English 345.01 Shakespeare                                                                        Spring 2013                             
Dr. Stephan Flores (sflores@uidaho.edu)                                                       www.uidaho.edu/~sflores
8:00am-9:15am TR   TLC 050                                                                         
http://www.webpages.uidaho.edu/~sflores/                                                    885-6156; 885-6147
W 2:30pm-4:00 p.m. & by appt.                                                                  315 Commons

Prerequisite: English 102 or equivalent, and pre-or-co-requisite of Engl 175, or 257, or 258; English majors must in addition have completed Engl 215, or enroll by permission of instructor.

 Required Texts:

The Norton Shakespeare Based on the Oxford Edition: Essential Plays / The Sonnets. Second edition. Ed. Stephen Greenblatt. Norton, 2008.

McEvoy, Sean. Shakespeare: The Basics. Third edition. Routledge, 2012.

An alternative for the Norton edition listed above if you wish to own an edition with all of the plays: you may select the full four-volume set of The Norton Shakespeare, second edition; or, if you buy/use the complete hardback one-volume version, it will lack the introductions to the four genres that are included in the Essential Plays edition specified above (but I will place those introductions to the genres on reserve). Also see your text's access code to Norton's online resources, which include special workshop/topics on The Merchant of Venice, Hamlet, and Othello, as well as guides to writing about literature and the use of MLA citation format. Note: the Norton (second) edition is required--do not plan to use other pubishers/editions.

Additional essays/articles and related resources online via the class Bblearn site and also via links further below.

Course Description: We will study Shakespeare's drama through primary and secondary texts and films, and exchange points of view as we work together to develop our understanding (enjoyment!) of selected plays in the genres of comedy, history, "problem play," and tragedy. Through assigned readings, class and group discussions, and written analyses, the class shall explore the social, sexual, political, performative, and formal issues that these texts represent, and consider Shakespeare's development as a playwright. Written work includes Discussion-Starter questions/comments, a Midterm Exam, a Critical Essay, and a Term Essay.

Broader contexts for desired course outcomes are situated within the department's goals for the English major and the university's learning outcomes. In addition, see further below learning outcomes specific to this course and level.


The Comical History of the Merchant of Venice, Or Otherwise Called the Jew of Venice (1596-97)

The Tragedy of King Richard III (1592-93)

The Life of Henry the Fifth (1599)

As You Like It (1598-1600)

The Tragedy of Hamlet, Prince of Denmark (1599-1601)

Twelfth Night, Or What You Will (1600-1602)

Measure for Measure (1603-04)

The Tragedy of Othello, the Moor of Venice (1603-04)

The Tragedy of Macbeth (1606-07)


1. Nine written Discussion Starters: a thesis/problem-driven, question-posing response (approximately 150 words each) informed bysome aspect of the text/performance of each play as well as commentary on each play (from the Norton edition’s introductory headnotes, or from Shakespeare: The Basics, or an article that I've made available in Bblearn resource folders on each play). Discussion Starters present a means for you and the class to share enthusiasms and questions as you delve into the text’s significance, methods, and effects, and to learn from others' comments (a version of Graff's "They Say, I Say" exchange, see Bblearn). No late entries —Discussion Starters are due/posted on Bblearn before class (by 10:00 pm the night before class). Come to class prepared to talk about your DSs/ideas; we’ll rotate responsibility for putting a spotlight on individual DSs, using the projector to introduce the DSs via Bblearn to facilitate discussion. Missing or late discussion-starter entries will be counted against your semester grade (see below).

2. In-class midterm exam over two plays —bring “bluebooks” or paper, and your Norton edition text.

3. Critical Essay on Richard III , or The Merchant of Venice, or Henry the Fifth, or Twelfth Night, or Measure for Measure; 1600 words/six pages for main body of essay, double-spaced, with reference to at least one piece of “instructor-specified” secondary criticism beyond our assigned reading in the Norton edition and in McEvoy, according to selections posted on our class website for criticism on each play. The primary aims of this thesis-seeking/problem-posing exploratory essay assignment is to engage with the play and its critical interpretation/reception by identifying problems, developing claims and arguments, and enriching your literary understanding, interests, and commitments. Use/learn Modern Language Association format for any notes or works cited (see, for instance, link to MLA format guidelines further below, and the Norton Shakespeare's online resources/example of developing a research essay. It is likely that for this assignment I will direct you to write an essay in response to one or more specific questions/problems of understanding and interpretation.

4. Term Essay on play or plays (excluding topic of prior Critical Essay, double-spaced (12 pt, Times New Roman, 1-inch margins, MLA format, approximately 8-9 pages for main body of essay), with significant reference to at least two secondary works of criticism (selected from folders on Bblearn, that include recent articles or book chapters): this critical essay develops ideas prompted by our study, discussion, and viewing of the plays, by recent scholarship, and by your perspectives. I shall attend to the ways that you select, define, and engage questions and contradictions, and to the clarity, imagination, and grace that you demonstrate in presenting your topic, (hypo)thesis, and argument, and the extent to which your work engages with, explains, and contributes to the larger "conversation" of scholarship on the topic and drama under analysis. I do not always expect essays to conclude by "solving" such problems or by "proving" your thesis; I hope that you address interesting topics (questions for debate, interpretation, and analysis) in thoughtful and useful ways. Please feel invited to confer with me during the writing process. See also general advice for critical essays similar to prior advice on the Critical Essay that pertains as well to this term essay.

5. Participation: Please take advantage of opportunities to share your insights and to listen and reply to others' ideas. I hope that questions and discussions will enable you to move the class in directions you find most helpful, give you opportunities to develop critical skills through collaboration, and provide for a productive, interesting exchange of perspectives among the class. I may form small groups primarily for sharing Discussion-Starters (as noted above).

6. All required work is due at the beginning of class on the due date—work turned in late will be graded accordingly. Required graded written work will be downgraded one notch (for example, B+ to B, converted to points for each assignment) for each weekday late (not just days classes meet but counting just one day for a weekend). Work submitted more than a week late will not be accepted. I will grant short extensions for medical and family emergencies—but talk with me as soon as possible to request an extension. Always keep copies of your work.

7. Attendance: If you have no absences by the semester's end (excused or not), you will receive three bonus points. Two absences will not affect your semester grade; a third absence will lower your semester total by three points, with a five-point reduction for each additional absence (four absences=minus 8 points, five absences = minus 13 points); six or more absences is sufficient cause for you to receive a failing grade for the course, regardless of your semester point total. All absences will be counted—excused or not—if something extraordinary occurs, talk to me.

8. Grades: Midterm Exam (50 pts); Critical Essay (100 pts); Term Essay (130 pts). These required assignments add up to a maximum of 280 points. Thus 252-280 points equals an A, 224-251 equals a B, 196-223 equals a C, 168-195 equals a D, and anything below 168 merits an F. I shall reserve a potential five bonus points based on my perceptions of the strength of your participation and efforts over the semester; incomplete or missing discussion-starter entries will be counted against your semester grade, with the loss of five points for each missing or incomplete entry, to a maximum loss of 45 points.

9. Office hours. I encourage you to confer with me—especially before assignments are due—to talk about your interests, intentions, and writing strategies. If you cannot make my regular hours (in 315 Commons), we’ll arrange another time. I also welcome communicating with you by E-mail (sflores@uidaho.edu).

10. Use of laptops and cell phones during class is prohibited; occasional use of laptops—typically for group work and to access the online components of the class—may be permitted with instructor’s approval.

11. Do not submit work for this class that you have submitted or intend to submit for a grade in another course; as always, be careful to cite anyone else's work that you draw upon. See highlighted link on the class website to a useful guide to avoiding plagiarism, and a link to information on the university's policies regarding plagiarism.

Additional reference sources for further study/research: I have placed over 40 works on UI Library Reserve, under English 345 Shakespeare (collections of essays etc.). Do not rely upon or incorporate research from non-refereed, non-“scholarly” sources or publications. As noted above, seek secondary sources from the bibliographies in our texts, and the main secondary sources for you to consider are in folders in the course Bblearn site.

English 345.01 Semester Schedule Spring 2013 (subject to some tweaking/revision as we go along): See/review online study questions further below, resources/critical essays on each play on Bblearn, and read the The Norton Shakespeare introductions to each play and to each genre, and McEvoy Shakespeare: The Basics chapter sections. Film excerpts for each of the plays will be shown. Complete your initial reading of each play by the second day of class discussion for that play.






  Introduction(s); Richard III  


Sean McEvoy, Shakespeare: The Basics:-Introduction/(1) Understanding the Text: Shakespeare’s Language; Richard III

Discussion Starter 1 due by 10:00 pm the night before (1/16) on Bblearn, on Richard III;McEvoy-(7) Understanding History: King Richard II, King Henry IV Part 1, King Henry V and King Richard III; also via Bblearn folder: look over at least one essay on Richard III: Garber overview; Maus; Moulton on Richard's monstrous, unruly masculinity; Berger Jr.'s on conscience, complicity, and history; Pearlman on "The Invention of Richard of Gloucester"; Charnes on ". . . Reading the Monstrous Body . . . "  


The Merchant of Venice; McEvoy - (5) Shakespeare’s genres-(6) Understanding Comedy: The Taming of the Shrew, The Merchant of Venice, Measure for Measure, As You Like It and Twelfth Night

The Merchant of Venice ; Katharine Eisaman Maus, “Shakespearean Comedy” (in Norton Essential ed. or via Bblearn); Discussion Starter 2 due by 10pm on 1/23, on The Merchant of Venice  


The Merchant of Venice ; Greenblatt, “General Introduction: Shakespeare’s World” (Norton ed.); take a look at Ryan or Garber articles and resource folder on Bblearn

Henry the Fifth; Greenblatt, “The Playing Field”; McEvoy-(3) Shakespeare on Stage  


Discussion Starter 3 due by 10pm on 2/4, on Henry the Fifth ;McEvoy-(2) Shakespeare’s Theatre

Henry the Fifth; Jean E. Howard, “Shakespearean History” (Norton);  


Henry the Fifth; McEvoy-(4) Shakespeare on Film; rec.:excerpt(pp.205-211) from Rackin, Phyllis. "English History Plays." [excellent] in Bblearn folder ; As You Like It

As You Like It  


Discussion Starter 4 due by 10pm on 2/18 on As You Like It

As You Like It; rec./see Traub's and Rackin's essays on gender and sexuality and historical difference, on Bblearn  


Hamlet; recommended: Gurr, “The Shakespearean Stage” (Norton ed.);McEvoy-(8) Understanding Tragedy: Hamlet, King Lear, Macbeth and Othello

Hamlet; Discussion Starter 5 due by 10pm on 2/27 on Hamlet; rec.: Thompson and Taylor chapter and resource file in Bblearn folder  



In-Class Midterm Exam  


Twelfth Night; Greenblatt, “Shakespeare’s Life and Art” (Norton)

Discussion Starter 6 due by 10pm on 3/20 on Twelfth Night ; rec.: Rixon's chapter and other essays on Bblearn  


Twelfth Night

Measure for Measure; rec.: Walder, Baines, Ryan, and Piesse's essays in folder on Bblearn  


Measure for Measure; Discussion Starter 7 due by 10pm on 4/1 on Measure for Measure

Measure for Measure;Othello; Critical Essay due  


Othello; Stephen Greenblatt, “Shakespearean Tragedy” (Norton)

Othello; Discussion Starter 8 due by 10pm on 4/10 on Othello ; rec.: resource file as well as Newman, Callaghan, and Loomba's essays on Bblearn  





Macbeth; Discussion Starter 9 due by 10pm on 4/22 on Macbeth; Regan's chapter on Bblearn

4/30-5/2 Recommended/optional: McEvoy-(9) Understanding Romance: The Winter’s Tale and The Tempest; Walter Cohen, “Shakespearean Romance” (Norton) Term Essay due, hard copy in class; McEvoy-Conclusion: The Future of Shakespeare Studies  

Course Learning Outcomes: English 345
• Reinforces close reading, research skills, and analytical writing strategies
• Help students investigate how these literary texts shape and reflect their particular contexts, including differences in treatment of issues across the time period covered
• Helps students engage with and develop investment in the plays and related texts/criticism—using a range of assignments and resources, including online writing/discussions
• Helps students engage in scholarly conversations about literature—building from their research skills and use of evidence and related texts in previous classes to position themselves in dialogue with critical discussions
• Requires, and directs students in ways to write sustained analytical essays (with selected research) that evidence close reading of the literature to include well-developed theses/argument, engagement with critical sources, and ability to ask meaningful questions of the literature and its construction. Students are required to sustain an analysis of eight or more pages in the Term Essay, and write approximately 14 additional pages of analysis during the semester (including midterm and critical essay as well as nine concise Discussion Starters). Evaluation of students' written work includes instructor's use of a rubric to identify specific areas assessed
• Supports exploration of theoretical perspectives on literary and cultural studies, enabling students to reflect upon, compose, and articulate the ways that they engage with critical theory and practice
•Helps students understand applications of English studies with references to contemporary events/situations that show similar problems depicted in the texts recurring in present day life and social relations
•Expects and monitors that students' writing exhibits correct usage of grammar and of MLA formats and citation conventions

Learning outcomes (more specific to Engl 345/Shakespeare): Students will study, explore, and seek to learn about

-Shakespeare’s use of language, including rhetorical purposes and figures/tropes in verse and prose
-the nature of theatrical performance and conditions of staging and dramatic action in Shakespearean theater/drama, including the plays’ self-referential attention to their status as non-realistic: as therefore fictive and performative
-the production and reception of Shakespeare’s plays on film
-the question/problem of classifying Shakespeare’s plays by genres of comedy, history, tragedy, and romance
-the shift from prior character and theme-based critical approaches to historically-situated analysis of the cultural and socio-political contexts and functions/purposes of Shakespeare’s work
-an understanding of Shakespearean comedy, including to what extent the playful rebellion of young lovers against parental authority is absorbed and transformed by cultural and state power into the socially sanctioned form of marriage, or whether the representation of subversive, rebellious energy demonstrates the possibility of more egalitarian and desirable relationships between men and women, and perhaps even among/across a different continuum of gender-identifications
-the function of language in the comedies to enforce the status of the powerful even as this conflicts with those who challenge predominant meanings and relationships
- how the plays’ show an awareness of the transition from a past feudal world to a political world in which monarchs seek absolute power
-that the histories, in particular, show royal power claiming divine support to serve/justify their power as monarchs, monarchs whose success depends to a substantial degree upon their respective ability to convince others through theatrical performance of their role as rulers
-that the histories also show that women’s potential to undermine men’s right to inherit is kept in check by the threat of violence
-that because the plays/theater reveal their own constructedness, we see that our understanding of historical narratives are inflected by the concerns of the teller and the interests of those who interpret/receive/reproduce these works/meanings
-that characters in the tragedies are shown to live in an early modern world whose secure basis is slipping away; moreover, these characters’ acts/beliefs reveal internalized contradictions, competing values and conflicts that make their lives impossible
-that the tragedies may show a heightened, focused attention to the social operations of power to reveal how the stories and displays of those in authority work to convince those with less power of their superiors’ right to rule even though such narratives/rights may well be baseless
-that the tragedies also highlight the nature of representation and questions of ethics/principles
-that though we are not studying directly plays in the genre of romance, students will learn that these works tend to show how women and the next generation redeem the errors of men and the older generation
-that the romances also show that though women are either unruly or beautiful/fertile beings, they nevertheless possess qualities that will make the world better because they save men from the harsh injustice of masculine desires for power and control
-that some critics argue that Shakespearean romances show how the passage of time may dismantle structures of belief and power except for those presented as common to our humanity, and that this utopian appeal to the generative capacities of fiction/imagination that we hold in common creates the basis for a more egalitarian future, one of equality and fairness
-the history of Shakespeare studies/critical orientations/theories, including the shift from early liberal humanist and character-based perspectives to contexts/relations of gender, race, and sexuality in history/politics/culture, with questions of justice, and even finer modes of historical specificity and analysis, juxtaposed to ‘presentist’ interests/claims to understand Shakespeare in relation to our own lives, and also recurring interest in ethics and ecocriticism or ‘green’ issues represented in Shakespeare’s works

Evaluation/Assessment Rubric for Instructor's Written Responses to Critical Essay and Term Essay, along a scale of Excellent to Weak, with specific comments to supplement comments/feedback on the texts of the essays themselves:
1. Strength and clarity of (hypo)thesis/focus/introduction
2. Intellectual/conceptual strength and persuasiveness of main claim as well as ensuing argument/logic/premises/critical method/theory/ideas
3. Cohesive and coherent development, logical organization, including well-structured paragraphs with clear points and compelling, specific support/evidence
4. Analysis of text’s/topic’s relevant cultural/historical contexts and if specified, related scholarship/criticism; text’s rhetorical methods, structure
5. Topic’s depth/complexity, including recognition of conflicts/contradictions
6. Significance/ conclusion
8. Effective sentences, syntax, verbs, diction, punctuation, complexity, and suitable style: academic, critical, appropriate to your understanding of the materials/subjects
9. MLA style—parenthetical citation of sources, works cited; format; spelling ungraded but noted

Lecture on Richard III [link to Dr. W. Harlan's lecture]

Study Questions on Richard III [link to Dr. W. Harlan's questions]

Penguin Guide to Richard III

Questions on The Merchant of Venice

Examples of some Journal Entries on The Merchant of Venice [pdf]

Interview with Trevor Nunn about PBS film production of The Merchant of Venice

Questions on Henry the Fifth

Synopses of 1 & 2 HIV [pdf]

Overview of Evaluation Guidelines, Criteria, and also Resources for Critical Essays

Questions on As You Like It

Questions on Hamlet

Flores's Questions on Twelfth Night

Examples of some Journal Entries on Twelfth Night [pdf]

Questions on Measure for Measure

Questions on Othello

Penguin Guide to Othello

Examples of some Journal Entries on Othello [pdf]

Flores's Questions on Macbeth

Penguin Guide to Macbeth

Examples of some Journal Entries on Macbeth [pdf]

Lessons on Style (general advice/quited dated handout but perhaps worth looking over) [pdf]

Quick Advice on Punctuation (also dated) [pdf]

Example Student Essay on Politics and Authority in A Midsummer Night's Dream (not a recent essay, dates back quite a few years) [pdf]

Example Student Essay on Cymbeline (not a recent essay, dates back quite a few years) [pdf]

Example of Midterm Explication Exams on TN and Macbeth [pdf1]

Examples of Midterm Explication Exams on TN and Macbeth [pdf2]

Examples of Midterm Explication Exams on TN and Macbeth [pdf3]

M.Hallen's Student Essay on The Tempest [pdf]

Selected Criticism on Shakespeare

Online Writing Center Resources (from writing essays to grammar and usage advice):


Review Guide to Using MLA Style for Citing Sources [from OWL/Purdue, see esp. left side tab: formatting and style guide]