Fall 2023 Undergraduate English Courses

358:314 Shakespeare: The Early Plays

01  CAC    TTH5    08175   LEVAO    FH-B5

This course will explore the first half of Shakespeare’s dramatic career, plays written by him during the reign of Queen Elizabeth I, up until her death in 1603. Eight major works will represent the Folio's three genres of comedy, history, and tragedy and include some of the best-known, controversial, and fascinating works in English literature:  Romeo and JulietA Midsummer Night's Dream, As You Like ItHenry IV Part OneHenry IV Part TwoJulius Caesar, Twelfth Night, and Hamlet.  

Theatrical, intellectual, and socio-political contexts will illuminate the texts, but our primary focus will be on the power and subtlety of the works themselves.  We will study the ways in which Shakespeare stimulates readers and audiences by setting into motion the conflicting minds and desires of  complex characters. Some experience with Shakespeare's poems or plays will be helpful but not necessary. Format will be primarily lecture with some discussion and class participation.  Written requirements include rotating posts on the course website,  two one-hour examinations, primarily objective questions with a short essay, and a three-hour final, primarily essay. Occasional quizzes are possible.