English 205: Shakespeare
Fall 2012
Harris Friedberg
101, 285 Court St., 685-3622
Office Hours: Th 4:15-5:30





September 6 

Richard II 

1.2.1-41; 1.4.20-52; 2.1.31-66, 95-210; 2.3.83-147
11   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
18   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
25 Exam/Paper   

Midsummer Night's Dream 

1.1.22-251; 2.1.60-268; 2.2.27-156
October 2   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
9   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
25   2.4.87-186; 3.1.1-150; 5.1.360-452
30 Exam/Paper  
November 1


1.2.1-159; 1.3.5-50, 90-135; 1.4.39-91; 1.5
6   2.2.156-216, 265-80, 488-544; 3.1
8   3.2.55-392; 3.3.36-98; 3.4.9-217; 4.3.1-52
13   4.4; 4.5.98-213; 4.7.105-92; 5.1; 5.2.4-66,204-381
15 Exam/Paper  

King Lear 

1.1.36-192; 1.2.1-22,104-33; 1.4.93-194,254-306
29   2.3; 2.4; 3.1; 3.2; 3.4; 3.7.55-108
December 4   4.1; 4.2.26-82; 4.6.33-187; 4.7.45-78;5.2; 5.3


1.1; 1.2.242-502; 2.1.143-68; 2.2.114-85;3.1; 3.2; 4.1.1-56; 5.1
6 Short Essay  

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 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; students are responsible for and will be tested on its 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; in addition you are expected to have read the materials in the Contexts sections of the web site. 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 to your fellow students. Students who repeatedly disrupt class will be asked to withdraw from the course. Cel phones must be turned off during class; using your phone during class is grounds for dismissal. You may use a laptop, but students who use them must email the notes they take in class to the instructor after every class. Failing to submit your note is also grounds for dismissal.

I will give three exams and one take-home final. Each student must take two of the scheduled exams during the semester and submit the final short essay. Each shall count for 15% of your grade. In addition, each student must submit a paper. Paper topics will be posted on the course web site; click on the exam/paper link to find them. Students whose last names begin with the letters A through E must submit their papers instead of taking the exam on September 25; F though R, instead of taking the exam on October 23; S through Z, instead of taking the exam on November 8. All students must complete the short essay due December 6. The paper shall 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.) In addition, students will frequently be required to submit a one-minute exercise detailing the most important point covered in the lecture and framing one question about it at the end of the class; these will count for 15% of your grade. Extensions shall be granted only at the request of your class dean. All 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.

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 consult the web site when 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.