We will spend the term immersed in in-depth reading and analysis of the plot, structure, and language, and cultural context of five Shakespeare tragedies: Titus Andronicus, Julius Caesar, Hamlet, King Lear, and Othello. We will also read Tom Stoppard’s 20th-century existentialist, absurdist parody of Hamlet, Rosencrantz and Guildenstern Are Dead. We will focus on the themes of power, corruption, betrayal, revenge, despair, and madness, among others. We will also spend considerable time discussing representations of gender, race and old age in Shakespeare. Additionally, we will screen and discuss several 20th-century and contemporary films based on individual plays, actively considering the choices film directors have made in their interpretations of the texts. Students should expect to write two critical essays, take multiple in-class reading quizzes, and participate actively and vocally in class conversations.
Through this course, students will develop:
1) A familiarity with some of Shakespeare's tragedy, an understanding of his treatment of some common themes across texts, and an appreciation for his rhetorical and linguistic decisions.
2) The ability to read a work of literature closely, even (or especially) when the language and figuration are difficult and/or unfamiliar;
3) The ability to think, speak, and write critically about Shakespeare's work, both as dramatic literature on the page and as a text for contemporary performance.
Delivery Method: Fully in-person
Course Level: 2000-level
F 10:30AM - 12:20PM & F 2:10PM - 4:00PM (Full-term)
Maximum Enrollment: 20
Course Frequency: Every 2-3 years
Categories: 2000 , All courses , Four Credit , Fully In-Person , Literature
Tags: 17th century , British literature , close reading , critical writing , despair , drama , dramatic literature , existentialism , film studies , literature , power , Renaissance , Shakespeare , tragedy