English 225a

Kim Benston

MW 12:30-2

HU III

 

SHAKESPEARE: THE TRAGIC AND BEYOND

 

An "introductory emphasis" study of the major tragedies, with special reference to the evolution of dramatic form, poetic style, characterization, and ideology as they are shaped by Shakespeare's persistent experimentation with dramas of extravagant will, desire, tyranny, skepticism, and death.

 

Particular attention will be paid to key scenes in an effort to assess both Shakespeare's response to contemporary literary and cultural concerns and the internal reformation of his own theatrical craft.  In addition, films of most plays will be screened in order to study the "translation" of the Shakespearean text into other representational media and cultural moments.  (Films will be shown in Chase Auditorium on Sundays at 7:00 P.M.) 

[As film analysis will provide an essential means of engaging issues of performance, students will be required to view all films; copies will be on reserve at the library for those who cannot attend Sunday night screenings.]

 

There will also be multiple opportunities for student performance, may the spirit be willing.

 

Students will write essays of various lengths and kinds throughout the term, including a

mid-term, a director's notebook, and a final consisting of several essays on a variety of topics.

 

 

I. The Formation of Shakespearean Tragedy

 

Richard III

Romeo & Juliet

Julius Caesar

 

 

II. Deflecting the Tragic: The "Sharp Edge" of Comedy

 

Twelfth Night

 

 

III. The Tragic Vision

 

Hamlet

Othello

Macbeth

King Lear

 

 

English 225a satisfies the “Introductory Emphasis” requirement for the Haverford English major.

 

Enrollment in this course will be limited to thirty.