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Shakespeare's Bible

ENGL 026.001
instructor(s):
TR 3–4:30
fulfills requirements:
Sector 3: Early Literature to 1660 of the Standard Major

This course will examine Shakespeare's dependence in select plays on the Bible and on the  allegorical resonances of the medieval mystery play.

Some people say that King Lear  is set in pre-Christian times.  Yet there is at least one unmistakeable reference to the New Testament in that play, and it has been argued that when King Lear is reunited with Cordelia, he goes through the steps of Christian penance, well known to Shakespeare's audience.  Bottom, too, in Midsummer Night's Dream, knows his epistles of St. Paul--well, sort of knows them; but in Bottom, we are not talking about a person of great  intelligence, lovable though he may be.  No previous knowledge of Shakespeare necessary.

Plays:  Midsummer Night's DreamThe Merchant of Venice,  All's Well that End's WellHamlet,  King Lear,  Winter's Tale,  Pericles,  Tempest.   Bible, King James Version.   Two short papers, one midterm, final.