Penn Arts & Sciences Logo

Shakespeare's Histories and Comedies

ENGL 036.001
instructor(s):
MWF 1

We shall read all but one of Shakespeare's plays about English history (*Henry VI, parts One, Two, Three*, *Richard III*, *Richard II*, *Henry IV, Parts One and Two*, and *Henry V*) to see how they express Elizabethan anxieties and convictions about power and authority; these emerge directly in struggles for rulership and indirectly in questions of identity, family loyalties, and gender roles.  Shakespeare addressed many of the same questions in his romantic comedies, written contemporaneously with the histories.  We shall read *The Comedy of Errors*, *A Midsummer Night's Dream*, *Much Ado About Nothing*, *As You Like It*, and *Twelfth Night*.  Together, these history plays and comedies should give us a picture of the way Shakespeare developed an understanding of dramatic entertainment in response to the social and political interests of his time.  Two five or six page papers, a test, a final examination.
 
Note: English majors should note take English 101, but rather English 36, 235, or 236. English 36, taken along with any medieval literature course, may be used to satisfy the usual English 201 requirement.