L313 0267 CHARNES
Early Plays of Shakespeare

2:35p-3:50p D (30) 3 CR.

This course will examine social and political politics, familial relations, and competing versions of “history” in eight of Shakespeare’s Elizabethan plays. We will pay special attention to how social and economic systems organize familial and love relations, how conflicts between individuals and social codes are worked out (or not, depending on one’s viewpoint), through strategies of genre, scapegoating, misrecognition, marriage, death and revenge. We will ground our reading of the plays in Renaissance social and cultural history, looking at the effects of female rule in a patriarchal culture, an emerging capitalist economy, and other factors that strongly influenced gender, family and class relationships. We will read several comedies, history plays, and tragedies; and look at how the choice, structure, and conventions of genre alter, disguise or reveal the debates and crises circulating in early modern England and the theatre.

Plays will include Richard II, 1 Henry IV, Much Ado about Nothing, Merchant of Venice, Romeo and Juliet, and Hamlet. Requirements will be two papers, a midterm, attendance and participation, and a final exam.