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Fall 2016 Undergraduate English Courses: Renaissance

358:320 Vices, Machiavels and Revengers

02  MW4    CAC  16002   FULTON       MU-112

Vices, Machiavels and Revengers 

How was Shakespeare’s Hamlet — the world’s most famous work of literature — created?  What dramatic traditions, both Classical and Medieval, created Shakespeare’s tragic art?   This history of drama will explore conventions that developed on the stage from classical revenge tragedy and the drama of the Middle Ages to the layered stagecraft of Renaissance drama.  The course will survey the changing conventions of form and character, particularly the medieval “Vice” character and the classical revenger.  We will consider the exciting range of stages and performance histories of these characters and their plays, and trace the intervention of a newly invented character for the Renaissance, the Machiavellian intelligencer. 

Texts include: Aeschylus, Oresteia, Seneca, Thyestes, Mankind, Everyman, Kyd, Spanish Tragedy, Marlowe, Jew of Malta, Shakespeare, Richard III, Shakespeare, Hamlet, Shakespeare, Measure for Measure, Shakespeare, Othello

Requirements:  Attentive reading and class participation (attendence matters!), small written assignments, 3 papers of increasing length, and occasional quizzes.