Shakespeare’s Later Works

Course Number: ENG 202
Transcript Title: Shakespeare’s Later Works
Created: May 8, 2017
Updated: October 10, 2019
Total Credits: 4
Lecture Hours: 0
Lecture / Lab Hours: 0
Lab Hours: 0
Satisfies Cultural Literacy requirement: No
Satisfies General Education requirement: Yes
Grading options: A-F (default), P-NP, audit
Repeats available for credit: 0

Prerequisites

MTH 20 or equivalent placement test scores. Prerequisite/concurrent: WR 121.

Course Description

Provides a sampling of Shakespeare’s contributions to the three primary genres of early modern theater with a focus on the later comedies, tragedies, histories, and non-dramatic poetry. Introduces the study of Shakespeare’s dramatic techniques, character development, historical and cultural setting, and language. Explores interpretations of Shakespeare’s works by contemporary filmmakers.  Prerequisite: MTH 20 or equivalent placement test scores. Prerequisite/concurrent: WR 121. Audit available.

Intended Outcomes

Upon successful completion of this course, students will be able to:

  1. Interpret a selection of Shakespeare’s later works emphasizing literary elements (i.e. plot, character, setting, theme, motif, etc.) and identify commonalities and make comparisons among them.
  2. Describe Shakespeare and his influence on Western and world literature and culture highlighting the Shakespearean dramatic forms of history, comedy and tragedy
  3. Identify significant events, developments, and/or ideas in the Western cultural experience and contextemphasizing relevant cultural, historical, and political information to interpret Shakespeare’s purpose, perspective, and use of rhetorical, literary and dramatic techniques.
  4. Engage in close reading, thoughtful discussion and self-reflection about the complex questions the plays and poems present regarding the human experience.
  5. View contemporary adaptations of Shakespeare’s works with comprehension and    discernment and with an understanding of the influence of philosophical, historical, and/or artistic phenomena in relation to contemporary Western culture.
  6. Compose thoughtful, critical close reading analyses of literary texts using MLA format, citing and explaining textual evidence in support of a thesis.

Alignment with Institutional Core Learning Outcomes

Major 1. Communicate effectively using appropriate reading, writing, listening, and speaking skills. (Communication)

Major

2. Creatively solve problems by using relevant methods of research, personal reflection, reasoning, and evaluation of information. (Critical thinking and Problem-Solving)

Not addressed

3. Extract, interpret, evaluate, communicate, and apply quantitative information and methods to solve problems, evaluate claims, and support decisions in their academic, professional and private lives. (Quantitative Literacy)

Major

4. Use an understanding of cultural differences to constructively address issues that arise in the workplace and community. (Cultural Awareness)

Minor

5. Recognize the consequences of human activity upon our social and natural world. (Community and Environmental Responsibility)

To establish an intentional learning environment, Core Learning Outcomes (CLOs) require a clear definition of instructional strategies, evidence of recurrent instruction, and employment of several assessment modes.

Major Designation

  1. The outcome is addressed recurrently in the curriculum, regularly enough to establish a thorough understanding.
  2. Students can demonstrate and are assessed on a thorough understanding of the outcome.
    • The course includes at least one assignment that can be assessed by applying the appropriate CLO rubric.

Minor Designation

  1. The outcome is addressed adequately in the curriculum, establishing fundamental understanding.
  2. Students can demonstrate and are assessed on a fundamental understanding of the outcome.
    • The course includes at least one assignment that can be assessed by applying the appropriate CLO rubric.

Outcome Assessment Strategies

  • Regular in-class writings
  • Group discussions
  • Student generated discussion questions
  • Close-reading essays
  • Quizzes, mid-term, final exam
  • Responses to study questions
  • Responses to critical texts and/ or podcasts
  • Responses to films
  • Group and Individual performances of soliloquies, scenes, and/ or sonnets
  • Group and Individual projects

Texts and Materials

Texts should include Shakespearean works written between 1600 and 1614 (Hamlet through The Two Noble Kinsmen)

Course Activities and Design

  • The determination of teaching strategies used in the delivery of outcomes is generally left to the discretion of the instructor. Here are some strategies that you might consider when designing your course: lecture, small group/forum discussion, flipped classroom, dyads, oral presentation, role play, simulation scenarios, group projects, service learning projects, hands-on lab, peer review/workshops, cooperative learning (jigsaw, fishbowl), inquiry based instruction, differentiated instruction (learning centers), graphic organizers, etc.

Course Content (Themes, Concepts, Issues and Skills)

Outcome 1: Interpret a selection of Shakespeare’s later works emphasizing literary elements (i.e. plot, character, setting, theme, motif, etc.) and identify commonalities and make comparisons among them.

  • Guide students’ practice of close reading to accomplish interpretative goals including: understanding a work’s key ideas; identifying how a work’s craft and structure reinforce its themes; recognizing how a work connects to others, and evaluating a work’s quality.
  • Close read significant scenes in the studied plays which may include:
    • Important speeches in Macbeth
      • Lady Macbeth’s soliloquy 1.5.36-52
      • Macbeth’s soliloquy 1.7.1-28
      • The dialogue between Lady Macbeth and Macbeth 1.7.39-96
      • The dagger speech 2.1.42-77
      • Macbeth upon Lady Macbeth’s death 5.5.16-27
    • Important speeches in Much Ado About Nothing
      • Benedick in love 2.3.223-248
      • Beatrice in love 3.1.113-122
      • Dogberry’s speech and the inclusion of low comedy 4.2.76-89
    • Important speeches in Measure for Measure
      • Isabella’s speech about great men 2.2.139-152
      • Angelo’s speech 2.2.198-224
      • Isabella’s speech about role of women 2.4.185-201
      • Angelo’s speech about Isabella 2.4.168-184
    • Important speeches in Othello
      • Othello’s wooing of Desdemona 1.3.149-196
      • Iago’s “I hate the Moor” monologue 1.3.426-447
      • Iago’s villain speech 2.3.356-381
      • Desdemona’s murder 5.2
  • Develop students’ awareness of changes in grammar since Shakespeare’s day, and some key items of Shakespearean vocabulary, so that students are better able to understand Shakespeare in the original.
    • Explore through close reading, writing and discussion and/or creative projects the major characteristics of Shakespearean poetry and especially of the Shakespearean sonnet focusing on rhyme scheme, structure and meter.
  • Explore through close reading, major themes of Shakespeare’s later works which may include:
    • Different manifestations of love (Shakespearean Sonnets, Much Ado About Nothing, Othello, Macbeth, and Measure for Measure)
    • Nature of time and human mortality (Shakespearean Sonnets, Much Ado About Nothing, Othello, Macbeth, and Measure for Measure)
    • Implications of Revenge (Much Ado About Nothing, Othello, Macbeth)
    • Ideas of Family honor (Much Ado About Nothing, Othello, Macbeth)
    • Appearance versus reality (Much Ado About Nothing, Othello, Macbeth, Measure for Measure)
    • Causes and effects of jealousy (Much Ado About Nothing, Othello, Macbeth, and Measure for Measure)
    • Influences of War (Othello, Macbeth)
    • Implications of Ambition (Othello, Macbeth)
    • Kingship (Macbeth)
    • The role of fate and freewill (Much Ado About Nothing, Othello, Macbeth, Measure for Measure)
    • The role of justice and law (Much Ado About Nothing, Othello, Macbeth, Measure for Measure)
    • Wealth and corruption (Comedy of Errors, Macbeth)
    • Religion and faith (Much Ado About Nothing, Measure for Measure)
    • Forgiveness and mercy (Much Ado About Nothing, Othello, Measure for Measure)
  • Explore through close reading major motifs in Shakespeare’s later works which may include:
    • Animals (Much Ado About Nothing, Othello, Measure for Measure)
    • Sight and blindness (Much Ado About Nothing, Othello)
    • Hell, demons and monsters (Othello, Macbeth)
    • The natural world (Much Ado About Nothing, Macbeth)
    • Blood (Macbeth)
    • Sleep/ visions (Macbeth, Othello)
    • Substitutions (Much Ado About Nothing, Measure for Measure)
  • Develop an understanding of interrelating themes and motifs among the later works through careful reading, discussion, regular writing prompts, close reading analyses, and/or creative projects.
    • Instruct students about how to use thematic instances to arrive at general conclusions regarding how the theme works in the analyzed texts.
      • Teach students how to read carefully, looking for the selected theme or motif and possibly researching ways in which other critics have examined the theme.
      • Help students determine their argument. Will they make a claim for similarity, difference, or superiority about how various works treat the selected theme?
      • Show students how to organize their responses around the works, making each point deal with a distinct work. Emphasize connections and transitions.

Outcome 2: Describe Shakespeare and his influence on Western and world literature and culture highlighting the Shakespearean dramatic forms of history, comedy and tragedy

  • Familiarize students with William Shakespeare in terms of his biography and education.
  • Provide an overview of Shakespeare’s works and provide an account of the legacy of his work.
  • Acquaint students with the origins of Shakespearean drama in Greek theater, and the major figures who likely shaped his work.
  • Define a variety of Shakespearean dramatic forms emphasizing Shakespearean tragedy, history, and comedy plays.

Outcome 3: Identify significant events, developments, and/or ideas in the Western cultural experience and contextemphasizing relevant cultural, historical, and political information to interpret Shakespeare’s purpose, perspective, and use of rhetorical, literary and dramatic techniques.

  • Describe Jacobean England in social, historical, and political context.
  • Define the Renaissance as both an historical era as well as a movement in art and literature and explain its influence on Shakespeare’s work.
  • Familiarize students with the major Jacobean dramatic conventions.

Outcome 4: Engage in close reading, thoughtful discussion, self-reflection and literary analysis about the complex questions the plays and poems present regarding human experience.

  • Questions to consider through discussion and writing about Shakespeare’s later workscould include the following:
    • How does Shakespeare indicate that time may be conquered in his works?
    • Discuss the theme of immortality as presented in his works.
    • What role does nature play in Shakespeare’s works?
    • How do gossip, conversation and overhearing function?
    • Explore what Shakespeare’s works say about relationships between men and women.
    • What is the nature of honor?
    • Consider the concept of deception and its many manifestations.
    • What makes a villain?
    • Consider the validity and usefulness of revenge.
    • What are motivations for jealousy?
    • Consider how age, social position and race affect relationships.
    • What makes relationship healthy and unhealthy?
    • What happens when ambition oversteps moral boundaries?
    • When does appropriate use of power become tyranny?
    • To what extent do we control our own destinies?
    • How are people and events often not what they seem?
    • What happens to the natural world when morality is disregarded?
    • How are light and darkness connected to good and evil?
    • How do children both represent the future and highlight evil?
    • How does sleep represent a facture of moral order?
    • How do visions represent guilty conscience?
    • Can there be wealth without corruption? Or, does wealth lead to corruption?
    • Can religion and faith be separated? Can you have one without the other?

Outcome 5: View contemporary adaptations of Shakespeare’s works with comprehension and    discernment and with an understanding of the influence of philosophical, historical, and/or artistic phenomena in relation to contemporary Western culture.

  • Define the nature of adaptation as it relates to film and consider the problem of adaptation.
  • Familiarize student with elements of film including mise-en-scène, cinematography, sound, and editing throughlecture and/or on-line research projects focused on OER based resources.
  • Emphasize careful viewing of the films, applying an understanding of filmic elements to accomplish interpretative goals.
  • Upon viewing the assigned films observe and evaluate how Shakespeare has been remade across time and across continents. Discussions may include the following questions:
    • Do elements of film (mise-en-scène, cinematography, sounds, etc.) enhance or detract from an audiences’ understanding of the “original” work?
    • Evaluate a director’s decision to remake characters. How do these alterations contribute to or detract from understanding?
    • Assess a director’s decisions to invent character backstories. Is this an effective technique?
    • Evaluate a director’s decision to retain the Shakespearean language, character and plot, abandon it completely, or create some sort of hybrid where some “original” elements are kept and others are modernized. Should we be able to call these adaptations Shakespeare?
    • Do adaptations enhance or undermine Shakespeare’s work and the audiences’ appreciation of it?
    • How does modern clothing and occasional diversions from the script affect an understanding of the work?
    • Consider the selection of the setting, how does it function?
    • What are the implications of staging events unspoken in the Shakespeare’s play?
    • What are the implications of a director’s decision to invent events in their adaptations of Shakespeare’s plays? Why is this done? How effective is it?

Outcome 6: Compose thoughtful, critical close reading analyses of literary texts using MLA format, citing and explaining textual evidence in support of a thesis.

  • Emphasize close reading as the means to composing thoughtful, critical analyses. 
  • Introduce students to the OWL Purdue Online Writing Lab as a resource to help them with all aspects of essay writing including thesis and content generation, citation, organization, and proper formatting: https://owl.english.purdue.edu
  • Through lecture, teach students “tracking” methods to help them achieve a rich understanding of the text including highlighting, marginal notes, free writing, etc.
  • Review with students the “pitfalls” to literary analysis including plot summary, black and white thinking, and everything is “subjective.”