English 205: Shakespeare
Fall 2014
Harris Friedberg
101, 285 Court St., 685-3622
Office Hours: Tu, Th 4:15-5:30





September 2 

Richard II 

1.2.1-41; 1.4.20-52; 2.1.31-66, 95-210; 2.3.83-147
4   3.2;3.3; 3.4.29-66; 4.1.107-318;5.5.31-66

I Henry IV 

1.2; 1.3.130-210; 2.2; 2.4.363-465; 3.2.1-161
11   4.1.94-123; 4.2.11-79; 5.1.83-140; 5.3.30-61

II Henry IV

1.1.137-210; 1.2.53-242; 2.1.22-128; 3.1; 4.1.30-158 ;4.5;5.2; 5.5
18 Exam   

Midsummer Night's Dream 

1.1.22-251; 2.1.60-268; 2.2.27-156
25   3.1.131-95; 3.2.88-344; 4.1.45-217; 5.1.1-27

As You Like It 

1.1.1-161; 1.2.1-53, 201-76;1.3.39-136; 2.1; 2.7.12-44
October 2   3.2.289-419; 3.3; 3.5.35-82; 4.1.63-205; 4.3.73-180

Measure for Measure 

1.2; 1.3.19-54; 2.1.202-44; 2.2.110-86
9   2.4.87-186; 3.1.1-150; 5.1.360-452
14 Exam  


1.2.1-159; 1.3.5-50, 90-135; 1.4.39-91; 1.5
21   2.2.156-216, 265-80, 488-544; 3.1
23   3.2.55-392; 3.3.36-98; 3.4.9-217; 4.3.1-52
28   4.4; 4.5.98-213; 4.7.105-92
30   5.1; 5.2.4-66,204-381
November 4 King Lear  
6 1.1.36-192; 1.2.1-22,104-33; 1.4.93-194,254-306
11   2.3; 2.4; 3.1; 3.2; 3.4; 3.7.55-108
13   4.1; 4.2.26-82; 4.6.33-187; 4.7.45-78
18   5.2; 5.3


1.1; 1.2.242-502; 2.1.143-68; 2.2.114-85
December 2   3.1; 3.2; 4.1.1-56;5.1
4 Paper  

This course is designed to introduce you to the often demanding texts of Shakespeare's plays, their major genres (history, comedy, tragedy, and romance), and their themes of state, subject, and family. Shakespeare's literary career spans an increasingly troubled age that experienced the emergence of both the absolutist state and the deconsecration of the monarch, the construction of the subject (both political and psychological), and the interrogation of the patriarchal control of sexuality and the family. The lectures will suggest how Shakespeare reflects and contributes to these momentous changes at the dawn of the modern world.

This is primarily a lecture course. The lectures assume no prior knowledge of Shakespeare or his times and are designed to illuminate the texts of the plays. They focus closely upon the text and shall treat a few scenes or passages in detail. The syllabus lists these focal passages; they must be studied in detail before each lecture. The course web site (see below) contains essential background readings for the plays; you expected to have read the Histories section before reading Richard II; the Comedies before Midsummer Night's Dream and the Tragedies, before Hamlet. You will be tested on their contents. Although the lectures assume no specific familiarity with Shakespeare and his times, they do assume that you can read and understand Shakespeare's often demanding language and are comfortable analyzing poetry.

Please bring the text of the play to class. You are expected to have read each play before the first lecture devoted to it and have carefully studied the focal passages before each lecture. Attendance is required, and three or more unexcused absences are grounds for dismissal from the course. You are expected to arrive for class on time and to stay until the lecture is over. Arriving late or leaving early is disruptive and discourteous. If you repeatedly disrupt class, you will be dismissed from the course. Phones, tablets, and laptops must be turned off during class; using them during class is grounds for dismissal. .

Students will take two exams and submit one paper. The first exam will cover the Histories and the Histories essays on the web site. The second will cover the Comedies and the essays on the site.The two exams will count for 40% of your final grade. The paper will cover Hamlet and/or Lear and also count for 40% of your grade. Your paper must develop a critical argument and demonstrate your mastery of Shakespeare's language by citing and analyzing passages from the plays; plot summary will not be accepted. (For a discussion and example, please consult Advice to Paper Writers.) Extensions shall be granted only at the request of your class dean. Any missed work must be made up within one week. You must complete all written assignments to receive credit for the course. Using other people's words or ideas without attribution is, of course, plagiarism, and the Honor Code requires that any suspicions be reported. If you have any questions about how or what to attribute, please ask me. In addition to the exams and papers, you will often be asked to submit a response to the readings, both in the plays and on the web site, at the end of class; these will make up 20% of your grade.

ENGLISH 205 has its own web site. The site will contain the course syllabus (including paper topics), a discussion of Shakespeare's dramatic theater, and a separate Contexts section for the histories, comedies, tragedies, and romances containing documents and images from Shakespeare's age and essays introducing them. The contexts sections have been designed to help you understand the lectures and write your papers by providing essential background materials. You are responsible for the contents of these sections and will be tested on them. In addition, you must show that you have consulted the web site in writing your paper.

I have ordered individual volumes of the plays from the Pelican Shakespeare series, and I prefer that you use these texts instead of a single-volume Shakespeare; individual plays are a lot easier to carry to class, and there are sometimes substantial differences between different editions of the same play. If you have any questions about the texts, please ask me.