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Shakespeare


Shakespeare

Fathers and Daughters: Toward King Lear and Beyond (S104)
By William Flesch
Professor of English and American Literature  

A continuation of "Fathers and Sons: Toward Hamlet," this syllabus can also be used independently. As Shakespeare aged, he became more and more concerned with thinking about people whose experiences were different from his own. Every father has been a son, and so has some sense of what it's like to be a son. But no father has been a daughter, and Shakespeare comes to realize how long it has taken him to think his way through to respecting and accepting daughters, and women in general. "Fathers and Daughters" touches upon all the genres in which Shakespeare wrote over the course of his career, concentrating on the plays, including tragedy, history, comedy and romance.

Fathers and Sons: Toward Hamlet (S103)
By William Flesch
Professor of English and American Literature

"Fathers and Sons" is an introduction to a number of grand Shakespearean themes: political, social and familial tension; the intensification or resolution of these tensions over time; the way in which people come to know themselves and take their place in the world; the obstacles they find; and the help they receive. Thus, Shakespeare's themes are those of human life in general. We examine these issues not only for what Shakespeare has to say about them, but also for what they have to say about Shakespeare. What were his beliefs, hopes and fears? How close were they to our own? This syllabus touches on all the genres in which Shakespeare wrote over the course of his career, concentrating on the plays, including tragedy, history, comedy and romance.

Is "The Merchant of Venice" Anti-Semitic? (B13)
By William Flesch
Professor of English and American Literature

As it strives to answer its title question, this guide engages the reader in a careful and critical analysis of Shakespeare's text. Special attention is focused on the contrast between the portrayals of the characters of Portia, the Christian, and Shylock, the Jew, as the guide explains how these depictions did, in fact, reflect the prejudices of Shakespeare and his times.