Focuses on reading, discussion, and written analysis of six to eight of William Shakespeare’s comedies, histories, and tragedies. Readings can also include Shakespeare’s non-dramatic poetry. Students also have the opportunity to observe, analyze, and evaluate his works in performance, either live or recorded.
Goals, Topics, and Objectives
- Introduction to literary terms and methods of discussing literature.
- A brief history of Renaissance England and the English language.
- Introduction to Shakespeare's stage.
- Analysis and discussion of various plays by Shakespeare, including discussion of the genres (tragedies, comedies, and histories). Plays may be addressed chronologically or grouped by genre.
- Introduction to Shakespeare's sonnets.
Students should be able to accomplish the following:
Formulate an interpretive thesis (as opposed to one which merely reports something factual about a literary text).
Compose an essay which either
Identify some of the key literary terms that are essential to an introductory-level understanding of Shakespeare and English Renaissance literature.
Identify features in a given text that would commonly be considered typical of Shakespeare and English Renaissance literature..
Evaluate some political or artistic goals of Shakespeare’s plays.
Explain Shakespeare’s work in a historical or literary context.
Identify and analyze principal works and passages reflecting some of the Shakespeare's pivotal themes.
Note that a grade of C- is not transferrable and is not accepted by some programs at HFC
Assessment and Requirements
Assessment may include (but need not be limited to) quizzes, class participation, essays, and exams. But assessment must include a minimum of 2,000 words of formal literary analysis.
- Students will write at least one out-of-class essay of literary analysis that is at least 1,200 words in length.
- Students will take at least one written exam which requires them to analyze literature; whether a single essay or multiple shorter responses, this expository component will count for at least half of the credit for that exam.
Students will read substantial and representative selections from the works of Shakespeare.
Students will read a substantial and representative selection of Shakespearean texts that explore many of Shakespeare’s recurring themes, such as revenge, kingship, gender roles, social order and disorder, treatment of outsiders, ambition, human frailty, death, regeneration, mutability, the power and limitations of language, beauty, art/artifice, and nature.
Students will regularly engage in thoughtful discussion of the assigned readings.
Students will study (through assigned readings and / or classroom discussion) the cultural contexts from which the literature emerges.
Students will study concepts that are essential to an introductory-level understanding of Shakespeare, including such things as character, conflict, setting, theme, symbol, point of view, metaphor, rhyme, meter, allusion, irony, comedy, tragedy, history, romantic comedy, sonnet, conceit, iambic pentameter, soliloquy, groundlings, plot, conflict, climax, resolution, exposition, protagonist, antagonist, foreshadowing, and catharsis.
Students should learn appropriate biographical information about assigned writers when such information could be helpful in understanding the literature.
Students should take quizzes on assigned readings.
Students should keep a journal in which they record their responses to assigned readings and class discussions.
Students should learn to place the major assigned texts on an historical time line.
Students should satisfactorily read at least one poem or scene aloud, either in class or in the instructor’s office.
Instructors should welcome and support the diverse identities, backgrounds, and academic experience of our students as essential foundations for college community.