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How to Write a Good Critical Essay

In order to write a critical essay, the writer is required to analyze a given text or written piece, evaluate it, and sum-up the opinion or viewpoint of the text’s author. Many students find this process quite challenging, sometimes because they are mistakenly critical of what they read. To write an essay of this type in a manner that meets current requirements means the writer first needs to understand what critical analysis is and what it entails. It is worth pointing out that critical evaluation is not intended to offend or deliberately attack a particular author and/or the work they have done. The goal is more to analyze a particular text in an objective manner.      

For a critical essay to be considered effective, the tone needs to be serious, or at least serious in most cases. Its aim should be to respect the author’s feelings or emotions rather than touch them. Where appropriate, every significant statement should be supported with quotations. A writer may agree with or disagree with any text they are evaluating for the purpose of their critical essay. 

Tips on Writing a Critical Essay from Scratch

If your aim is to write a new critical essay from scratch rather than modifying an existing essay or sample, there are some points you should bear in mind as follows: 

  • Look at the text you are evaluating critically but not in an unhealthily critical way.
  • Try to be objective and factual; you should not be subjective in your analysis.
  • It is important to support criticisms with strong evidence since all content should be evaluated on logic.  
  • You may refer to the evaluations and analyses of others.

How to Structure Your Critical Essay

Based on the following structure, there are two main parts to a critical essay:   

A summarization of the viewpoint of the author, which should include:

  • The main facts upon which the author’s thesis is based.
  • The manner in which the author delivers the main idea or point.
  • Any technique(s) employed by the author or any message they use to appeal to their readers, e.g., what the author does to call readers to action.

An analysis and evaluation of the work in question, which should include:

  • A careful analysis of all key facts as presented by the author in order of their accuracy and relevance.
  • A thorough evaluation of how consistent and logical the author has been in their claims and/or statements.
  • A thorough analysis of the text’s thesis and how this compares to already-recognized or accepted standards and to the personal point of view of the writer.   

Topic Ideas for a Critical Essay

A critical essay is suited to a number of topics and topic types. Below are some examples of topic ideas:

  • Choose a movie director and critically analyze their movies
  • Choose a Shakespearean play and analyze it
  • Critically analyze a political philosophy
  • Critically analyze culture versus art
  • Critically analyze the merits or otherwise of promoting democracy.
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