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Shakespeare & Love
Home Up UMUC's Schedules Mannheim Campus 2001 Students Resources Résumé


TEXT:  The Portable Shakespeare, The Viking Portable Library, Penguin Books

INVITATION: Any time spent studying drama or poetry is rewarding.  The lessons we learn from the mythological truths portrayed in verse may easily translate into an understanding of social consciousness. With Shakespeare especially, we are able to grasp life-aspects associated with our Western culture; one aspect includes the concept of love through an intimate, person-to-person, independent desire. Much of Shakespeare’s literature represents a change that took place in Western  social consciousness—a change that embodies our concept of romantic love today.

It is unnecessary to be an educated Shakespearean scholar to enjoy this class. You must, however, be willing to put forth the time and dedication that studying Shakespeare demands. Regardless of your educational background, be prepared to spend Saturday evening reading, looking up unfamiliar terms, and preparing for Sunday’s discussions. If you are unable to attend both sessions, all day, then you should reconsider taking this seminar.

FOCUS: We will focus on the paradox of love and suffering, and the concept of romantic love in our Western culture.  From the text we will read Romeo and Juliet, and various sonnets.  I will provide handouts for Othello.

Saturday—we will begin our morning with introductions and background material concerning Shakespeare’s life and the historical time frame from which he wrote.  After discussing the concepts of romantic love during this period and pre-Shakespeare, we will analyze the changes that have occurred in our society regarding our concepts of love.  We will follow this discussion with a review of Romeo and Juliet.

After lunch we will view the classic Franco Zeffirelli version of Romeo and Juliet.  We will then, after a break, have a short quiz concerning basic information covered in class and from the play.

     Homework—read Othello

Sunday—We will begin with the newly made film version of Romeo and Juliet and follow with a discussion of the dramatic techniques used to portray this 400 year-old story in a modern setting.

After lunch, we will review Othello in comparison to Romeo and Juliet. Although Shakespeare’s representation of mature love compared to adolescent love is quite different, he continues to represent the paradox of love and suffering.

You will be assigned to write a paper regarding an aspect covered in class. I will provide guidelines and suggestions in class. The paper must be mailed to my military address within ten days from the seminar's ending date. 

GRADING:  The quiz on Saturday will make up 25% of your grade;  the final paper will make up the remaining 75%.

Please provide a self-addressed envelope with your paper so that I may return it with your final grade.

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