Spring 2012 - Undergraduate Course Descriptions

Cohen, Milton
Discipline and Number
LIT 3320 Section 001
MW Time 10:00 AM - 11:15 AM
Course Title
Shakespeare's Tragedies

Description of Course:

This course covers five tragedies: Romeo and Juliet, Hamlet, Macbeth, Othello, and King Lear.

In reading the plays, we shall pay particular attention to their poetry, a quality that sometimes defers to discussions of character and theme. Augmenting our discussions, we shall watch scenes from video performances, sometimes comparing how different versions interpret a scene.

We shall also consider the plays in their tragic form, reading Aristotle's prescriptions for tragedy in the Poetics, and noting how Shakespeare's patterns both adhere to and diverge from classical standards.

Required Texts:

packet of readings (available only at Off-Campus Books)
Romeo and Juliet (New Folger Library, Washington Square Press)
Hamlet (Signet)
Othello (Signet)
Macbeth (Signet)
King Lear (Signet)

(Students may use other editions or a "complete works" edition, but will be responsible for finding page and line references matching the editions listed above and for finding scholarship assigned from the assigned editions.)

Course Requirements/Evaluation Criteria:

1. Students will write two short, analytical papers (ca. 5-6 pages) or one long one (10-12 pages). The long paper and one of the short papers will require secondary research. In place of a short paper, students can substitute a 20 minute oral report or a carefully-rehearsed performance of a scene.

2. Class participation is especially important in this course (counting for about 40% of the final grade) and assumes the following forms:
a. brief "response" papers and/or quizzes over particular acts and scenes
b. voluntary "reading" performances of brief scenes
c. class discussion and attendance

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