Ellen MacKay

2:30p-3:45p TR (30 students) 3 cr. A&H.

This course will examine examples of Shakespeare’s early tragedies, histories and comedies as a body of literature that wields a great deal of present influence and that supplies us with rich and compelling evidence of the kinds of influences that infused early modern English culture. We will contemplate Shakespeare’s take on such pressing matters as women’s rights, the influence of the classics, the state of the nation, the justice of revenge, racial and religious prejudice, sexual freedom, and the dangers and pleasures of theatrical performance. In addition to undertaking careful readings of the plays, we will read and critique some representative secondary criticism. Each member of the class will complete at least two in-class presentations, one on a play and another on a critical essay, both of which involve a written component. The course will culminate in a substantial research essay.

Plays: The Taming of the Shrew, Titus Andronicus, Richard III, The Merchant of Venice, Richard II, Julius Caesar, Othello, Measure for Measure.