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Shakespeare: Histories and Comedies

ENGL 036.001
instructor(s):
MW 3-4:30

 

"Age cannot wither her, nor custom stale
Her infinite variety. Other women cloy
The appetites they feed, but she makes hungry
Where most she satisfies."

This course will investigate the infinite variety of Shakespeare, both as a thinker and as a dramatist. We will analyze his understanding of the profound conflicts in Human nature and in the politics of courtesy. We will also analyze how his skill with plot construction, contrast of scenes, pacing of dialogue, and both metaphor and levels of diction produces moments of powerful emotional complexity. Finally, we will examine the assumptions on which the particular quality of Shakespeare's comedy depends and his use of comedy in making arguments about politics. Plays we will cover are: Midsummer Night's Dream, Much Ado About Nothing, As You Like it, Twelfth Night, Measure for Measure, Richard II, Henry IV, Parts I and II, Henry V, and Antony and Cleopatra. Two papers, a midterm, and a final. Quizzes, unless they prove to be unnecessary."