Shakespeare was a prolific writer and one of the most influential poets and playwrights to ever live. But his works were intended for everyday entertainment, not just scholarly interpretation. Today’s students find themselves expected to read, analyze, and write about Shakespeare’s works, but are not taught a constructive approach to understanding them. Over ninety percent of the text in Shakespeare’s plays is pure dialogue. In order to truly grasp the most from each of his creations, it is first necessary to see and understand them as Shakespeare would have presented them.
This course will address how to read and interpret Shakespeare not only as a literary work, but as a play performed for an audience. Students will read Othello and The Tempest and learn how to use dialogue to inform their decisions about character, staging, and props. They will prepare scenes for performance and evaluate how performance improves their understanding of the texts. Students will also develop their writing skills through analytical writing assignments. At the conclusion of the course, students will record a performance of a soliloquy of their choosing and write a full analytical essay.