Major I: Shakespeare
Shakespeare courses foster understanding of Shakespeare’s comedies and tragedies. Besides introducing students to central questions in the study of dramatic art and to broader issues pertaining the study of literature in English, they enhance students’ cultural literacy by deepening their comprehension of arguably the best known writings of an English author.
Many of Shakespeare's early plays are romantic comedies, a genre that was and remains easy to dismiss as simplistic and idealized. However, under the... (read more)
Students read, discuss, and critique Shakespeare's early comedies and tragedies. Plays covered generally include (but are not limited to) A Mid-Summer Night's Dream, The Merchant of Venice, Henry IV (Part One), Richard II, Henry V, Julius Caesar... (read more)
Shakespeare’s later plays seem to be keenly aware of the power and influence of theatre. In selfreflexive characters we might categorize as lovers, fools, and madmen, his plays confront the political and social concerns of his original audiences, concerns that continue to challenge us today,... (read more)
Madness, truth, honor, pity—these are a few of the concepts Shakespeare explores in his earliest plays. We will scrutinize the representations of these ideas and others that emerge in plots of political intrigue, tyranny, rebellion, and vengeance. Working within this frame, we will attempt to... (read more)
In self-reflexive characters we might categorize as lovers, fools, and madmen, the later plays of Shakespeare confront the political and social concerns of his original audiences, concerns that continue to challenge us today, including issues of gender, race, class, and... (read more)
This course, which focuses on four of the later plays of Shakespeare’s career, is designed as an introduction to the language, themes, contexts, and implications of Shakespeare’s most mature work. Though our close reading of these plays will lead us to consider any number of the many topics... (read more)