Monday, November 06, 2006

Representing Shakespeare

My Shakespeare class next semester is supposed to be a representative class, basically including plays across genres and the playwrighting span of his life.

I have a not-so-secret goal that I'm slowly accomplishing; by the end of my teaching career, I want to have taught all of Shakespeare's plays. (I'm afraid I have no such goal for teaching all the narrative poems or sonnets, though I do teach Lucrece and a variety of sonnets fairly often.) Mostly my goal isn't that difficult to work on, but I have a hard time thinking Timon is going to fit into a syllabus easily, or the Henry 6 trilogy. King John I can imagine, but I haven't really gone there yet.)

I'm roughly thinking:

Comedies: Much Ado About Nothing, Love's Labors Lost (a NEW play for me)

Histories: 1 Henry 4, then either Henry 5, OR 2 Henry 4 (a NEW play for me!)

Tragedies: Macbeth, King Lear, or Othello. (I love them all, and had I world enough and time...)

Romances: The Tempest, The Winter's Tale. (I've taught all the romances. They're about my favorites!)

One of the plays I've chosen because the university will be putting it on this spring, and I'll be working on it with the production, AND it will be a great thing if my class can all go see the play, and maybe we can get the actors to come in and so on and so forth.

But other than that, they're up for grabs, pretty much. There are some obvious plays that work nicely as pairs: Othello and The Winter's Tale, for example. Lear and 1 Henry 4. But there are other combinations I haven't thought much about.

What do you think? Suggestions?


  1. I'm rather fond of Taming of the Shrew myself, and the BBC 'update' verison of it. Now there would be a intersting class, looking at the orginal plays and the 'update' verisons that have been put on BBC and in movies (I'm sure there is already a class like this someplace, becuase like all good ideas someones always thought of it first. *G* )

  2. Anonymous9:31 AM

    Many of my favorites are already here, though I might suggest that one way to get some of your new plays in there is to teach a 300-level on the history plays, which you may find actually goes over better than you think. I took that class in undergrad, and it was fascinating...I still have a soft spot for Richard II because of that class.

  3. Anonymous7:35 PM

    Oooh!! I don't have suggestions, but I wonder--have you done The Two Noble Kinsmen? I want to teach a Fletcher collaboration next semester, and All is True is too weird...any thoughts on doing 2NK?