L314 2075 MACKAY
Late Plays of Shakespeare

1:00p-2:15p TR (30) 3 CR.

In this course we will read examples of Shakespeare’s later tragedies, histories, comedies and romances as a body of dramatic literature that wields a great deal of present influence, and one that supplies us with compelling evidence of a culture that is simultaneously familiar to, and wildly dissimilar from, our own. As we study Shakespeare’s take on issues as varied as the marriage bond, the politics of conquest, the problems of neo-classicism, and the complex relation of theatricality to ‘truth,’ we will also discuss the ways Shakespeare’s dramaturgy changes over time, leading to the emergence of new genres and dramatic styles.

In order to situate our chosen texts in critical context, we will simultaneously undertake close readings of the plays and careful analysis of some representative secondary criticism. Each member of the class will complete at least two presentations, one on a selection from a dramatic work and another on a critical essay, both of which involve a written component. The course requirements also include a midterm and three papers—two very short (2 pp.) and one longer research essay on an idea developed from one of the shorter assignments.

Plays: Twelfth Night, Troilus and Cressida, All’s Well That Ends Well, Antony and Cleopatra, King Lear, Macbeth, The Winter’s Tale, The Tempest.