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Wall of Berlin Cafe, 2517 Durant (off Telegraph)

12:15 - 1:15 Wednesdays
11:00 - 12:00 Thursdays


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?

Shakespeare Santa Cruz (begins 23 July)

California Shakespeare Festival

Second Paper - due Wednesday 5 August

"Which Way?"

Identify some aspect of Henry IV Part1, Merchant of Venice, Hamlet, or Twelfth Night about which there is doubt or controversy. For example, is Hal self-serving in a Machiavellian fashion, or does he have England's best interests at heart? is Shylock a thorough villain, or a partly sympathetic character?; is Hamlet truly mad, or does he just feign madness?; does Hamlet realize that Polonius and the King are behind the arras, or not? Are we supposed to feel sorry for Malvolio at the end of the play, or rejoice in his discomfiture?

Go through the local scene or through the entire play, first using one assumption, then the other. To what conclusion does each assumption lead?

Conclude by arguing that one of the two assumptions is superior to the other, or that they are evenly balanced.

Remember to keep your thoughts very brief, so that your paper does not exceed the 4-page limit.

First Paper - due Wednesday 15 July

"The Supernatural"

Identify a situation in Midsummer Night's Dream or Richard III in which the supernatural intervenes in human action. Analyze the situation to show, first, what happens; second, how Shakespeare sets off the event as supernatural; and third and last, how the supernatural is harmonized (or not) with the natural.

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 play, character, or supernatural event; by the same token, you may analyze more than one speech.

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

Summer Syllabus

English N117S        SHAKESPEARE              Summer 1998
Mr. Nelson                                   

Week 1
Mo Jun 22  Introduction to William Shakespeare: Contexts, Life
We     24  A Midsummer Night's Dream

Week 2
Mo     29  Richard III              
We Jul 01

Week 3
Mo     06  Henry IV, Part 1         Mini-exam 1
We     08  Selected Sonnets from 127 to end

Week 4
Mo     13  Merchant of Venice       Mini-exam 2
We     15                           Paper 1 due

Week 5
Mo     20  Hamlet                   Mini-exam 3
We     22         

Week 6
Mo     27  Twelfth Night            Mini-exam 4
We     29  Selected Sonnets from 1 to 126

Week 7
Mo Aug 03  King Lear                Mini-exam 5
We     05                           Paper 2 due

Week  8
Mo     10  The Tempest
We     12                           Final exam

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 Monday on
which that play is first discussed.

2) In lieu of a mid-term examination, which would
interfere with the one-play-per-week routine, five mini-exams (15
minutes each) will be administered over successive Mondays
(Weeks 3-7).  Each mini-exam will consist of one identification
section taken from the reading for that day, plus one essay
on a topic discussed in previous weeks.  Each student must take
four and only four mini-exams.  No make-up mini-exams except on
written medical excuses.

3) Play readings will be organized throughout the term,
including both 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.  More than one unexcused absence 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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