English | Early Plays of Shakespeare
L313 | 2949 | Ellen MacKay

Ellen MacKay

2949 - 9:30a-10:45a TR (30 students) 3 cr. A&H.

In this class we will study examples of Shakespeare’s early
tragedies (Romeo and Juliet, Julius Caesar, Hamlet), histories
(Richard II and Richard III) and comedies (A Midsummer Night’s
Dream, Taming of the Shrew) as a body of literature that wields a
great deal of present influence, and that supplies us with rich and
compelling evidence of early modern English culture. We will
contemplate Shakespeare’s take on a wide range of matters, including
marital domesticity, classicism, the rise of nationalism, crime and
punishment, human rights, sexuality, republicanism, and the emerging
stage, and we will discuss the plays’ formal, dramatic and
theoretical tendencies.

In addition to undertaking close readings of the plays, we will read
and critique some representative scholarship. Each member of the
class will complete 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 an 8-10 page research essay.