E 321 • Shakespeare: Selected Plays
1:00 PM-2:00 PM
We will read eight plays and various sonnets, concentrating on themes established early in Shakespeare's career, when Elizabeth was on the throne. Plays we will read include Midsummer Night's Dream, Romeo and Juliet, 1 Henry 4, Merchant of Venice, Hamlet, and As You Like It. I am interested in those moments in Shakespeare's plays that reflect on dramatic or theatrical fiction while nevertheless being a part of such a fiction. Discussions along this line will be pushed toward greater awareness of the historical conditions of Renaissance drama and particularly the conditions under which these plays were performed--during daylight, on a relatively unadorned, thrust stage, with a repertory company of limited size and composed entirely of males. Also of interest are the various dramatic models and idioms with which Shakespeare played, his choices of historical moments to represent on stage, and the pertinence of such play and such choices in the waning years of Elizabeth's reign.
Quizzes: There will be five or six unannounced quizzes on the reading. There are no makeups. This rule constitutes the de facto attendance policy. If a student misses class on the day of a quiz, the student receives a zero for that quiz. The margin for error is small; I will drop only the lowest grade.
Midterm and Final:These exams will consist of memorization, formal analysis, identification questions, and short answer essays. The two exams will be the same format and length. The final will not be cumulative with regard to the reading.
Journal: Make two good entries per week; each should take about 30 minutes to write.
To be announced. Plays we will read include Midsummer Night's Dream, Romeo and Juliet, 1 Henry 4, Merchant of Venice, Hamlet, and As You Like It.