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Shakespeare EN3065

This course is concerned with study of Shakespeare's plays, undertaken roughly in the order in which they were written or performed, augmented by close analysis of the poetic means and theatrical conditions through which the playwright emerges.

Looking at the plays alongside the theatres of Elizabethan London and the social politics of the period, the course will examine how language and drama evolve in Shakespeare's craft, and the enduringness of his art. The course will take in a range of early modern concerns, political, social, domestic, geographical and aesthetic to explore the evolution of media - the written text and the theatrical production.

Learning outcomes

If you complete the course successfully, you should:

  • Have acquired a wide knowledge of the range and variety of Shakespeare's work, of its evolution, and its place within Elizabethan dramatic culture
  • Be able to identify in a range of plays or poems instances of particular themes, artistic patterns, conventions, or problems, and compare these varied instances
  • Be able to analyse and describe in close detail a range of ideas, techniques and themes in a passage selected from a set play.


You will be assessed according to your ability to: demonstrate writing skills and an appropriate conceptual vocabulary sufficient to enable lucid and persuasive critical arguments; respond to questions searching for knowledge of, comparison between, assessment of, and sensitivity to, a wide range of Shakespeare's works; demonstrate close reading and interpretative skills responsive to specified aspects of 'set play' passages.

Essential reading

  • Titus Andronicus
  • Richard III
  • King John
  • Henry V
  • Troilus and Cressida
  • Measure for Measure
  • King Lear
  • Antony and Cleopatra
  • Pericles and The Winter's Tale