Topic: Sonnets and Speeches: An Introduction.

Objectives: Speaking and analyzing lines that have become among the most famous in the English language, we will begin to be comfortable using our own voices as instruments for communication and expression. We will establish a basic vocabulary for the analysis of Shakespeare's verse, paying special attention to early modern syntax and rhetorical devices, and noting how these do and do not differ from our own. You will share your written assessment of the skills and experiences you bring to this subject, and begin to help one another interpret and edit.

1 Introducing ourselves, our subject, and our voices.  
2 Sharing of speeches and written assessments; introductory peer mentoring. Self-assessment due

Topic: Close Reading: Paraphrase and Analysis.

Objectives: We will discuss the elements of dramatic storytelling and how context affects meaning. You will apply the analytic tools introduced in week one, focusing on accuracy and detail in description as well as the ability to summarize, quote, and identify significant words in clean, correct modern prose.


Contextualizing speech; participating in dialogue.

Madden, John. Shakespeare in Love. (1998).


Topic: Speaking the Speech and Listening to Words.

Objectives: We will consider the role of the body in drama and vocalization, and discuss the importance—and difficulty—of hearing well. You will practice public speaking through performance and explore the ways character is conveyed through gesture, deportment, and sound. We will develop thesis statements based on our discussions.

4 Discussion and scene work based on Much Ado, acts 1 and 2.

A single paragraph paraphrasing one of the reading passages, followed by a line-by-line analysis (2 pages) due

Revision of self-assessment for correctness of prose, if necessary, due

5 Branagh, Kenneth. Much Ado About Nothing. (1993).  

Further discussion and scene work, based on Much Ado, acts 3-5.

Performing: Scene work from Much Ado.


Topic: Shakespeare on Film and Media Literacy.

Objectives: We will consider the effects of adaptation across time and media, developing a vocabulary for analysis of visual images and sequences that you will use in your essay.

7 Group analysis of visual clips. Revision of paraphrase and analysis for accuracy and clarity of expression, if necessary, due

Sharing of thesis statements; peer editing.

Viewing: selected scenes from Much Ado on video (Branagh, Antoon, Burges).

A thesis-driven essay on the screen dramatization of a single scene, including analysis of images and sound as well as language (3-4 pages) due

Topic: Writing and Speaking Across Cultural Boundaries.

Objectives: We will analyze the dramatic presentation of false evidence and flawed argumentation, considering both rhetorical tricks and logical fallacies. We will consider how one can (or cannot) overcome cultural assumptions, prejudices, and limited perspectives, and discuss strategies to consider when addressing emotional or politically sensitive topics. We will look at how creative artists have adapted this story to very different cultures and performance styles, and make online annotations.

9 Discussion of Othello, focusing on scenes from acts 1-3.  

Discussion of Othello, focusing on scenes from acts 4-5, and viewing of video selections.

Viewing: Watch selected adaptations across media and culture.


Topic: Gender, Race, Religion and Communication.

Objectives: Taking the part of different critics, we will practice oral paraphrase and conduct a "live" scholarly debate. We will learn about the range of differences among people and how they can inhibit or enable meaningful communication, paying special attention to gender, race and religion.

11 Discussion of Othello across cultures, based on online resources and your responses. Revision of screen essay due
12 Our Othello mini-conference.  

Topic: Shakespeare in History: Writing About the Past.

Objectives: We will consider the particular challenges of writing about the past, and discuss how writing shapes reality (both past and present) by appearing to transcend time and absence. We will debate whether film and dramatic performance do the same. Peer review will help you improve your ability to edit and revise writing.


Discussion of Henry IV, Part I, acts 1-3;

Reflections on critical writing: exchange of essays.

Critique of a critical essay on Othello, using contextual, textual and/or visual evidence (4 pages) due
14 Continued discussion of Henry IV, Part I, including debate; Return Othello essay to partner with your own critique.  

Topic: Dialogue and Argument.

Objectives: We will consider how to use supplementary material to help analyze a text. We will learn techniques of disagreeing impersonally and politely as well as consensus building.

15 Discussion of the live performance of Henry IV. Peer critique and revision of Othello essay in response to peer review due
16 Presentations based on the historical material.  

Topic: Group Work, Part I.

Objectives: You will work on your research skills and group work skills as you analyze your play and how best to teach it.

17 Begin reading your assigned play together, develop a group plan. A thesis-driven essay comparing contextual material with Henry IV, Part One in a specific, persuasive way, using both texts as evidence (3 pages) due
18 Come to class ready to discuss your play and initiate research.  

Topic: Group Work, Part II.

Objectives: You will be working together to gain the knowledge and develop the strategies you need to teach the class about your play, and to present relevant scenes so as to illuminate the play and engage your audience.

19 Work on annotated bibliography and your scene work. Group annotated bibliography due 1 day after LEC #19
20 Final group work and rehearsal day.  

Topic: Presentations with performances, Part 1.

Objectives: You will do in-depth analysis and teach one another. You will be developing an extended argument in writing.

21 Henry V.  

Topic: Presentations with performances, Part 2.

Objectives: You will do in-depth analysis and teach one another. You will be developing an extended argument in writing.

22 Coriolanus.  
23 The Winter's Tale. Long essay (8 pages minimum) due 1 day after LEC #23

Topic: Conclusions and Appraisals.

Objectives: We will review and clarify the semester's work and learning, and will consider future paths and goals.

24 Post-performance post mortem; Presentation of insights based on your long essays.  
25 Thinking back, thinking ahead. Final self-assessment due