Fall Semester 2004

MWF 2pm  (Brother Anthony)

In this course we shall mainly be studying  Hamlet and King Lear. We will study the texts in detail and watch videos of each play. We will also watch a video of Much Ado About Nothing, but will not study the text.

Text Books

Students will need to buy copies of both plays in the New Cambridge edition. An introduction to the life and theatre of Shakespeare can be found in my book Literature in English Society, Volume II, The Renaissance (Sogang University Press). The introductions of the New Cambridge editions will provide useful information and there are many books about Shakespeare in the library. You are expected to use some of them when writing your two reports. Each report must include a list (‘Works Cited’) of the critical works you have actually quoted in the report.

Detailed Course Description

August 30 Week 1
Introduction to Shakespeare

September 6 Week 2
Hamlet Act 1

September 13 Week 3
Hamlet Acts 2 - 3

September 20 Week 4
Hamlet Acts 4 - 5

September 27 Week 5 (No class Monday and Wednesday, Chusok)
Hamlet Act 5

October 4 Week 6
Hamlet video

October 11 Week 7
Hamlet video and discussions

October 18 Week 8
Mid-term Exams

October 25 Week 9
King Lear Acts 1 - 2

November 1 Week 10
King Lear Acts 3 - 4

November 8 Week 11
King Lear Act 5 and discussion

Novermber 15 Week 12
King Lear video

November 22 Week 13
King Lear  video

November 29 Week 14
Much Ado About Nothing video

December 6 Week 15
Much Ado About Nothing video (Final exams start on Thursday)


Students will write a Midterm Essay (due on the Monday after the Mid-term Exam) in which you discuss your own interpretation of and reactions to Hamlet, including discussion of the way the various characters were interpreted in the film productions. Is Hamlet really the victim of his own hesitations? In what sense is he a ‘tragic hero’?

In the Final Essay  (due on the Monday after the end of the Final Exams) you will comment on the way King Lear explores the notions of love, duty, nature, and gratitude. What view of human existence do you think the play’s conclusion shows? Compare this with your interpretation of the view of human existence found in Hamlet and in Much Ado About Nothing, concluding with a discussion of Shakespeare’s notion of tragedy.


Grading will be based on the 2 reports and the result of the Mid-term and Final Exams (Max 50 points each). The exams will test students' knowledge of the action of the plays, and will include tests of precise memorization of the most celebrated passages in the  plays. Exams and reports are of equal weight.