This class is designed for students interested in becoming familiar (or more familiar) with Shakespeare's work through a study of ten of his plays. We will be addressing a variety of questions in this class. Some will pertain to genre (why is a comedy not a tragedy?); others to performance (why are props and costumes important?); and still others to language (when do words give way to violence?). In addition, we will be discussing issues of broader social consequence, relating to categories of gender and class, native and foreign, landed and displaced. Nor will we neglect the phenomenon of Shakespeare’s art: how is it that – four hundred years after their first performance-- these plays continue to play such an important role in the Western tradition and beyond? Classes will consist of two lectures and one recitation per week. A midterm, paper, and final will be required.