Course Description and Objectives:
In this course we will read eight plays from the latter half of Shakespeare’s career. Students should emerge from this course with an appreciation for Shakespeare’s plays as texts for reading and performance and with a better understanding of how those texts engaged with the theatrical, historical, and social tensions of Elizabethan and Jacobean England. We will pay particular attention to the structure and the language of the plays as we develop the skills of close reading, critical writing, and group discussion.
The Riverside Shakespeare. Ed. G. B. Evans. 2nd Ed. (Houghton Mifflin, 1997). Other modern editions of the plays (such as Norton, Oxford, Arden, and Penguin) are acceptable as long as they have sufficient notes and introductory material. Check with me if you are unsure about your edition.
The Bedford Companion to Shakespeare. Ed. Russ McDonald. 2nd Ed. (Bedford, 2001).
• Midterm Exam
• Final Exam
• Reading quizzes (one per play)
• Two short papers (2-3 pages)
• Attendance and participation
Schedule of Readings and Assignments:
Tues. Aug. 16: Introduction Part I
Thurs. Aug. 18: Introduction Part II: McDonald Chapters 1 and 4
Tues. Aug. 23: Hamlet; McDonald Chapter 6
Thurs. Aug 25: Hamlet; Quiz
Tues. Aug. 30: Hamlet
Thurs. Sept. 1: Othello; McDonald Chapter 8
Tues. Sept. 6: Othello; Quiz
Thurs. Sept. 8: Othello
Tues. Sept. 13: King Lear; McDonald Chapter 2
Thurs. Sept. 15: King Lear; Quiz
Tues. Sept. 20: King Lear; Close Reading #1 Due
Thurs. Sept. 22: Measure for Measure
Tues. Sept. 27: Measure for Measure; Quiz
Thurs. Sept. 29: Measure for Measure
Tues. Oct. 4: Midterm Review and Workshop Discussion of Close Reading #1
Thurs. Oct. 6: Midterm Exam
Tues. Oct. 11: Fall Break. No Class.
Thurs. Oct. 13: Antony and Cleopatra; McDonald Chapter 3
Tues. Oct. 18: Antony and Cleopatra; Quiz
Thurs. Oct. 20: Antony and Cleopatra
Tues. Oct. 25: Cymbeline; McDonald Chapter 5
Thurs. Oct. 27: Cymbeline; Quiz
Tues. Nov. 1: Cymbeline
Thurs. Nov. 3: The Winter’s Tale
Tues. Nov. 8: No class.
Thurs. Nov. 10: The Winter’s Tale; McDonald Chapter 7; Quiz
Tues. Nov. 15: The Winter’s Tale; Close Reading #2 Due
Thurs. Nov. 17: The Tempest; McDonald Chapter 10
Tues. Nov. 22: The Tempest; Quiz
Thurs. Nov. 24: Thanksgiving Break. No class.
Tues. Nov. 29: The Tempest; Review for Final Exam; Course Evaluations
Thurs. Dec. 1: Final Exam
Quizzes and Participation: 20%
Short paper #1: 20%
Short paper #2: 20%
Attendance and Participation: In addition to the reading quizzes, your grade for participation will be calculated directly from your attendance record and from your participation in class discussions. I expect you to attend every class meeting and to arrive on time. More than three absences will directly lower your course grade unless you have made specific arrangement with me in advance (or as soon after the absence as possible in the case of an emergency). If you miss the first or second class meeting without prior notice or if you miss four or more classes before the Midterm, you will be dropped from the course. Because arriving late to class is rude and disruptive to your peers, habitual lateness will also lower your course grade. You are responsible for keeping up with the reading and writing assignments for any class that you miss.
I will hand out discussion questions for each play that we read, and you will be responsible for thinking carefully about these questions prior to class. You should also be prepared to share your responses to these questions with your classmates. In addition to asking for volunteers, I will occasionally call on students to share their ideas, questions, or concerns. I am not looking for “right” answers or even fully formed conclusions to these questions; I simply want to see that you are engaging with Shakespeare’s plays critically and thoughtfully.
I encourage everyone to participate in class discussions, and regular and active participation will raise your course grade. Of course, in order to participate fully, you will need to come to class prepared – that is, having read the material, having thought about it, and having brought it with you. Be sure to silence cell phones, pagers, and any other electronic devices when you enter the classroom!
Reading Quizzes: Reading quizzes will be given on the second class meeting for each play we read. Quizzes will cover the entire play and are designed to see if you have been reading carefully. They will consist of 10 questions and a possible bonus question. Your lowest quiz score will be dropped; there are no make-up quizzes.
Exams: There will be two exams—one at midterm (October 6) and one on the last day of class (December 1). The midterm will cover our reading during the first half of the semester (through Macbeth) and the final will cover our reading during the second half of the semester. Exams will consist of identification questions as well as essays questions. Dates and times of both exams are firm; there are no make-up exams.
Papers: Papers should be typed in a 12-point font with one-inch margins and page numbers, double-spaced, and stapled. You are required to hand in paper copies of your essays; I will not accept essays handed in via email or computer disk. Papers are due at the beginning of class on the due date. I WILL NOT ACCEPT LATE PAPERS.
Plagiarism: Plagiarism—copying or using another’s work without proper acknowledgement—is a serious academic offense that will not be tolerated in this class. I expect you to abide by the UNCG academic honor policy on all work. If you plagiarize, the work in question will receive an F and you will risk failing the course. Repeated offenses can cause you to be expelled from the University. If you are unsure about how to give credit to your sources or have any questions about what constitutes an act of plagiarism, please come talk to me!