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Shakespeare's Women

ENGL 235.301
instructor(s):
MW 3-4:30

This research seminar will focus on Shakespeare's portraits of women in his dramatic and non-dramatic works. We will examine issues of gender and sexuality in Shakespeare's sonnets and his narrative poems (The Rape of Lucrece and Venus and Adonis) as well as such plays as The Taming of the Shrew, Antony and Cleopatra, As You Like It, Macbeth, The Merchant of Venice, The Winter's Tale, Othello, and King Lear. We will be looking at both positive and negative images of women common to the early modern period that are reflected in Shakespeare's poems and plays. These images include: the chaste, silent, and obedient wife, the good queen, the dutiful daughter, the "boy heroine," the shrew, the witch, and the whore. Throughout our studies we will be simultaneously placing Shakespeare in his historical context and finding those moments when his works seem to present profound challenges to the binary stereotypes of his time.