Course ID EES87QSL
Department English
Subject Core English
Can you take this course more than once? No
Periods per Day 1.0
Special Permission No
  • All of the following are true:
    • Student is in 11th grade
  • Fulfills the following graduation requirements
    Also in the following groups
    Syllabus No Syllabus Found


    While we will read, discuss and analyze the plays of Shakespeare in a traditional manner, this class will primarily center around performance. And while it is great to understand and analyze Shakespeare's characters and language, we do feel your understanding of his plays can be deepened by being on your feet, reading lines aloud, and acting out key scenes. Consequently, while students should expect significant reading and writing assignments, much of the work this semester will be done in class. Through read-outs, recitations, small group assignments and full-length performances, we will have lots of fun bringing the works of Shakespeare to life.

    Furthermore, we do want you to take risks and to move out of your comfort zone in this course. Therefore, it is imperative that this environment feels supportive and encouraging - especially for those of us who are shy and might have some stage fright. Consequently, building a strong, fun and creative classroom community is essential to achieving this.

    Essential Questions:

    Here are some of the core questions we will be asking of the plays throughout the term:

    • How are Shakespeare’s plays distinctive from other plays you have read?
    • What type of plays did Shakespeare write and how are they similar/different from each other?
    • How do Shakespeare’s plays capture the zeitgeist of his era/time?
    • To what extent do Shakespeare’s plays have relevance to us today?
    • To what extent do the works of Shakespeare have a depth, sophistication, originality and relevance that elevate his oeuvre above his peers?   

    Reading List:

    In any given term, we cover a minimum of four Shakespeare plays. These plays will cover the different genres in the Shakespearean canon (romantic comedy, tragedy, history, and late romances). Also, since this class is performance based, we will go see an actual production of at least one of his plays. For example, in the spring of 2016, we read The Tempest and also saw a British production of it at St. Ann’s Warehouse. So, expect at least one theater trip a term. A lot of the play chosen in any given term, depends on what is being performed on Broadway during that particular semester. Here is a sample of the plays we have covered in the past.

    • Romantic Comedies: Much Ado About Nothing or As Your Like It or Twelfth Night
    • History Plays: Richard II or Henry IV or Henry V
    • Tragedies: King Lear (we normally don’t cover Hamlet in this class because students study that play in other senior English classes)
    • Late Romances: The Tempest or The Winter’s Tale or Measure for Measure
    • Roman Plays: Julius Caesar or Coriolanus or Antony and Cleopatra