This course seeks to place Shakespeare's dramas in their own time and culture. We shall consider what it meant to entertain Elizabethan and Jacobean audiences by writing plays for a specific acting company of adult men and boys. Our readings will cover all the genres (five comedies, three histories, four tragedies) drawn from all stages of Shakespeare's career; we shall ask what they reveal about the "self" in connection with the family, the state, and the universe. To do so, we shall need to acquaint ourselves with details about the actor and the theater in Renaissance London, comprised as it was of the marketplace, the lawcourts, the government, and the church. 12 plays, 2 papers, some quizzes, and a final examination.
This course is a "General Requirement" course within the "Arts & Letters" sector. Each College of Arts & Sciences student must take one "General Requirement" course within Arts & Letters and one "distributional" course. (This course is much like English 35 once was; students who have already taken English 35 should not take 101.)