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Topics in Shakespeare

ENGL 235.301
TR 9-10:30

We will be examining some traditional assumptions about Shakespeare's tragic characters: that they each possess a tragic flaw and develop tragic insight. In what sense are these notions too old-fashioned for us and yet too new-fangled for Shakespeare? What happens when tragic identity is opened up beyond the psychological to include various externals: the landscape, objects, clothing, names? How are Othello, Macbeth, Hamlet and Lear different from characters in other Shakespearean genres: the twins in Comedy of Errorrs, for example, Falstaff in 1 Henry IV, or Caliban in Tempest? While we will begin by returning to the classical sites for discussions of tragic character, we will move ahead by venturing into more recent philosophical and theoretical discussion--for example, from Descartes, Freud, Foucault, Derrida, Zizek. Two ten-pages; daily exercises; and one final exam. PROMPT attendance is required!