This class, designed to spark a love of the Bard and give a solid introduction, starts with a tour through Shakespeare’s life and amazing use of language. The concepts we learn about his use of poetic meter, prose, and rhetorical devices will be an indispensable part of the remaining weeks’ study and in fact any future literature study.
We then turn to a survey of Shakespeare’s comedy, viewing examples of his comedy in action on the stage and getting a sampling of Shakespearean insults. Next are the history plays, where we examine Shakespeare’s take on politics, war, and intrigue, and how language factors into all of these.
We spend a few weeks learning how to tackle and appreciate the longer speeches in his plays: soliloquies and monologues. This is done via character studies of Shylock and Hamlet.
I use a unique approach to two of his most popular sonnets: “Shall I compare thee to a summer’s day” and “Let me not to the marriage of true minds.” We will see how the surface meaning of each poem tells us one story, but a careful examination of word choice and meter lends a completely different shade of meaning to each sonnet.
The course concludes with a discussion on the structure of Shakespeare’s tragedies with examples, and then a discussion on the final plays he authored and what they can tell us about his craft.
NOTE: Registration deadline is August 26, 2019.