Discussion Essay Ideas For Apollos Outcasts

This theme is expressed in the progression of old to new gods. Zeus overthrew the older generations of gods, and among these ancient deities were the Furies. The Furies have been made outcasts. The deities are the embodiments of opposing forces: Apollo is a symbol for the male, the rational, the young, and the civilized. The Furies represent the female, the violent, the old, and the primal. Aeschylus captures a mythical moment in history, one in which the world was torn between a savage and archaic past and the bold new order of Greek civilization, the young Olympian gods, and rationality. The difficulty of the struggle between these two worlds is dramatized by the cycle of violence in the House of Atreus and the clash between Apollo and the Furies. The Oresteia is about the growing pains of a nascent civilization.

The goal of the above struggles is not the annihilation of the old ways. The old must be integrated with the new. The central theme of this play is the struggle/conflict between opposites, and the reconciliation of those opposites. Athene herself is a symbol for that kind of reconciliation. She is female, but she is also a warrior: Aeschylus has her enter dressed in full body armor. She is as rational as her half-brother Apollo, but she is also compassionate and does not react with disgust at the sight of the Furies. She is woman, but she is born of her father: according to myth, she sprang from her father's skull. She is the goddess of wisdom and crafts as well as warfare, making both the creative and the destructive within her jurisdiction. She reconciles the best attributes the Greeks traditionally ascribed to the masculine and the feminine. The action of the play is to integrate the ancient and the primal with the new and the civilized; this integrations means bringing the Furies into the new world order.

Another important pair of opposites, which deserves its own entry. According to the vision of the Oresteia, fear is a sister to justice. Both are necessary for the preservation of order. The rationality of the Olympians, with their trials, orderly proceedings, and plans, must be combined with the terrifying brutality of the Furies. As the trilogy depicts things, the Furies' archaic version of justice, with its emphasis on fear and punishment, must not be totally abandoned.

Finally, in this play the Curse on the House of Atreus will be washed away. The Furies constantly say that Orestes' hands are bloodstained because of his matricide, and until the trial, he will not be free of them. In previous plays, the Curse was spoken of symbolically in terms of blood and poison; the House of Atreus was sick and corrupt from the sins of its own past. Finally, it will be healed.

Although this theme has the most presence in the first part of the trilogy, the burden of the past is part of the whole trilogy. Two themes come together in the Curse: the theme of history and the theme of violence's self-perpetuating nature. The whole bloody history of the House of Atreus continues to affect events in the present. Orestes was able to go through with the murder because of the orders of Apollo and because the force of history propelled him forward. The legacy of the House of Atreus and the Trojan War, as well as the commands of Apollo, drove Orestes toward his fate. This theme is closely connected to the divine plan and Aeschylus' methods of explanation.

Part of Aeschylus' project is to fit the story of the House of Atreus into a grand design, explaining events in terms of the progress of civilization. The murders in the house all are made to fit into an explanatory model that makes us understand the future and the past. Orestes was aware of the Curse on his house, and he hoped that in killing his mother he would put an end to the cycle of violence. By The Eumenides, we know that getting rid of the Curse will not be so simple. But by the end of the end of the whole trilogy, Orestes will have been key not only to ending the Curse, but also in laying the foundation for a new step in the progress of humanity. The Olympian gods have a great part in this progress, and their plans make possible a more civilized future. We are made to see the events of the trilogy as part of a grand design, a design that has ramifications not only for the characters of the play but for all of mankind.

Violence begets violence; the murders of Thyestes children continue to plague the House of Atreus two generations later. Although each new murder has its justifications, every new killing inevitably leads to other new killings. Thyestes' Curse is part supernatural, and partly a result of the nature of violence itself. Finally, the gods must intervene to put a stop to the murders.

The Greeks were acutely aware of the tendency of different moral systems to come into conflict. Many tragedies feature two opposing characters who defend different moral systems, with each character being right in his own way. In The Libation Bearers, when Orestes doubted if he could kill his own mother, Pylades told him that he should count all men hateful to him rather than the gods. Orestes was ordered by the god Apollo to kill Clytaemestra. He had the right to vengeance; she killed his father, and Orestes has responsibility to his dynasty. But Clytaemestra was also his mother. Orestes made a choice, and though his actions were justified, he cannot commit matricide without consequences. At the trial, the Furies and Apollo argue from two different standpoints, both of which have their own logic and moral code.

Introduction

This lesson will help you answer IELTS writing task 2 discussion (or discuss both views and give your opinion) questions.

These particular questions require a different approach to opinion essays because you have to discuss both sides rather than just argue in favour of one side.

This post will look at:

  • Identifying the question
  • Example Questions
  • Structure
  • Sample Answer
  • Task Achievement
  • Coherence and Cohesion
  • Lexical Resource


Many students fail to do well in these kinds of questions because they do not do what the question asks them to do and they do not use an appropriate structure. This post will help you overcome these problems and give you a sample answer.

We will also look at ‘lexical resource’ and ‘coherence and cohesion’; two of the marking criteria IELTS examiners use when marking your essays. Understand the marking scheme will help you to get inside the head of an IELTS examiner and give then exactly what they want.

Identifying the Question

Look at the three questions below and choose one you think is a discussion question.

  1. Computers are being used more and more in education and so there will soon be no role for the teacher in education.

To what extent do you agree or disagree?

  1. Computers are being used more and more in education.

Discuss the advantages and disadvantages and give your own opinion.

  1. Computers are being used more and more in education. Some people say that this is a positive trend, while others argue that it is leading to negative consequences.

Discuss both sides of this argument and then give your own opinion.

The first question is an opinion question and we can tell this from the instructions ‘To what extent do you agree or disagree?’.

The second question is obviously an advantages and disadvantages question.

The third question is the discussion question. We can tell this from the typical instructions in the question ‘Discuss both sides of the argument and then give your opinion’.

You may also be asked to ‘Discuss both views and give you opinion’ or ‘Discuss both sides of the argument and give your opinion’.

Each of these questions is asking us to do different things and we therefore need a different structure for each question.

Example Questions

Here are a few other typical discussion questions:

  1. A growing number of people feel that animals should not be exploited by people and that they should have the same rights as humans, while others argue that humans must employ animals to satisfy their various needs, including uses for food and research.

Discuss both views and give your opinion.

  1. Blood sports have become a hot topic for debate in recent years. As society develops it is increasingly seen as an uncivilized activity and cruel to the helpless animals that are killed. All blood sports should be banned.

Discuss the main arguments for this statement and give your own opinion.

  1. Some people think that the best way to reduce crime is to give longer prison sentences. Others, however, believe there are better alternative ways of reducing crime.

Discuss both views and give your opinion.

As you can see, they typically state two opinions and then ask you to discuss both and give your opinion. Make sure you do these things in the essay. If you only discuss both views and fail to give your opinion you will lose marks.

Structure

For discussion questions, I suggest you use the following four paragraph structure.

Introduction 

Sentence 1- Paraphrase Question

Sentence 2- State Both Points of View

Sentence 2- Thesis Statement

Sentence 3- Outline Sentence

Main Body Paragraph 1

Sentence 1- State first viewpoint

Sentence 2- Discuss first viewpoint

Sentence 3- Reason why you agree or disagree with viewpoint

Sentence 4- Example to support your view

Main Body Paragraph 2

Sentence 1- State second viewpoint

Sentence 2- Discuss second viewpoint

Sentence 3- Reason why you agree or disagree with viewpoint

Sentence 4- Example to support your view

Conclusion

Sentence 1- Summary

Sentence 2- State which one is better or more important

Practice  

Here is a sample answer but I have mixed up the sentences. Can you match the sentences below to the structure above?

This exercise will help you understand the structure.

  1. In conclusion, while the benefits of technology, particularly the internet, allow students to tap into limitless sources of information, some still feel that people should be wary of this new phenomenon and not allow it to curb face to face interaction.
  2. There is an ever increasing use of technology, such as tablets and laptops, in the classroom.
  3. It is clear that the internet has provided students with access to more information than ever before.
  4. Moreover, learners have the ability to research and learn about any subject at the touch of a button. It is therefore agreed that technology is a very worthwhile tool for education.
  5. However, many disagree and feel that technology deprives people of real human interaction.
  6. Human interaction teaches people valuable skills such as discourse, debate and empathy.
  7. Despite this, human interaction is still possible through the internet and this essay disagrees technology should be dismissed for this reason.
  8. This essay agrees that an increase in technology is beneficial to students and teachers. This essay will discuss both points of view.
  9. For instance, Skype and Facebook make it possible for people to interact in ways that were never before possible.
  10. Wikipedia is a prime example, where students can simply type in any keyword and gain access to in-depth knowledge quickly and easily.
  11. However, as long as we are careful to keep in mind the importance of human interaction in education, the educational benefits are clearly positive.
  12. It is often argued that this is a positive development, whilst others disagree and think it will lead to adverse ramifications.

Example Answer

Computers are being used more and more in education. Some people say that this is a positive trend, while others argue that it is leading to negative consequences.

Discuss both sides of this argument and then give your own opinion.

There is an ever increasing use of technology, such as tablets and laptops, in the classroom. It is often argued that this is a positive development, whilst others disagree and think it will lead to adverse ramifications. This essay agrees that an increase in technology is beneficial to students and teachers. This essay will discuss both points of view.

It is clear that the internet has provided students with access to more information than ever before. Moreover, learners have the ability to research and learn about any subject at the touch of a button. It is therefore agreed that technology is a very worthwhile tool for education. Wikipedia is a prime example, where students can simply type in any keyword and gain access to in-depth knowledge quickly and easily.

However, many disagree and feel that technology deprives people of real human interaction. Human interaction teaches people valuable skills such as discourse, debate and empathy. Despite this, human interaction is still possible through the internet and this essay disagrees technology should be dismissed for this reason. For instance, Skype and Facebook make it possible for people to interact in ways that were never before possible.

In conclusion, while the benefits of technology, particularly the internet, allow students to tap in to limitless sources of information, some still feel that people should be wary of this new phenomenon and not allow it to curb face to face interaction. However, as long as we are careful to keep in mind the importance of human interaction in education, the educational benefits are clearly positive.

(266 words)

Task Achievement

This is one of the four areas you will be assessed on in the IELTS writing test.

Task achievement refers to your ability to address all parts of the question and present a fully developed answer. By following the structure above, we have fully discussed both sides of the argument and given our opinion. This is exactly what the question asked us to do, no more, no less.

Coherence and Cohesion

Discourse markers (words like ‘however’, ‘despite this’ and ‘In conclusion’) are also referred to as ‘linking words’ and ‘linking phrases’, or ‘sentence connectors’. They are quite formal and are used more in academic writing than informal speech.

You gain marks for using these under the ‘coherence and cohesion’ section of the marking scheme. These words ‘stick’ the other words together and lend continuity to sentences and paragraphs.

If you do not include discourse markers in your IELTS writing, your answer will appear illogical and it is more difficult to understand.

However, this does not mean that you should try to insert as many of these words in to your writing as possible. This is a common mistake in IELTS writing.  Using too many of them, or using them inappropriately, can make your writing sound too heavy and unnatural. They are important, but must only be used at the appropriate time.

Practice

Try to identify any discourse markers in the essay above? Don’t look at the essay below yet. How many can you find?

Sample Answer with Discourse Markers

Here is the sample answer again with the discourse markers in bold.

There is an ever increasing use of technology, such as tablets and laptops, in the classroom. It is often argued that this is a positive development, whilst others disagree and think it will lead to adverse ramifications. This essay agrees that an increase in technology is beneficial to students and teachers. This essay will discuss both points of view.

It is clear that the internet has provided students with access to more information than ever before. Moreover, learners have the ability to research and learn about any subject at the touch of a button. It is therefore agreed that technology is a very worthwhile tool for education. Wikipedia is a prime example, where students can simply type in any keyword and gain access to in-depth knowledge quickly and easily.

However, many disagree and feel that technology deprives people of real human interaction. Human interaction teaches people valuable skills such as discourse, debate and empathy. Despite this, human interaction is still possible through the internet and this essay disagrees technology should be dismissed for this reason. For instance, Skype and Facebook make it possible for people to interact in ways that were never before possible.

In conclusion, while the benefits of technology, particularly the internet, allow students to tap in to limitless sources of information, some still feel that people should be wary of this new phenomenon and not allow it to curb face to face interaction. However, as long as we are careful to keep in mind the importance of human interaction in education, the educational benefits are clearly positive.

Lexical Resource

This is also one of the four criteria you will be marked on and it refers to your ability to use a wide range of accurate vocabulary.

A common mistake is to repeat the same words over and over again. You will lose marks if you do this. A solution to this problem is to use synonyms. You can either think of synonyms as you are writing or leave time at the end to add them in.

Practice

Can you identify any synonyms in the essay above?

Here are some examples:

Computers- technology

Computers- the internet

Education- in the classroom

Education- students and teachers

Positive trend- positive development

Negative Consequences- adverse ramifications

By varying your vocabulary in this way you are demonstrating that you have a wide vocabulary and this will boost your band score. However, like discourse markers be careful not to use inappropriate/inaccurate words. Only use words you are confident about. Mistakes will lead to fewer marks.

Next Steps

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I hope this post helps you with discussion questions and if you have any questions please comments below.

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