While Shakespeare is celebrated for his realistic depictions of characters, events, and emotions, his work is filled with other-worldly elements, including sorcery, oracles, myths, and grotesque creatures. This course will explore Shakespeare's use of the fantastic, the unnatural, and the monstrous. Reading a wide selection of comedy, tragedy, and history, we will consider Shakespeare's often contradictory attitude to the supernatural: on one hand, a source of evil, villainy, and perversion, and, on the other, a symbol of the divine and a means of surpassing the humanly possible. We will look at how Shakespeare used monstrous imagery to reflect upon his own work and the nature of theatre itself. Finally, we will examine how Shakespeare's allusions to the unnatural allowed him to critique and engage with historical sources as well as contemporary issues such as gender, politics, and globalization. Readings may include "Antony and Cleopatra," "Othello," "A Midsummer Night's Dream," "The Tempest," "Coriolanus," "Troilus and Cressida," "The Winter's Tale," and "Richard III." 3 short response papers; midterm and final papers; and a presentation introducing one of the assigned readings. First-year and/or students with no prior knowledge of this topic are encouraged to enroll. Satisfies the Early Modern requirement.
Course Attributes: EN H; BU Hum; AS HUM; FA HUM; AR HUM; EL EM