Which Shakespeare class would you rather take?


#1

I’ll be teaching an advanced Shakespeare seminar this coming spring to a bunch of seasoned English and history undergraduates. Most of them will have had a semester of Shakespearean comedy and romance before, so I won’t be doing much comedy in this class, if any.

I’m wavering between four different ways to present the class. Which sounds most interesting to you?

  1. Go through every single English history play–ten plays to get the whole bloody story.

  2. Half English history and half Roman history plays (so from Richard II to Henry V, and then do Coriolanus, Julius Caesar, Antony and Cleopatra).

  3. Focus on interesting female leads in Shakespeare–so I’d do Coriolanus, Antony and Cleopatra, Titus Andronicus, the three Henry VI plays, Macbeth, Troilus and Cressida, Shrew, maybe.

  4. Read the weird stuff that you rarely read in a Shakespeare class–All’s Well, Pericles, The Two Noble Kinsmen, Troilus and Cressida, King John, Henry VIII, Love’s Labor’s Lost, etc.

What appeals most to you?


#2

Four! I always loved the chance to take ‘these your unusual weeds’ and explore something a bit different.

(Also, if you liked, you could add a poll to that post and possibly garner a good deal of response…)


#3

Oh man. I’m sitting here supposedly grading final papers. It’s bad enough that I’m absorbed with these forums–I probably shouldn’t immerse myself in figuring out how to create a poll. I’ll have to settle for qualitative data.


#4

I’d learn the most from this. Also, since it is an advanced class, more interesting aspects of these titles can be explored.


#5

Which sounds most interesting to you?

  • Go through every single English history play–ten plays to get the whole bloody story.
  • Half English history and half Roman history plays
  • Focus on interesting female leads in Shakespeare–so I’d do Coriolanus, Antony and Cleopatra, etc
  • Read the weird stuff that you rarely read in a Shakespeare class–All’s Well, Pericles, etc

0 voters


#6

When someone mentions Shakespear most people tend to think of his popular and well-known works, that and fact the subject is somewhat obligatory for anyone who has literature or english classes, I’d say its a bit more interesting to learn something most have either skipped or didn’t really know about… so weird stuff it is. I really hope there’s interesting bits in it… I was one of those those students who would yawn at the mention of Shakespear so maybe there’s something in that unkown that can spice up some interest. :stuck_out_tongue:


#7

Damn, do you have to pick one? beBecause I like 2 and 4 because they seem interesting and something that someone like me would be intrigued by and not skip.


#8

I do have to pick one, unfortunately!

I’ve also been polling my first-year students, asking them what they were required to read in high school. By far it is Romeo and Juliet and Julius Caesar that people have been assigned. I think it’s time for Julius Caesar to stop being a required high school Shakespeare play. I like it just fine, but it isn’t one that I would choose if I had to require only two plays to be taught.


#9

It is just funny, because I am Spanish and the plays we have for Shakespeare at high school are normally Romeo and Juliet but far most common is Hamlet and Otelo is common. Never the romans or the historical ones … I don’t include Macbeth as historical.


#10

If there were just two, I’d prefer MacBeth and Othello.


#11

I like Othello but if I have to pick two… Macbeth and Lear


#12

I wonder if Othello is too sexy for high school students–not sure if that is one of the considerations. Julius Caesar wins my nod for the least sexy play.


#13

It was taught in my school but I was in the advanced class where we actually explored the historical aspects and the guy it was based on etc… so ya.


#14

Sexy? I went to a private nun ruled catholic school and nuns play Othello… But well Anglo-Saxon culture is way puritain compared to ours… I had otello with 12 lol…Oh, my god Then for Anglo-Saxon Don Juan is XXX ? I had that at 8


#15

It’s not super sexual, but it’s way more so than Julius Caesar. :slight_smile:


#16

@Gower One of my profs once said that Othello was the arche of (most) subsequent English literature: the family drama and the dark antihero. Would you agree with that?


#17

Othello does have a lot that shows up later–it combines the comedy (“oh no, I’m a cuckold”) and the tragedy.

I don’t know if I would call Othello a “dark antihero” though. He seems like too much of a victim for that. Macbeth–him I would call a dark antihero. He thinks of himself as the actor, but he is more more acted upon.


#18

No, not Othello: Iago as the antihero. cf Milton, the Romantics, etc etc.


#19

Ah, I see–that I can agree with.


#20

I always thought lago was a pure villain.

but everyone knows more then me :slight_smile: so I defer to everyone else.