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Wednesday, 20 May, 5-8 p.m., 1 LeConte Hall (near Campanile)


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?

Third Paper

Topic: Sexual attraction or/and sexual revulsion in Shakespeare's Sonnets and in one of his late plays.

Identify a situation in any "late" Shakespeare play (Hamlet or later) in which one character is sexually attracted or sexually repelled by another. Look for a similar situation in Shakespeare's sonnets. How does evidence from the Sonnets shed light on the comparable situation in the play?

In the course of your paper, analyze at least one sonnet briefly, and one speech from your selected play in depth.

Variations: within the space of four pages, you may (if you wish) discuss more than one sonnet; or more than one character or situation.

See separate file for instructions on writing and formatting your paper.

Semester Syllabus

English 117S        SHAKESPEARE              Spring 1998
Mr. Nelson                                   
TTh 12:30-2:00

Week 1
Tu Jan 20  Introduction to William Shakespeare: Contexts, Life,
Th     22  Poems: Love's Labor's Lost, A Midsummer Night's Dream,
Sonnet 130

Week 2
Tu    27  Love's Labor's Lost
Th    29

Week 3
Tu Feb  3  A Midsummer Night's Dream
Th     5

Week 4
Tu    10  Richard III              Mini-exam 1
Th    12                           First paper due

Week 5
Tu    17  Henry IV, Part 1         Mini-exam 2
Th    19

Week 6
Tu    24  Merchant of Venice       Mini-exam 3
Th    26

Week 7
Tu Mar  3  Much Ado About Nothing  Mini-exam 4
Th     5

Week 8
Tu Mar 10  Hamlet
Th    12         

Week 9
Tu    17  Hamlet (continued)       Second paper due
Th    19  No class
                              SPRING RECESS
Week 10
Tu    31  Sonnets
Th Apr  3

Week 11
Tu     7  Twelfth Night
Th     9

Week 12
Tu Apr 14  King Lear
Th    16

Week 13
Tu    21  Antony and Cleopatra
Th    23                            Third paper due

Week 14
Tu    28  The Tempest
Th    30

Week 15
Th May  7

Final Examination: Wednesday, 20 May, 5-8 p.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 Tuesday on
which that play is first discussed.

2) In lieu of a single mid-term examination, which would
interfere with the one-play-per-week routine, four mini-exams (20
minutes each) will be administered over four successive Tuesdays
(Weeks 4-7).  Each mini-exam will consist of one identification
section 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 except on
written medical excuses.

3) Play readings will be organized throughout the semester,
including 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) Shakespeare plays 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 the texts.

5) Students are expected to attend class regularly.  Attendance
will be taken regularly.  Persistent absences will result in a
reduction in the final grade.

6) Students are reminded of the Department of English policy
regarding plagiarism (posted on instructor's website).

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.

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Second Paper

Think of the statement, "My enemy is in my power!"

Identify a situation in any Shakespeare play through Hamlet in which one character (not necessarily an enemy) is in the power of another. How does the person in power use or abuse his or her power? What ideas about inter-personal relationships, morality, religion, or other personal view or world-view are expressed in or grow out of this situation?

In the course of your paper, analyze at least one speech in depth.

Variations: within the space of four pages, you may (if you wish) discuss more than one character; discuss the interaction between two characters; analyze more than one speech; etc.

See separate file for instructions on writing and formatting your paper.