World of Theater?
  • Are Shakespeare’s Masterpieces Valuable to Society?
  • Why Is Shakespeare So Famous Nowadays?
  • Are Shakespeare’s Plays Time-Sensitive?
  • Will the Next Generation Read Shakespeare’s Sonnets?
  • What Is the Greatest Strength of Shakespeare?
  • Is It Worth to Study Shakespeare’s Works at High School?

It is vital to decide on a topic you’d like to write a paper in advance. As a rule, it is assigned by professors or offered to choose between the given options. So, what topic to choose and why? A good reflection paper is one that provides insight into the topic from a personal perspective. It means that you should write on the topic that meets your interests as a writer. In this way, you will have enough information to state it in your paper without applying to someone’s help.

Reflective writing entails the task to express what you think, and more significantly, how and why you think that way. For more profound ideas in your reflection paper, you can analyze the ideas of others – there are many researchers who are actively involved in Shakespeare Studies. The books Great Shakespeareans is a major series of works (18 volumes) offering comprehensive studies made by Shakespearean researchers, critics, writers from the 17th to 20th centuries. Pay attention to how their ideas shape the basis for their thoughts. After reading extra literature, perhaps, you could recognize how your ideas support or oppose what you read.

What Is a Reflection Paper about Shakespeare? – 5 Points to Know

Find out the meaning and purpose of reflection papers before taking upon writing them. The key goal of reflective writing is to provide careful thought about the topic of the paper. So, if you need to write a reflection paper about Shakespeare, you should give your own reflections about this poet, his life, works of art, style of writing, etc.

A reflection paper is a subjective piece of writing that falls within the following requirements:

  1. It is an expression of personal thoughts about an author instead of providing bare facts from his biography or other sources of information;
  2. It is written from the first-person perspective in a coherent structure – from a brief introduction to the logical conclusion;
  3. It is an academic paper with a standardized tone and style of writing even if the pronoun “I” is used in it;
  4. It is comprised of those details that help reflect on your real attitude to the question under discussion;
  5. It is limited to the word count – usually, between 300 and 700 words. So, it isn’t supposed to be just another play of Shakespeare.

A reflection paper in Shakespeare Studies should show your own understanding of Shakespeare and his personality, his contribution to English literature, theater, and, broadly, his influence on the world culture and place in modern art.

How to Write a Reflection Paper about Shakespeare? – 5 Practical Tips to Follow

Take a balanced approach to write a reflection paper. When you know all the specifics of writing a reflection paper, or you dig quite deep into the topic, it is much better to start working on it, isn’t it? But it does not always make sense to plunge into the writing process immediately after knowing the topic of a paper and how to write it correctly.

There are some practical tips to do this task effectively:

  1. Focus on the task and its details. Many students are at risk of getting lost in the details of any task that may end up with poor results. Just as a reminder – reflection papers consist of a personal response to the chosen question. If needed, come back to the previous section of this guide to refresh the requirements for a reflection paper. Make sure you understand all the guidelines given by your instructor and follow them while working on the paper!
  2. Identify your opinion about the topic and formulate it in up to three sentences. These sentences will direct you straight to the point without deviating from the main topic. Reflective questions will come in handy in this case to give feedback to the readers – ‘What did I think about?’, ‘How does it make me feel?’ or ‘How is it related to my life?’ Don’t shrink away from passing judgment. Jot down a few words about your understanding of the topic that will serve as a thesis statement. A well-developed thesis provides focus and cohesion for the entire reflection paper.
  3. Find enough extra sources of information to underpin a thesis with facts. They are to explain your thoughts about the issue in more detail. You’ll get surprised how much information about Shakespeare is available! But your task is to find the data that brings your own view of the topic. It isn’t required to cite them in a reflection paper, but it will be easy for you to set forward an opinion based on the existing facts about Williams Shakespeare.
  4. Follow the logical structure of writing – an introduction, body, and conclusion. It is vital to have any academic paper well-organized – a reflection paper is no exception. Each part of a reflection paper pursues particular aims for the reader. From an introduction, it is expected to know a brief explanation of the topic. Body paragraphs provide a deep understanding of the topic with the concrete details on how you arrive at it. Every idea stated in the main part should support the final and logical conclusions you lead readers to.
  5. Revise all the written content at least three times. It is a good idea to reread a written reflection paper to make sure that every sentence and phrase makes sense. Don’t be afraid to change your piece of writing by adding new information, making improvements, or correcting mistakes. It actually takes a lot of time but will eventually pay you off.

A Reflection Paper Outline in Shakespeare Studies

An outline is an extremely significant stage for academic writing – it helps to create a map of the paper beforehand. You should point out the essential ideas before starting the writing process. In this way, you’ll make it much easier and more effective. With the correct order of paragraphs in front of you, it is impossible to miss any important parts. The structure of your reflection paper may be different based on your own preference or instructor’s recommendations, but all the basic components are usually the same – a clear introduction, the main part, and a conclusion. Let’s see what you’ll have in the end:


The introduction of your reflection paper is to be a bridge that links the reader with the ideas you’re going to cover further. What to include?
The introductory information about the author, his works or the topic that will be discussed in the paper;
A thesis statement with the significant subpoints you’re going to state in the body of a reflection paper.

For example,

After studying William Shakespeare’s works in-depth this term, I think this author is still relevant today with his precise expression and deep analysis of human nature and behavior in plays, sonnets. The topics that run through all his scripts remain matters of current interest – human relationships, jealousy, the nature of time, etc. In the play, Romeo and Juliet, I found particular elements in imagery that I absolutely loved and that may be related to these days. I decided to reflect on this literary work because it allowed me to see how Shakespeare’s way of thinking goes into other works of famous modern authors.


The main part is the key to successful reflection paper writing with the help of which you need to awake an echo in the reader’s heart. The principal reader is your instructor who expects you to engage with the concepts presented in the course material. You should make logical connections between all your observations, experiences, and opinions in this part of the paper. Every main idea must be expressed from your own point of view. How can you show personal reflection on the topic? Use the following phrases:

I realized over the course is that …;
For me, the most significant aspect was …;
This understanding of the problem could be important to me as a learner …;
I was concerned about …;
… affected my general perception of this topic.

You do not need to discuss every experience or thought you have on the topic, but try to find a few points that you can explore within the context of your course.


After stating the key points through the body paragraphs, in the final part, your task is to conclude your paper logically with the closing idea you derive from your reflection. In other words, it is a brief summary of what you have learned or understood in the course as a result. Sum up your attitude to Shakespeare if the chosen topic is “Who Is William Shakespeare for You?” Don’t include any supporting details in the conclusion – just state on the subject matter in question. If you explain everything clear in the first two parts, two concluding sentences will be enough to finish a reflection paper with.

The question ‘So what?’ will help you cope with the task if you get stuck along the way towards finishing a paper. A well-written conclusion isn’t supposed to cause any further questions about your understanding of the issue under discussion. By contrast, it must help the reader see the topic from your individual viewpoint to the full extent. For that reason, go on expressing personal reflections in the first person:

In conclusion, I could say that …;
The fact that … allows me to make this conclusion;
The analysis leads me to the following conclusions …;
This is an important finding in the understanding of the topic for me.

Wrapping Up

The great news for you now is that you have all the helpful tips on how to write a correct reflection paper in Shakespeare Studies. Despite all the pitfalls of starting a new paper without adequate planning, it is highly recommended to follow the key principles in writing this type of paper. Choose the topic – the list of 10 topics is given in this guide. Take the reflection paper outline that is also presented in this guide and come up with your personal ideas on the topic. Additionally, you can look for more resources on the topic if needed.

You may notice that this assignment requires more time and effort unlike traditional essays and reports. It is supposed that students must be purposeful and engaged thinkers and analysts while writing a reflection paper. So, be one of those who will submit a good paper in Shakespeare Studies!

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