30.339 Shakespeare I

Shakespeare I takes a primarily historical approach to the study of Shakespeare’s plays, considering their social, political, religious, and cultural context. The course deals with difficult but illuminating questions such as, “what did Shakespeare’s plays look like when they were first performed?” and “How might Shakespeare’s original audiences have reacted to his plays?” By means of close readings, the course will examine representative Shakespearean tragedies, comedies, tragicomedies, and histories, but not duplicating any texts studied in 30/20.3xx: Shakespeare II.  Students will be able to articulate their responses to the plays through class discussions, persuasive essays, and group performances.

Cross-registered with (Drama) 20:339.
3 lecture hours per week, one term.
Prerequisite: 6 credit hours in first-year English literature or permission of Instructor.

Tentative Reading List and Schedule for the Fall 2017 semester:
Course text: The Norton Shakespeare: Essential Plays, The Sonnets. 3ed. ISBN: 9780393938630

For more information, please contact Dr. Smid.


6 (W) Introduction to the course

8 (F) Introduction to Shakespeare and performance

11 (M) Introduction to interpreting Shakespeare; Taming of the Shrew

13 (W) Taming of the Shrew

15 (F) Taming of the Shrew

18 (M)  Taming of the Shrew

20 (W)  Taming of the Shrew

22 (F) Othello

25 (M) Othello

27 (W) Othello

29 (F) Othello


2 (M)   Much Ado About Nothing      

4 (W)   Much Ado About Nothing

6 (F) Much Ado About Nothing

9 (M) Thanksgiving

11 (W) Much Ado About Nothing

13 (F) Much Ado About Nothing

16 (M) Titus Andronicus

18 (W) Titus Andronicus

20 (F) Titus Andronicus

23 (M) Titus Andronicus

25 (W) Richard III

27 (F) Richard III

30 (M) Richard III


1 (W)   Richard III    

3 (F) Richard III  

6-10 No classes

13 (M) A Midsummer Night’s Dream

15 (W) A Midsummer Night’s Dream

17 (F) A Midsummer Night’s Dream

20 (M) The Winter’s Tale

22 (W) The Winter’s Tale

24 (F) The Winter’s Tale

27 (M) The Tempest

29 (W) The Tempest


1 (F) The Tempest

4 (M)   Performances

6 (W)   Exam prep, course evaluations