After thoroughly examining your assignment, now it's time to look for some initial background or starting information on your play. Many of the plays in the English 102 textbook have an entry in Drama for Students, which is a great place to start learning more about your play.
The Facts of File Guide to Writing a Literary Essay is an excellent resource to use to learn a little more about how to write literary essays on themes, characters, symbolism, imagery, historical context, and more.
Questions to Ask Yourself
When and where did the play take place? (place and time)
What is the atmosphere? (historical / sociological)
How is the play told? (narrative / point of view)
What language is used? (style, tone, and irony)
Who are the main characters? (protagonist / antagonist / others)
Are there symbols used? (symbols)
How does the plot help the reader understand the theme?
What is the dramatic moment? What is the conflict?
What is the moment of climax? (turning point / illumination / understanding)