Literary Essay Topics

Literary Essay Topics As a literature student, you are supposed to read a lot while writing about books and things you’ve read. You can never know how great a book is without reading, analyzing, and writing about it. This post contains the best literary essay topics for you. What Is A Literature Essay?  As a college […]

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Literary Essay Topics

As a literature student, you are supposed to read a lot while writing about books and things you’ve read. You can never know how great a book is without reading, analyzing, and writing about it. This post contains the best literary essay topics for you.

What Is A Literature Essay?

 As a college or university student, you will have tons of literature pieces to read throughout your coursework. After reading the literature pieces or works, your professor will require you to evaluate the book and write an academic paper known as a literature essay. A literature essay is, therefore, an academic paper encompassing thoroughly evaluated themes and ideas of literature pieces that you have read during your coursework. 

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100+ Literary Essay Topics 

Literary Essay Topics On William Shakespeare

Literature and English students study a lot of William Shakespeare’s literature work. Over the years, many have evaluated Shakespeare’s work and written essays on the same. Therefore, you might fail to get a new topic, but your unique and original approach matters much. Below are examples of Shakespeare’s literary essay topics. 

  • What is your view on the crown in Shakespeare Henry IV
  • Define sexuality, sensuality, and spirituality in William Shakespeare sonnets
  • Mention the ambitions in Hamlet and Macbeth in relation to males and females
  • Describe the use of disguise in William Shakespeare plays
  • Mention the different faces of love in Shakespeare sonnets and plays
  • Describe the use of satire in Williams Shakespeare comedies and tragedies
  • Discuss the parallels between Shakespeare’s King Lear and Sophocles Oedipus Rex
  • Mention the use of allusion in Shakespeare’s the tempest
  • What is the personal identification in Shakespeare’s Hamlet and Henry IV
  • Describe the theme of ethnicity in William Shakespeare’s Othello
  • The depiction of supernatural in William Shakespeare’s play
  • The use of meter in William Shakespeare’s plays 
  • Discuss the roles of Shakespeare in the world literature
  • What are the Archetypal female characters in Shakespeare’s plays and sonnets
  • Mention William Shakespeare authorship on style, vocabulary, themes, and dates
  • Describe the complexity of the female character in Shakespeare’s Antony and Cleopatra

Literary Essay Topics On John Keats – The Romantic Of The Nation 

John Keats has dominated the English Romantic poet world by availing great literature pieces. Where you are studying poetry, Keats’ work becomes inevitable. Below are literary essay topics on John Keats to consider. 

  • What was wrong with Keats Otho the Great
  • Discuss how Keat’s letters have influenced the English literature
  • The uniqueness of John Keats imagery and its origin
  • Mention Byron’s influence of Keats’s style and theme explored
  • Mention the different shapes of death in John Keats’s work

Literary Essay Topics On Geoffrey Chaucer

Geoffrey Chaucer was a diplomat whose poetry and literature work remains indisputable in the academic world. Therefore, in your literature class, you will probably have to evaluate the different languages, writing techniques, and styles used by Chaucer the poet, narrator, and writer. Below are essay topics to consider. 

  • What are the religious Morals in Chaucer’s The Canterbury tales
  • Mention Chaucer’s role in the development of a heroic couplet
  • Describe Chaucer’s works during the French and Italian periods
  • What are the primary themes and motivations in Chaucer’s Troilus and Criseyde
  • How does Chaucer view women virtues
  • Chaucer’s use of vernacular language

Literary Essay Topics On George Orwell And His Societal Views 

George Orwell’s literature work has remained an influential figure on societal views more so power and politics. Through evaluating Orwell’s literature concepts, your societal views will shift. Orwell is considered part of the topmost novelists of the 20th century. 

  • What is the role of the medial in Orwell’s characters lives
  • Describe the historical context of Orwell’s dystopian novels
  • Explain George Orwell’s background 
  • Discuss Orwell imagery in the depiction of totalitarian regimes
  • Describe Theologus Autodidactus as an example of science fiction
  • Describe the horror fiction of Stoker’s Dracula and Shelley’s Frankenstein
  • Discuss Homer and Fleming as the evolution of adventure elements
  • The origins of contemporary fantasy fiction and earliest works
  • Mention the major elements of modern fantasy novels and stories
  • Describe the styles, imagery, and themes  found in fantasy novels by Tolkein and Martin
  • Why fantasy novels have gained so much popularity today
  • Describe the place of fantasy in modern literature
  • The evolvement of horror fiction from Shelley to king
  • Discuss the role of allusion in Orwell’s nineteen eighty-four
  • Define naturalism and imagery in the road to wigan pier
  • Why was animal farm considered as controversial in the 1950s 
  • Orwell’s religious views in Lear, Tolstoy, and the fool
  • Describe Winston Smith journey to freedom in Orwell’s 1984
  • Mention the elements of the coming of age novel in London Martin Eden
  • Mention early examples of short stories in relation to Charles Dickens’s style
  • Satire in the contemporary British and the American literature
  • What are the scientific and poetic words in science fiction poetry
  • What are the important feature of tragicomedies in postmodernist and metamodernist writings
  • The role of deus ex machina in different literary games
  • Wilde’s use of antithesis in his major works

Literary Essay Topics On Oscar Wilde 

Oscar Wilde is an intelligent Irish critic, poet, playwright, and novelist of the 19th century. Oscar has written dozens of poems throughout his life. In the literature world, Wilde has presented students and literature lovers with multiple poetic works of art and novels. Here are some literary essay topics on Oscar Wilde to consider. 

  • Was the young man Dorian Gray innocent?
  • Mention Wilde’s metaphors in the Ballad of Reading Gaol
  • What are the some of the irony, sarcasm, and satire used in Oscar’s Wilde’s works
  • Lord Henry’s morality and immorality
  • Oscar Wilde’s traits in his characters
  • According to Dorian Gray do you think beauty will save the world
  • Discuss Wilde’s essential inspiration and the development of his views
  • The picture of Dorian Gray as the aesthete’s manifest
  • An ideal wife as depicted in Wilde’s an ideal husband
  • Play on words in Oscar Wilde’s major plays

Literary Essay Topics On Vices Of The Society

Literature and society are intertwined. Literature blends different cultures and behaviors. The themes witnessed in literature emanate from the different characteristics of people in society. Below are literary essay topics on the vices of society. 

  • John Milton’s exploration and interpretation of a biblical story
  • What are the myths as a source of inspiration of Byron and Keats
  • Mention William Shakespeare’s borrowing from ancient Greek writings and myths
  • Hellenism and Virginia Wolf’s fascination with Greek literature
  • Percy Bysshe Shelley’s interpretation of the myth about Prometheus
  • Oscar Wilde’s retelling of a biblical story
  • What are the vices of totalitarian societies in George Orwell’s 1984
  • Discuss ethnicity, discrimination, and identity in Orwell’s Burmese Days
  • Injustice, torture, and dehumanization in Elie Wiesel’s Night
  • What are the Dickens’s perspectives concerning social injustice in Oliver twist

Literary Essay Topics On War And Peace

War is the topmost threat to the world’s peace. In the literary world, there are literary works that portray remarkable images of war and peace of the world. Therefore, ensure to consider the topics below. 

  • War and peace in George Orwell’s dystopian society
  • What are the wrongs of modern society in Palahniuk’s fight club
  • Mention some of the Steinbeck’s exploration of injustice in the Grapes of wrath
  • Discuss war as human nature in Faulkner’s A Fable
  • The war between archangels and demons in paradise lost
  • A war in Brecht’s mother courage and her children
  • What are the views on the civil war: Margaret Mitchella and Toni Morrison

Literary Essay Topics On Gender Roles

Gender, should it dictate how people live? There are people today whose lives are dictated and engineered by their gender. Phrases like, behave like a man and dress like a woman are overly heard today. For years, gender roles and characters have affected how women and men are perceived and treated. Here are some gender roles in literary essay topics. 

  • The depiction of Eve in Milton paradise lost
  • Emmy’s submissiveness and Rebecca’s quick-wittedness in Vanity fair
  • William Shakespeare Thackeray’s Becky sharp as an antihero
  • Describe women empowerment and dependence in Jane Austen’s novels
  • A room of One’s own: female manifesto relevant currently
  • Mention the first female voices in the middle ages: Aelia Eudocia August
  • Gender roles as depicted by Maugham in Theatre
  • Discuss the female characters’ virtues and vices in the 19th century
  • Female writers: themes expired in the 1910s and 2010s 
  • Women of colour: themes of violence, discrimination, and empowerment
  • Masculinity, identity, and homosexuality in Tennessee Williams works
  • Masculinity in the garden of Eden by Ernest Hemingway
  • Fairy stories as significant sources of gender stereotypes
  • Charles Dickens’s depiction of ageing males and females
  • Gender roles in utopias and dystopias: More and Huxley

Literary Essay Topics On Religion 

Human beings have, for years, remained religious. Religion is inherited from one generation and passed on to another generation. Religious concepts have, for years, remained constant for the majority of the religious groups. Religion can never fade as many people draw hope and purpose for their existence. 

  • How was religion seen as another burden in the Bluest Eye
  • A spiritual journey in Thomas Hardy’s Jude the Obscure
  • What was the role of religion in Charles Dickens’s works
  • Discuss the biblical themes and allusions in Beowulf 
  • Mention the religious convention as depicted in John Milton’s paradise lost
  • The evolvement of religious beliefs in Dryden’s works
  • Mention Jonathan Swift’s satirical view of religions in Gulliver’s Travels
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How To Select A Literary Essay Topic

When your professor tasks you with a literature essay assignment, you should consider identifying a topic before spending your time writing the paper. Below are some helpful tips to consider. 

  • Brainstorm
  • Identify a topic that interests you
  • Research on the topics
  • Refine the topic


After reading and discussing a literature piece in class, you should consider evaluating the work from different perspectives. The evaluation will help you understand the different themes applied and ideas communicated in the book. The first step to choosing a great literary essay topic is brainstorming on the different themes and ideas in the book. Consider jotting down your thoughts as you continue to brainstorm on the literature work. 

Identify A Topic That Interests You

Once you have brainstormed and pinpointed some exciting ideas, you should proceed to identify the ones that keep you excited and overly curious. To be on the safe side, consider settling for three exciting topics for your essay, and brainstorm on them further. 

Research On The Topics

You need to research on the three topics and determine whether the topics are manageable. Out of the three topics, you should consider the most exciting and one that motivates your inquisitiveness. It would be best if you avoided topics that are too general. 

Refine The Topic

As time passes by, you should consider refining the topic further, hence making it more manageable. Broad topics are complicated to write about, and you should, therefore, keep it narrowed down. Therefore, keep researching on the topic and revising it now and then.

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In Conclusion  

Literary essays play an essential role in sharpening your critical thinking and evaluation skills. Therefore, when assigned with a literary essay on any literature piece of work, keenness must be employed with your focus settling on identifying a remarkable topic.

How do you choose a literary analysis topic?

To choose a literary analysis topic, you need to select a literary of your interest then put your focus on the characters, plot, setting, frame, theme, exposition, ending, motif, titling.

What are literary elements?

These are basically the components of a literary work. They include character, plot, setting, frame, theme, exposition, ending, motif, titling and narrative point view.

What are the five literary genres?

They include poetry, drama, prose, notification, and media.

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