358:314 Shakespeare:The Early Plays

01   TTH4  CAC   00204  LEVAO  AB-2400

The brilliance of Shakespeare’s plays was recognized early in his career. This course will be devoted to eight major works from its first half, a span of about 15 years (1588-1603) often called his Elizabethan period after the reigning monarch, Elizabeth I. The course will draw from the three kinds of drama delineated by the First Folio--Comedies, Histories, and Tragedies--and will include Romeo and Juliet, A Midsummer Night’s Dream, As You Like It, Henry IV, Part One, Henry IV, Part Two, Twelfth Night, and Hamlet. Some attention will be given to ethical, political, aesthetic, religious, and philosophical contexts, but our primary focus will be on the plays as literary and dramatic artifacts whose verbal texture and thematic complexity have challenged and stimulated audiences for over four centuries.

Format is lecture with time left for questioning and discussion when students request it. Grading is based on three examinations--two midterms and a three-hour final--all of which are explained in the course syllabus.