English 345.01 Shakespeare                                                                   Spring 2014                             
Dr. Stephan Flores (sflores@uidaho.edu)                                                   
11:00am-12:15pm TR   TLC 147                                                                         
http://www.webpages.uidaho.edu/~sflores/                                                  Brink 200/English Department: 885-6156
Office hours: W 2:30pm-4:00 p.m. & by appt.                                            Brink 125

Prerequisite: English 102 or equivalent, and pre-or-co-requisite of Engl 175, or 257, or 258; English majors must in addition have completed or be co-registered for 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 (this or the full one-volume edition would be useful if you are a secondary education teaching major); or, if you buy/use the complete hardback one-volume version, though it will lack the introductions to the four genres that are included in the Essential Plays edition specified above, I have placed those introductions to the genres on Bblearn. 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 (such as study questions) 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, 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 Inquiry-Starter questions/comments, Discussion Starters, a Midterm Exam, a Critical Essay, and a Term Essay. The pace of our readings is designed to provide for depth of inquiry/study with sufficient 'coverage' to get a good sense of what are widely regarded as Shakespeare's major/significant plays.

Here is a general guiding premise/claim for this 300-level literature course and its outcomes (also see expected learning outcomes noted further below, following the semester schedule): Literature provides us with a way of understanding how our social life works. Human social life consists of narratives for living, with ‘narratives’ being understood here as an actual life experience spread over time and guided by cultural stories that justify it to participants. Both the cultural and real-world narrative can change; both use frames to exclude norm-dissonant perspectives and values and to ensure that the meanings that support the continuity and homogeneity of the lived process are stable, predictable, and enforced. Who tells the stories in the culture thus largely shapes how that cultural world will be organized. Stories are what people believe and how they believe, and how people believe determines how they act and how they live. Stories can change how people think, perceive, believe, and act. The analysis of the work they perform is thus an important endeavor. And that is what criticism is all about. (An Introduction to Criticism: Literature/Film/Culture--Wiley-Blackwell, 2012).

Note that this class counts toward/satisfies several different elective possibilities in the different emphases in the English major, such as the "one upper-division course in literature before 1900 (3 cr)" requirement in the Literature emphasis or in the Creative Writing emphasis the "Shakespeare or another course in literature before 1800 (3 cr)" requirement, and similar options/requirements in the Teaching emphasis or in the current Professional emphasis.

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, as mentioned see further below for learning outcomes specific to this course and to 300-level literature courses.


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 History of Henry the Fourth (1 Henry IV, wr. late 1596 or early 1597; pub. 1598)

The Life of Henry the Fifth (Henry V, 1599)

As You Like It (1598-1600)

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

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

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

The Tragedy of Macbeth (1606-07)


1. Nine Bblearn Inquiry Starters: a thesis/problem-driven response (approximately 150 words each in which you take a stance/make a claim, state a point of view/thesis, typically in relation to a specific passage in the play or specific reference to a critic's claim (from a scholarly article/chapter found in the related Bblearn folder) informed by some 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 of your choice, available in Bblearn resource folders on each play). Inquiry 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 —Inquiry Starters are due/posted on Bblearn before class (by 10:00 pm the night before class). Come to class prepared to talk about your ISs/ideas; in class, three to four different students will rotate responsbility to spotlight individual ISs to facilitate and to lead discussion--see the syllabus/schedule below for first names of students assigned to each group for each Inquiry Starter discussion. That is, you will be responsible for being part of such a group once during the semester, and so you should have selected at least one classmate's IS post (from the night before) to respond to/talk about, use as a point of departure for facilitating further discussion. Missing or late inquiry-starter entries will be counted against your semester grade (minus 5 points each, see below).

2. Nine written Discussion Starters--one on each play, and each includes a brief quote from the play or a critic (from one of the scholarly articles from a Bblearn folder), with accompanying one sentence interpretative/argumentative statement, to be turned in/submitted in hard copy at the beginning of class, on a day other than the day following an Inquiry Starter due date (so typically, you would turn in a Discussion Starter on the third or first day that we discuss the play, since ISs are typically due on the second day that we discuss a play. As a reminder, I have listed Discussion Starters in the syllabus on the last day of discussion for each play, but you could choose to submit your DSs on our first day of discussion or a non-IS day. The ISs and DSs are designed and required to prompt your attention to the plays and interpretative scholarship, as well as to foster student-initiated conversation/exchange/discussion. Missing or late discussion-starter entries will be counted against your semester grade (minus 2 points each, see below).

3. In-class midterm exam over two plays from different groupings (with topics/questions chosen from a range of choices among Richard III, The Merchant of Venice, 1 Henry IV, Henry V, As You Like It, and Hamlet)—bring “bluebooks” or paper, and your Norton edition text.

Part 1/Essay 1—approximately 300-400 word essay on one of the following plays: Richard III, The Merchant of Venice, 1 Henry IV, or 1 Henry V (15 points maximum);

Part 2/Essay 2—approximately 550-650 word essay on one of the following plays: As You Like It or Hamlet (35 points maximum).

This midterm directs you to explore significant issues and strategies in these plays, that you situate in relation to the overarching, ‘framing’ contexts and concepts in quoted excerpts from secondary criticism (see link below to scholars’ views on Shakespeare’s genres), from quotes from scholars' comments on specific plays, and also with a selected quote from each play as your starting point for each essay; the excerpts on Shakespearean history, on comedy, and on tragedy, and the critics’ comments on respective plays, serve as points of reference and departure, then, for your two analyses. 
Your essays are (to be) succinct, but I encourage you to develop and to support your ideas as clearly and as cogently as space allows, including brief citations of specific lines that illustrate your understanding, and use of summary and paraphrase in support of each analysis.  It is helpful for your argument (advisable) to include a statement that makes a claim or presents a thesis with explanation and support.  Your interpretations are to be explanatory and implicitly argumentative: an occasion for you to clarify and advance your understanding.  This is a chance to share your perceptions, enthusiasms, and doubts as you delve into an aspect of each play's significance and purpose.  Assume that your audience is familiar with each play and take care to articulate clearly your inquiry into the material, especially problems or contradictions that seem difficult to resolve.See these excerpts from our reading selections that offer scholars' views on Shakespeare's histories, comedies, and tragedies.

An alternative (your choice) to the midterm is available in which you (primarily those of you planning to teach high school) have the choice of writing a critical summary-response assignment with teaching plan on either Romeo and Juliet, or Julius Caesar, or A Midsummer Night's Dream--this special assignment is in place of taking the midterm, and if selected, is due no later than April 15. I'll discuss this with the class, and as I indicated, particularly with those of you who are studying to become high school English teachers (Romeo and Juliet is often taught in 9th grade, Julius Caesar or A Midsummer Night's Dream in 10th grade, and Macbeth or Hamlet in 12th grade (rarely Othello, but now a history play such as Henry V may also be incorporated in the high school curriculum). If you take the midterm, you cannot later decide to complete this alternative assignment in place of your midterm grade. Like the midterm exam, the Critical Summary-Response/Teaching Project will be worth a potential 50 points. You must send an email to me before the midterm exam, if you decide to pursue this alternative assignment.

4. Critical Essay on Richard III, or The Merchant of Venice, or 1 Henry IV and/or Henry V, As You Like It, or Hamlet, or Twelfth Night; 1600 words/six pages for main body of essay, double-spaced, with reference to at least two pieces of “instructor-specified” secondary criticism beyond our assigned reading in the Norton edition and in McEvoy, according to selections posted on our class Bblearn folders for criticism on each play; that is, you must refer to/cite/draw upon at least two substantial article/book chapters from the Bblearn folder for the corresponding play. Though you may consult other/outside secondary criticism from scholarly journals and books, do not plan to make those sources the primary, informing perspectives and research for your essay. You also are encouraged to draw upon the Norton headnotes as well as McEvoy's book. 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. Note: I strongly encourage that you avoid/choose not to write your critical essay on either the of the plays that you write about for your midterm exam.

5. Term Essay due May 6, on play or plays (excluding play and 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 also pertains to this term essay.

6. 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. You may meet periodically in small groups in class primarily for sharing Inquiry-Starters and Discussion Starters (as noted above). I expect you to contribute productively to class discussion, and I will make an effort to call on you directly, especially if you tend not to pitch in to share your views and questions.

7. 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). Note, however, that the Term Essay cannot be turned in more than two days late--it is due in class on May 6, but may be turned in as late as but no later than May 8 in class (with two day penalty of minus 8 points--minus 4 points for each day late). 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.

8. Attendance: always attend class (unless you are sick). One or 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. Note: please bring a notecard or half sheet of paper to each class, sign it at beginning of class (and if you wish, add any comment or question but that's not required), and I'll collect those as a way of taking roll for attendance.

9. 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 six bonus points based on my perceptions of the strength of your participation and efforts over the semester; incomplete or missing inquiry-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; missing discussion-starters will be counted against your semester grade, with the loss of two points for each missing or incomplete entry, to a maximum loss of 18 points. NOTE, therefore, that missing even one Inquiry Starter (or a series of Discussion Starters), combined for example with three absences, could very well affect your overall semester grade by lowering your total points by 8 points. You might earn grades in the A(-) range, for instance, on the Critical Essay and on the Term Essay, yet receive a B for the semester if you incur such penalty points because of missing ISs and absences.

10. 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 Brink 125), we’ll arrange another time. I also welcome communicating with you by E-mail (sflores@uidaho.edu).

11. 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 my approval.

12. 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.

13. Classroom Learning and Civility: To support learning and discovery in this course—as in any university course—it is essential that each member of the class feel as free and as safe as possible in his or her participation. To this end, we must collectively expect that everyone (students, professors, and guests) seek to be respectful and civil to one another in discussion, in action, in teaching, and in learning. Because knowledge and learning are constructed and construed through social inquiry and exchange, it is vital that course dialogue and debate encourage and expect a substantial range of reasoned, expressive, and impassioned articulation of diverse views in order to build a stronger understanding of the materials and of one another's ways of knowing. These practices strengthen our capacities for understanding and the production of (new) knowledge. As with the critical writing assignments for this class, our primary aims include engaging with texts and their varied critical interpretations by identifying problems, developing claims and arguments with supporting lines of evidence and explanation, and enriching our literary understanding, interests, and commitments.

Should you feel our classroom interactions do not reflect an environment of civility and respect, you are encouraged to meet with me during office hours to discuss your concern. Additional resources for expression of concern and avenues of support include the chair of the Department of English, Dr. Gary Williams, the Dean of Students office and staff (5-6757), the UI Counseling & Testing Center’s confidential services (5-6716), or the UI Office of Human Rights, Access, & Inclusion (5-4285).

14. Disability Support Services: Reasonable accommodations are available for students who have documented temporary or permanent disabilities. All accommodations must be approved through Disability Support Services (885-6307; dss@uidaho.edu; www.uidaho.edu/dss) located in the Idaho Commons Building, Room 306 in order to notify your instructor(s) as soon as possible regarding accommodation(s) needed for the course.

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. I also shall create special folders on Bblearn with articles/resources for those of you who plan to become high school English teachers: folders on Romeo and Juliet and on Julius Caesar.

English 345.01 Semester Schedule Spring 2014 (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  


Inquiry Starter 1 due by 10:00 pm the night before (1/20) 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; or Maus; or Moulton on Richard's monstrous, unruly masculinity; or Berger Jr.'s on conscience, complicity, and history; or Pearlman on "The Invention of Richard of Gloucester"; or Charnes on ". . . Reading the Monstrous Body . . ."; Group 1 facilitates discussion (Park, Pamela)

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



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; film excerpt

The Merchant of Venice ; Katharine Eisaman Maus, “Shakespearean Comedy” (in Norton Essential ed. or via Bblearn); Inquiry Starter 2 due by 10pm on 1/29, on The Merchant of Venice; Group 2 facilitates discussion (Zach, Shaina, Danielle)



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

The History of Henry the Fourth (1 Henry IV); also see resources via PBS online for The Hollow Crown video production(s)



1 Henry IV; Inquiry Starter 3 due by 10pm on 2/10, on Henry the Fourth;McEvoy-(2) Shakespeare’s Theatre; see one or more essays on the play in the folder on Bblearn; Group 3 facilitates discussion (Allie, Ashley, Justin)

1 Henry IV; film excerpt; Discussion Starter



The Life of Henry the Fifth; Greenblatt, “The Playing Field”; McEvoy-(3) Shakespeare on Stage; see resources via PBS online for The Hollow Crown video production(s)

Henry the Fifth; Jean E. Howard, “Shakespearean History” (Norton); Inquiry Starter 4 due by 10pm on 2/19 on Henry the Fifth; film excerpt; Group 4 facilitates discussion (Emily H., Taylor, Levi)



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

As You Like It; Inquiry Starter 5 due by 10pm on 2/26 on As You Like It; see one or more essays on the play in the folder on Bblearn; Group 5 facilitates discussion (Claire, Courtney D., Courtney C.)



As You Like It; rec./see Traub's and Rackin's essays on gender and sexuality and historical difference, on Bblearn; film excerpt; Discussion Starter due in class.

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



Hamlet; Inquiry Starter 6 due by 10pm on 3/10 on Hamlet; rec.: Thompson and Taylor chapter and resource file on Hamlet in Bblearn folder; Group 6 facilitates discussion (Nadia, Dianna)

In-Class Midterm Exam



Hamlet; Discussion Starter

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



Inquiry Starter 7 due by 10pm on 3/31 on Twelfth Night ; rec.: Rixon's chapter and other essays on Bblearn; Group 7 facilitates discussion (Alycia, Nichole, Kris)

Twelfth Night;Critical Essay due  


Twelfth Night; Discussion Starter

Othello; film excerpt



Othello; Stephen Greenblatt, “Shakespearean Tragedy” (Norton); Inquiry Starter 8 due by 10pm on 4/14 on Othello; Group 8 facilitates discussion (Alexia, Hailee, Brandon, Mandi)

Othello; rec.: resource file as well as Newman, Callaghan, and Loomba's essays in Bblearn folder on Othello



Othello; film excerpt; Discussion Starter

Macbeth; film excerpt


Macbeth; Inquiry Starter 9 due by 10pm on 4/28 on Macbeth; Regan's chapter in Bblearn folder on Macbeth; Group 9 facilitates discussion (Codey, Anne, Mason)

Macbeth; Discussion Starter


Term Essay due, hard copy in class; McEvoy-Conclusion: The Future of Shakespeare Studies

Recommended/optional: McEvoy-(9) Understanding Romance: The Winter’s Tale and The Tempest; Walter Cohen, “Shakespearean Romance” (Norton)  

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 (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

-See also these excerpts from our reading selections that offer scholars' views on Shakespeare's histories, comedies, and tragedies.

Student Learning Outcomes (see this link for longer list and contexts for desired outcomes, that supplement the outcomes stated above and below)
In English 345 students will learn, develop, and strengthen abilities
- to understand and to explain the historical dimensions of Shakespeare's literary characters’ desires for and relation with others, including social negotiations and ideological debates over valued identities and principles, particularly as these desires and relations are understood as rhetorical functions and effects of the literary text in its particular language/form/structure and its contexts
-to explore the extent to which the culturally-inflected and historically-situated desires and power relations and identities in Shakespeare's plays are shown to be in flux, narrated and dramatized as being put into question or engaged in a debate among different social, political, class, gender, ethnic, religious/ideological arrangements
-to write a substantial critical essay that engages with Shakespeare's plays and their critical interpretation/reception by identifying problems, developing claims and arguments, and enriching literary understanding, interests, and commitments

Evaluation/Assessment Rubric for Instructor's Written Responses to Critical Essay and Term Essay, with check mark along a scale of Excellent to Weak, with specific comments to supplement comments/feedback on the texts of the essays themselves:

Rubric for Initial Criteria for Evaluating Critical Writing/Essays:   Excellent          Very Good-Good          Competent-Fair          Weak
Note: Ultimately the evaluation of your work is holistic,
and therefore also intends to register the different, nuanced,
unexpected and evocative effects of your analysis,
exploration, creative expression/affect, and engagement
with learning and discovery.

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 analysis/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, of related scholarship/criticism;
analysis of text’s rhetorical/persuasive strategies, structure

5. Topic’s depth/complexity, including explanation of
problem to be addressed, recognition of text’s
conflicts/contradictions (ideological/rhetorical),
creativity and sense of discovery/affective engagement
conveyed—the articulated sense of “what’s at stake, why
 all of it matters”

6. Significance/ conclusion

7. Effective sentences, syntax, verbs, diction,
punctuation, complexity, and suitable style: academic,
critical, appropriate to your understanding of the

8. MLA style—parenthetical citation of sources,
Works Cited; formatting; spelling ungraded but noted

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

Quick Advice on Punctuation (also dated) [pdf]

Summary/Overview of Perspectives on Critical Theory

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]

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

Synopses of 1 & 2 HIV [pdf]

Study Questions on 1 Henry IV [pdf]

Examples of some Journal Entries on 1 HIV [pdf]

Questions on Henry the Fifth

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 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

Questions on A Midsummer Night's Dream

Examples of some Journal Entries on MND [pdf]

Questions on Measure for Measure

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


How to Lead Discussion (focused on peer-peer interaction)

Leading an Effective Discussion (focused on TAs and faculty)

Facilitating Discussions (focused on TAs and faculty)