This course introduces you to the exciting, edgy, and dangerous world of English Renaissance theatre. Focusing principally on works by William Shakespeare, Christopher Marlowe and Thomas Middleton, whilst other contemporary playwrights and their work may also be discussed. We will explore the text and performance of theatre genres during this period, paying particular attention to representations of good, evil, power, sexuality, marriage, race, cultural diversity and the wider historical context of early modern England.
Close readings of select texts; how plays were performed and who made up the audience; public attitudes to the new profession; influences between writers; actors and performance; the interplay of artifice and reality; issues of gender and ethnicity; social, cultural and political contexts.
The purpose of this course is to improve skills in textual and critical analysis in the examination of language (specifically monologue and dialogue), character, plot and other means by which playwrights and actors engaged their audiences. In the process, the course will address the question of how and why such an extraordinarily fertile period developed and ultimately led to the emergence of one of the world’s most popular and acclaimed dramatists.
Lectures and discussion
Assessment is by 100% coursework, consisting of:
Papers and presentations
There is also a hurdle attendance requirement.
Time management plays a key role in successful university study. Students need to keep in mind that as well as scheduled contact hours for lectures, tutorials and seminars, considerable additional time is needed to complete the academic requirements of each subject.
This course requires a minimum of 6 hours total time commitment a week (3 contact hours; and 3 hours spent for class preparation, reading, and assessment-related tasks.
Sir David Lindsay, Ane Satyr of the Thrie Estaitis (A Satire of the Three Estates)
Christopher Marlowe, Dr Faustus
William Shakespeare, The Merchant of Venice
William Shakespeare, Othello
Thomas Middleton, The Revenger’s Tragedy
[N.B. Other plays of the period may also be referred to during lectures and discussion]