Critical essays are usually review essays that look in detail at some literary work. Critical essays may be positive or negative in tone, depending on the attitude of the writer towards the work analyzed. It is necessary to have in-depth knowledge about the author studied, his works and the corpus of criticism that has already appeared.
Critical essays should have the same structure as that of any other essay. The introduction of the critical essay should introduce the title, author and the nature of the work under analysis. The introduction should also codify the strengths and weaknesses of the work, with focus on one or two major features.
The second section of the critical essay should carry a brief summary of the work analyzed. The summary section will also touch upon the author's presentation of the theme and his viewpoints. The next important thing to remember is to highlight the aspects one will touch upon.
The third section of the critical essay should contain the main argument - one can agree with or differ from the author's or other critics' viewpoints. This section should contain detailed analysis of the topic discussed. Care is to be taken to quote relevant material from the text to support one's argument. One can also borrow supporting evidence from other writers, acknowledging them. Citations must be included in the prescribed style format.
The last section is the conclusion, which briefly summarizes the main points raised. The conclusion should be written clearly so that it crisply highlights the essay writer's views on the subject. Critical essays gain an impressive look if the last sentence is one that can capture the reader's attention, provoking him to think further on another angle of the subject.