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Shakespeare!
Friends, Romans, Countrymen… lend me your eyes and ears! The

time has come upon us to join in revelry with the Bard, the Myth, the

Legend, William Shakespeare.

Shakespeare was and is many different things to many different people.

Some consider him the greatest writer in the English language (or any

language). Others think of him as an icon, a symbol of “English class.”

Love him or hate him, the man’s works have survived 400 years, and are

apt to survive at least another century in the popular imagination.

In class this year, we’re going to explore the different meanings of

Shakespeare: the man, the myth, the poet, the playwright, the

businessman, the philosopher… and so on.

The Reading of Shakespeare

Based on your vote, this year we’ll read the following:

Hamlet Much Ado About Nothing


Othello Twelfth Night

King Lear Much Ado About Nothing

Antony and Cleopatra Assorted Sonnets

Shakespeare’s plays didn’t survive because they were “great”; they survived

because people had fun reading and performing them. So above all else,

we’re going to have fun with our challenges: the analysis and performance

of his plays and poems.

Grades and Evaluations

With that in mind, I have designed my first semester around ONE

Central Assignment: A Research Paper, combined with a

Project/Presentation, that together makes up 55% of your grade.

Of course, the most ambitious of journeys can only be done in small steps.

Continuously, throughout the semester, we’ll be taking these steps together

to ensure that you succeed in your final project and paper. These steps will

be done in your Journal, which I expect you to bring to class every day.
Every Friday, I review your work to see if you are on track.

Research Paper - 40%

Students will create a research paper that is the synthesis of the

following:

1) Writings in their Daily Journals - 10 min per class

2) One Nonfiction book about Shakespeare, his plays (or one of his

plays), Elizabethan England, or Shakespearean performance on stage or film

3) Two Original Essays - Analysis of Literature

4) Two textual sources, fiction or nonfiction

5) Quotations from 2 of the Plays listed above, or any Sonnets

Presentation - 15%

Students will do one of the following:

1) Present their research in a 10 minute powerpoint presentation

(Rubric provided)

2) Create a 10 minute lesson for students (to be done in teams) on a

Shakespearean play other than Hamlet


3) Act out (alone or with others) a scene from a Shakespearean play

other than Hamlet - one page reflection

So that’s the big chunk, the big 55%. The rest is outlined below:

Original Writing - 15%

Students will do one of the following:

1) Write and present an Allusive Sonnet of their own creation (or

poetic monologue), inspired by a text of Shakespeare

2) Modernize a scene in Hamlet (or another scene from a Shakespeare

play)

Quizzes - 10%

Mostly unstructured, made up on the spot. This allows me the

flexibility to adapt what they do. I want them to be ready for College--

reading, lecture, note-taking, and discussion. That's the bulk of it.

Teamwork - 20%

This has two categories:

1) How well you work with me


2) How well you work with your classmates

Syllabus – Semester I

Curious Incident

Week 0 - Shakespeare the man, the myth, the legend.

Weeks 1: Curious Incident - Reading Quiz. Review of literary terms

we'll need to know this year.

Selected Nonfiction & Sonnets

Week 2: Focus on Christopher's state of consciousness. The

geography of England, now and in Shakespeare's time.

Week 3: Shakespeare's world - Nonfiction books assigned. Begin

training in Shakespeare's language.

Hamlet

Week 4: Start College Essay. Shakespeare's world.

Week 5: Plots of Popular Shakespeare plays

Week 6: Start of Research Paper


Week 7: Begin Hamlet - plot and basics. Start of College Essay

Writing - Hamlet returns from college, we apply to it!

Week 8: The Elizabethan World View: the Body Politic and the Great

Chain of Being

Week 9: The ambiguity of boundaries in Hamlet. Ways to understand

family - why Hamlet is so popular.

Week 10: Consciousness - Hamlet confronts consciousness

Week 11-12: Continue our study of consciousness. Sonnets that

explore states of mind and quality of feeling.

Much Ado About Nothing

Week 13: Gender roles. Shakespearean comedy in performance.

Week 14: Malapropism and slapstick. Finish Research Paper before

Winter Break

Week 15-18: Presentations and Original Writing. Acting. Films.

General revelry. Introducing the plays of 2nd semester.