This course offers an introduction to some of Shakespeare’s most popular works with no prior experience expected or required. We will read some of Shakespeare’s poetry and plays, including comedies such as The Merchant of Venice, tragedies such as Romeo and Juliet, and romances such as Pericles. We will engage these texts through a range of critical lenses and will discuss how the plays interact with our own ideas about love, gender and sexuality, political power, and race and religion. Our coursework will cultivate critical skills in reading and writing about language, literary form, and historical context. We will also explore how Shakespeare’s plays can be performed and adapted. Course requirements include weekly participation, two short response papers, a midterm, and a final exam.