E 321 • Shakespeare: Selected Plays
3:30 PM-5:00 PM
This course has four main objectives. The first is to explore the ways in which Shakespeare's plays develop particularly modern conceptions of self and society: a conception of human identity as something fashioned by the individual and a conception of the social order as historically contingent and man-made. The second objective of the course is to increase understanding of how Shakespeare constructs his plays, how he sets characters off against one another, how he uses verbal images and dramatic action to convey themes, and how he shapes scenes, groups of scenes, and whole plays. Third, the course will explore the issue of genre and will try to arrive at some definition of the different kinds of plays (comedies, histories, tragedies, and romances) that Shakespeare wrote. Finally, the course aims to help students improve their writing by having them write constantly throughout the semester, re-write the first major essay, and practice peer-reviewing.
Students will write two five-page essays (the first one will be re-written) and six short "position papers" on individual plays. They will also do two formal peer reviews of other students' writing. There will be two exams. Each of the five-page essays will count twenty percent of the final grade. The "position papers" will count ten percent, as will the peer reviews. Each of the exams will count twenty percent. Class participation will be factored into the final grade.
The Complete Works of Shakespeare, edited by David Bevington (Scott, Foresman), or any comparable edition, such as the Pelican Shakespeare, or the Riverside Shakespeare, or individual paperbacks such as those in the Pelican and Signet series.
NOTE: You MUST bring your book with you to class.