The course examines Shakespeare’s plays and sonnets through the lens of relevant, current theories in contemporary literary criticism, including postcolonial perspectives, gender identities and suppressions, racisms and social inequalities. Weaving together close textual analysis and recent performances of Hamlet and The Tempest, classes are designed to deepen students’ understanding of Shakespeare’s unique language and characterisation in the context of psychosocial, cultural and political factors that continually influence interpretations of these plays. This course also briefly explores adaptations of Shakespeare’s plays in other artistic forms, including dance, opera and orchestral music.
The learning activities in Global Shakespeare include:
- reading plays, sonnets and academic articles before class
- participating in discussions and class activities,
- viewing and analysing filmed performances from around the globe,
- writing on Shakespeare’s texts, as illuminated by critical theory,
- exploring adaptations of Hamlet or The Tempest into other artistic forms.
Written Reflections 55%
Students will compose two essays (the first worth 30% on Hamlet, the second worth 25% on The Tempest).
Critical Analysis of Shakespeare production 35%
Students will examine one of Shakespeare’s plays in performance, considering the creative choices and theoretical issues emphasised in the production.
Students’ final mark will be influenced by attendance and active participation in discussions and exercises for each class.
- Shakespeare, William. Hamlet. Ann Thompson and Neil Taylor (Eds), Revised edition, The Arden Shakespeare, Bloomsbury, London, 2016.
- Shakespeare, William. The Tempest. (Eds), Virginia Mason Vaughan and Alden T. Vaughan, Revised edition, The Arden Shakespeare, Bloomsbury, London, 2011.
- Sonnet 29: https://www.folger.edu
- Sonnet 116: https://www.folger.edu
NOTE: The two Arden editions of Hamlet and The Tempest should be available for purchase in the HKU book store or online; these include excellent introductory essays. Alternatively, Shakespeare’s works are available online for free at https://www.folger.edu
All academic research articles and book excerpts will be provided online via Moodle.