As a discipline, literature possesses special and distinct qualities that separate it from other studies. In order to judge or critic a literary work as a masterpiece, the following criteria should be considered:
1. Universality- it appeals to everyone regardless of race, sex and time that can be considered important by every reader from east to west and from young to old.
e.g. A Thousand and One Nights, Trojan War, Iliad and Odyssey, Romeo and Juliet
2. Permanence- it endures the test of time wherein it contains timeliness and timelessness. It does not face out in the page of history and still offers the beauty of language and conserves country’s legends and folktales.
e.g. Ramayana, Mahabharata, Song of Roland, Nibelungenlied, El Cid, Beowulf
3. Spiritual Value- it elevates man’s spirituality by giving moral values and inspires him to be a better and mature individual. e.g. The Analects, The Prophet, The Rubaiyat, Divine Comedy
4. Intellectual Value- it stimulates critical and logical thinking through the basic truths of life and human nature. e.g. Don Quixote, short stories of Edgar Allan Poe, Essay on Man, Of Studies
5. Suggestiveness- it stirs man’s emotional aspect through the literary devices used in prose and poetry. e.g. sonnets of Shakespeare, How Do I Love Thee, The Road Not Taken, I Wandered Lonely as a Cloud
6. Artistry and Style- they are marked by great ways of writing styles. They pertain to aesthetics wherein they awaken the sense of beauty of anyone who reads the literary work. e.g. poems of Emily Dickinson and e.e Cummings and plays of Shakespeare