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Final examination is 8-11 Wednesday 17 May, 100 GPB (next building west of Morgan Hall, where we met for lecture). BRING BLUEBOOK(S)!

Documents for Final Exam

The following documents were discussed in class lecture; please be prepared to use them as evidence in the "Historical Essay" which will appear on the final exam.

Revels Book 1604-5

King Lear Registration and Title-Page

Revels Book 1610-11


See instructions for papers on "calling page".

Discuss comedy in tragedy or tragedy in comedy in any Shakespeare play read for this class from Troilus and Cressida onward. (Restriction: Do not write on As You Like It or Twelfth Night, which were the principal plays available for the first paper. Second Restriction: Do not write on the "Porter Scene" in Macbeth.)

Sir Philip Sidney, the English poet and critic who died in 1586, evidently before Shakespeare began writing plays, famously complained about plays written for the London stage:

"But besides these gross absurdities, how all their plays be neither right tragedies, nor right comedies, mingling kings and clowns, not because the matter so carrieth it, but thrust in the clown by head and shoulders to play a part in majestical matters with neither decency nor discretion, so neither the admiration and commiseration, nor the right sportfulness, is by their mongrel tragi-comedy obtained."

Shakespeare is remarkable for the manner in which he injects comedy into tragedy and tragedy (or near-tragedy) into comedy. Pick an instance of this practice and attempt to show how the mixture enriches the whole play. Try to do more than simply point out an instance of "comic relief."

Bring your paper to a conclusion with a brief summary of what you have discovered or demonstrated in this essay.


If you can do so without exceeding the assigned length of the paper, pick parallel (or opposing) instances in two plays, making appropriate comparisons and/or constrasts.

English 117B        SHAKESPEARE (the later plays)           Spring 2000
Mr. Nelson                                        101 Morgan Hall
TTh 11:00-12:30
               Tentative Reading Schedule

Note: A copy of this tentative reading schedule, and routine
announcements, will be posted on the instructor's website:

Week 1
Tu Jan    18  Introduction: Contexts, Life, Works
Th        20  Sonnets (esp. nos. 20, 29, 110, 126, 129, 138, 144, 147)

Week 2
Tu   25  As You Like It (1598-1600)**      **Dates per Bevington
Th   27

Week 3
Tu Feb  1 Twelfth Night (1600-1602)
Th     3

Week 4
Tu     8  Troilus and Cressida (c.1601-2)              Mini-exam
Th    10 

Week 5
Tu    15  All's Well that Ends Well (c. 1601-5)        Mini-exam
Th    17                           First paper due

Week 6
Tu    22  Othello (c. 1603-4)                     Mini-exam 3
Th    24

Week 7
Tu Mar 29  Measure for Measure (1603-4)           Mini-exam 4
Th     2

Week 8
Tu Mar  7  King Lear (c. 1605-6)
Th     9

Week 9
Tu    14  Macbeth (c. 1606-7)
Th    16 

Week 10
Tu    21  Antony and Cleopatra (1606-7)
Th    23 
                                    SPRING RECESS
Week 11
Tu     4  Coriolanus (c. 1608)
Th Apr  8                     Second paper due

Week 12
Tu    11  Cymbeline (c. 1608-10)
Th    13

Week 13
Tu Apr 18  The Winter's Tale (c. 1609-11)
Th    20

Week 14
Tu     25  The Tempest (c. 1611)
Th     27

Week 15
Th May   4

Final Examination: Wednesday, 17 May, 8-11 a.m.

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 permitted
except on written medical excuses.

3) Several play readings will be organized during 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.  Excessive absences (beyond three)
and/or persistent tardiness will result in a reduction of the
final grade.

6) Students will be held to the Department of English policy
regarding plagiarism (see instructor's website).

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