Few students will need to be convinced of the centrality of Shakespeare to English literature. At once poignantly true to life and perversely ironical, elevated, and farcical, Shakespeare gives the English language words and phrases for every season. In this course, students will read closely several of Shakespeare’s most influential plays from each of his three genres: history, comedy, and tragedy. Students will consider what structures Shakespeare’s plays, what drives his characters, what accounts for their deep insight into human affairs, and most importantly what makes his words so perfect.

We will readAs You Like ItA Midsummer Night’s DreamThe TempestHenry VJulius CaesarMacbethKing Lear, and Othello.