Syllabi & Course Materials

SYLLABUS English 362 (33116) and Drama 332 (33129)
SHAKESPEARE: PLAYS AFTER 1600        Spring 2003

Mondays and Wednesdays, 1:30-2:45, Auerbach 425

Humphrey Tonkin
Office: Mortensen Library, Room 307. Office telephone: 768-4448
Home telephone: 561-2669 Home fax: 561-5219
Admin. Asst. Marcia Suess, Dean of Students Office, 3rd Flr, Gengras, 768-4285
Office hours: By appointment.

General Description:
The course will survey the second half of Shakespeare's career, concentrating on the major tragedies (Hamlet, Othello, King Lear, Macbeth), the so-called problem plays (Troilus and Cressida), and the final romances (The Tempest). In addition to reading these plays and gaining a general understanding of the period and of Shakespeare's contemporaries, students will write three short papers and a final paper and there will also be a final exam. The plays were written to be performed, and so particular attention will be given to the plays as plays, rather than simply as texts, and extensive use will be made of film.

Course Objectives:
To provide students with an understanding of the dynamics and context of Shakespearean drama, with particular emphasis on the plays in the second half of his career.

Student Skills to be Developed:

  1. An understanding of how to approach Shakespeare's plays as literary critic and historian.
  2. Ability to analyze and assess patterns of imagery and thematic concerns.
  3. Historical knowledge: the history of theatre and drama in the period, and the cultural and historical context.

Required Texts:

  1. Shakespeare. Four Tragedies. Penguin. ISBN 0-14-043458-5
  2. Shakespeare. Troilus and Cressida, ed. Daniel Seltzer. Signet Classics (Penguin Putnam). ISBN 0451-52847-6
  3. Shakespeare. The Tempest, ed. Virginia Mason Vaughan. Arden Shakespeare (Thompson Publishing). ISBN 1-903436-08-7

Students are expected to attend all sessions, unless they have notified the instructor in advance and made arrangements to cover the material missed.

Students are expected to have a working e-mail address capable of receiving individual messages and messages to the class as a whole. They are expected to check it regularly.

A first paper, involving analysis of a scene or episode from Hamlet, will be due on Wednesday, February 5.
A second paper, on Othello, will be due on Wednesday, March 5.
A third paper, on Macbeth, will be due on Wednesday, April 9.
A fourth paper, on a topic to be decided, will be due on Monday, April 28.
There will be a final examination.
There may be additional spot quizzes or tests.
Plays should be read in advance of the dates when they are discussed in class.
Students are expected to keep adequate notes.

The first three papers will be graded equally (15%, 15%, 15%). The fourth paper will account for 20% of the grade and the final examination for 25%.
There will be an additional grade for spot quizzes, tests, and class participation (10%), and, accordingly, unexcused absences will affect the final grade.
Late papers will be docked one letter grade per day late.
All written work for the course must be completed, and regular attendance must be recorded, in order for a student to receive a final grade.

Schedule (subject to change as the semester progresses):
(Dates in bold indicate due dates for papers)

Wed. Jan. 22. Introduction

Mon. Jan. 27, Wed. Jan. 29, Mon. Feb. 3, Wed. Feb. 5, Mon. Feb. 10, Wed. Feb. 12. Hamlet

Mon. Feb. 17, Wed. Feb. 19. Troilus and Cressida

Mon. Feb. 24, Wed. Feb. 26, Mon. Mar. 3, Wed. Mar. 5. Othello

Mon. Mar. 10, Wed. Mar. 12, Mon. Mar. 24, Wed. Mar. 26. King Lear

Mon. Mar. 31, Wed. Apr. 2, Mon. Apr. 7, Wed. Apr. 9. Macbeth

Mon. Apr. 14, Wed. Apr. 16, Mon. Apr. 21, Wed. Apr. 23, Mon. Apr. 28, Wed. Apr. 30. The Tempest

Mon. May 5. Conclusion.

Additional Activities:
It is recommended that students attend one of the performances of John Ford's 'Tis Pity She's a Whore, one of the spring productions of students in the Theatre Division of the Hartt School. Performances will take place on April 3, 4, 12 and 13. This play, by a younger contemporary of Shakespeare, will be one of the plays featured in a lecture series on Jacobean Tragedy given by Prof. Tonkin for the President's College at 4:30 on the following Wednesdays: March 26, April 2, April 9, April 23, and April 30. Students are welcome to attend these lectures.

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