Summer Shakespeare I

Bruce A. McMenomy, Ph.D. for Scholars Online
2015: Wednesdays, 1:00-3:00 p.m. Eastern Time
June 17 - Aug. 19

June 17:
A Midsummer Night's Dream
Conventions

June 24:
Romeo and Juliet
Language

July 8:
The Taming of the Shrew
Themes

July 15:
Richard II
History

July 22:
As You Like It
Comedy

July 29:
Julius Caesar
Tragedy

August 5:
The Merchant of Venice
Structure

August 12:
King Lear
Symbolism

August 19:
Twelfth Night
Ambiguity

Twelfth Night

Things to consider while reading Twelfth Night, Or, What You Will

Twelfth Night is a very strange play. From the title on, people have wondered what it’s about. Some productions are almost farcical; others are reflective and tormented. The play has had an almost unbroken tradition of successful production since its first release in 1602, and yet there are those who to this day claim never to have seen a good production of it. Nobody seems to know what the title refers to — and yet there have been a thousand explanations.

It seems a fitting close for the course.

A narrative retelling of Twelfth Night from Tales from Shakespeare by Charles and Mary Lamb is linked here at the Eldritch Press Site.


Twelfth Night and what has come before


Duality and ambiguity in Shakespeare’s drama: language and enactment

One of the hardest things to be sure of, when you are reading a Shakespeare play, is not that you are getting some meaning from it, but that you are not missing an entire level of meaning. But this is hardly unusual in Shakespeare. Shakespeare often has his characters say one thing and mean another — often expressing what they want to say on one level, while reveals what they would rather not reveal on the other.

How does this happen in the plays we’ve read?


Themes that emerge in the play (only a few of the many)


Symmetries in the play


Problems in the play