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ADEN 1326 Shakespeare I -The Author and His Times: Comedies and Dark Humor (Fall: 4 )

Course Description

In this study of selected plays from the Shakespearean canon, we shall learn that his comedies are far more than “the plays which end in marriages”. As our cornerstone, students will understand Elizabethan culture, and become familiar with Renaissance theories of love (including Plato, Christian ideals, and courtly love). We will also examine the deft use of humor in the plays, including the roots of what we enjoy in contemporary comedy: puns, double entendres, gender confusion, and slapstick physical comedy. Finally, we will analyze darker themes shared in common with his tragedies: oppression, the dangers of urban life, loneliness, marginalization and social injustice. We will evaluate selected plays as exemplars of his best work: A Midsummer Night's Dream; The Tempest; Much Ado about Nothing, and one darkly humorous tragedy--Hamlet.

Schedule: Periodically


Prerequisites: None

Cross listed with:

Comments: Fulfills the pre-1700 requirement

Last Updated: 24-Jun-17