Return to calling page.
Grades should be posted outside 421 Wheeler on Tuesday 27 May (Monday is Memorial Day, a holiday)
Narrative structures: actions, plots; logic of plot-construction.
Characters: whether virtuous or vicious; also place in plot, e.g.: principal characters; exploited characters (used by Shakespeare to make other characters look better or worse); super-characters; extraneous characters; "outsiders" (Don Amando, Shylock, Malvolio, Caliban).
Conclusions or denouements: rewards and punishments; good deaths; justified deaths; do characters end up better or worse than they deserve?
Mechanics of end-results: do things come about by intention? by letting things work themselves out? by coincidence or dumb luck? by natural means? supernatural means?
Gender issues: relative power of men and women; how do women compensate? changing of roles; cross-dressing. If gender is important, is it more important than class?
Language: do characters speak prose? poetry? blank verse? rhymed verse? do they change the kind of language they speak over time? Is there a one-to-one suitability of language to character?
How is language used? to create atmosphere? spells? relationships? curses? storms? love? hate? comedy? wit? national, ethnic, or gender differences?
Physical space: benefits or disadvantages of open-plan stage? daylight? costume? absence of scenery? limited use of curtains?
Themes and topics: moral obligations: loyalty to king? ruler? overseer? living parents? dead parents? extended family? servants? others? Obligation to right wrongs? to fall in love? to beget children? to care for them?
The topic for the third paper is the intermixture of the comic and the serious in Shakespeare. Select a comic incident in a tragedy or a tragic incident in a comedy. What is the effect of the apparently indecorous incident? Is the comedy mere "comic relief?" Is the serious or troubling event in the comedy no more than a momentary complication to add suspense?
Do not try to answer this question in the abstract; do try to define the effect of a particular incident both in its immediate context and in relation to the play as a whole.
English 17 SHAKESPEARE Spring 1997 Mr. Nelson 22 Warren Hall TTh 11:00-12:30 Tentative Reading List Week 1 Tu Jan 21 Introduction: Contexts, Life, Works Th 23 Poetry in Love's Labor's Lost and A Midsummer Night's Dream Week 2 Tu 28 Love's Labor's Lost Th 30 Week 3 Tu Feb 4 A Midsummer Night's Dream Th 6 Week 4 Tu 11 Richard III Mini-exam #1 Th 13 Week 5 Tu 18 Henry IV, Part 1 Mini-exam #2 Th 20 First Paper Due Week 6 Tu 25 Romeo and Juliet Mini-exam #3 Th 27 Week 7 Tu Mar 4 Merchant of Venice Mini-exam #4 Th 6 Week 8 Tu 11 Much Ado About Nothing Th 13 Week 9 Tu 18 Sonnets Th 20 Second paper due SPRING BREAK 24-28 March Week 10 Tu Apr 1 Hamlet Th 3 Week 11 Tu 8 Twelfth Night Th 10 Week 12 Tu 15 Anthony and Cleopatra Th 17 Week 13 Tu 22 King Lear Th 24 Third paper due Week 14 Tu 29 The Tempest Th May 1 Week 15 Tu 6 REVIEW WEEK Th 8 Final Examination: Wednesday, 21 May, 8-11 a.m. Notes on class business. 1) We will normally read one play per week. Students are expected to have read each play to the end by the appropriate Tuesday. 2) In lieu of a single mid-term examination, four mini-exams (20 minutes each) will be administered over four successive Tuesdays (Weeks 4-7). Each mini-exam will consist of one identification taken from the reading for that Tuesday, plus one essay on a topic discussed in previous weeks. Each student must take three and only three mini-exams. No make-up mini-exams will be permitted except on written medical excuses. 3) Play readings will be organized throughout the semester, both late-afternoons and evenings. Although this is a voluntary activity, and students are not required to attend, each student is urged to participate in at least one reading. 4) Most if not all of the plays on the reading-schedule are available in the audio-visual facility on the first (lowest) level of Moffit Library. Students are urged to watch plays on VCR, but as a supplment and not as a substitute for reading. 5) Students are expected to attend class regularly. Attendance will be taken at the instructor's discretion. Persistent absences will result in a reduction in the final grade. 6) Students are reminded of the Department of English policy regarding plagiarism:
All written work submitted in this course, except for acknowledged quotations, is to be expressed in your own words. It should also be constructed upon a plan of your devising. Work copied from a book, from another student's paper, or from any other source is not acceptable. The submission of such copied work will, under University rules, render the offending student subject to an F grade for the work in question or for the whole course, and will also make him/her liable for referral to the Director of the Office of Student Activities and Programs for further disciplinary action.
Moderate quotation for illustrative ends is often advantageous. Such passages must be placed within quotation marks or otherwise identified. Moreover, if reliance is placed upon a particular work for ideas, acknowledgment must be made. The instructor will be glad to answer questions as to the proper use of footnotes and citations for identification of sources.
Return to calling page.
The essence of the first paper assignment is to discuss a passage which consists of a speech of one character followed by the speech of another. Show how each of the two speeches individually relates to the character of the speaker; then show how the transition from one kind of speech to the next reflects or creates a contrast between the two characters.
As a practical matter, you will have to find two consecutive speeches by two characters who differ from one another in a significant manner (gender, class, role). Then show how each individual is characterized by his or her manner of speech. Finally, show how the difference between the two characters is reflected in the differences in their manner of speech.
Papers are due Thursday the 20th of March. Don't miss class for the sake of completing a paper; rather, attend on the 20th, and finish your paper by 4:00 p.m., which is the final deadline. Papers not handed in at class may be slipped under the door of 421 Wheeler.
Discuss a speech or part of a speech by one character which dictinctly enriches that character - makes us care about him or her, whether positively or negatively. The example given in class - Shylock's speech appealing for sympathy on grounds of common humanity - is off limits, but may suggest a pattern for your own analysis.
For this second paper you are limited to four plays, except that you may not write about Henry IV Part 1 again if you wrote your first paper on that play: Henry IV Part 1, Romeo and Juliet, Merchant of Venice, or Much Ado About Nothing.
Although you will want to focus on a single passage, you will probably want to put it in context by discussing how the character is presented up to that point, and how he or she seems to develop after that point.
See paper instructions on calling page.