In this course
we will read seven plays. Two comedies, A MIDSUMMER NIGHT’S DREAM and TWELFTH
NIGHT, contain great comic characters like Sir Toby Belch, Andrew Aguecheek,
and Nick Bottom; dark and tragic figures like Malvolio; serious themes, much
laughter, and a mixture of poetry and buffoonery guaranteed to enchant all
audiences. The third and fourth comedies, THE TAMING OF THE SHREW and THE
MERCHANT OF VENICE, are darker plays with gender conflict and anti-semitic
themes, respectively. The two tragedies–OTHELLO and KING LEAR–represent
Shakespeare’s magnificent presentation of the human condition in all of its
variety. Finally, PERICLES provides a tragi-comic view of one man’s journey on
the sea of life replete with its multiple ups and downs. The course will
consist of four essays of three to five pages, an essay final exam, seven video
responses, and numerous in-class reaction papers.  Attendance will count.