“All the world’s a stage and all the men and women merely players” says a character in Shakespeare’s As You Like It. But how does the stage itself imagine the world and especially human freedom and the limits set upon that freedom. Are these limits set by God, fate, society, or our own inner selves? Are they sexual or racial in nature? How can they be transgressed? Is the result always tragic? Great drama has offered varied answers to these questions over the ages, and we will explore some of the most exiting and urgent of these. We will read a wide range of plays that span different ages, cultures and forms of writing. Texts will likely include Sophocles’s Oedipus Rex, Marlowe’s Dr. Faustus, Shakespeare’s Hamlet, Ibsen’s Doll’s House, Bertolt Brecht’s Mother Courage and her Children, Arthur Miller’s The Death of a Salesman, Samuel Beckett, Waiting for Godot, David Hwang’s M Butterfly, Wole Soyinka's, Death and the King's Horseman and Manjula Padmanabhan’s Harvest.
Students will be graded on the basis of class participation, a mid-term and a final examination.