Course code:



M - Intermediate

Class size limit:


Meets the following requirements:

  • HS - Human Studies

Lab fee:


Typically offered:


This course will focus on Shakespeare’s tragedies as a direct link between the birth of tragedy in ancient Greece and the violence of contemporary cinema.

The class begins with a week of Shakespeare’s sonnets as an entry into the co-evolution of language, metaphor and human emotion. We’ll then compare “Hamlet” and Sophocles’ “Oedipus Rex” in the light of Freudian theory to shed light on universal issues of incest and domestic violence, and continue with a play every week in two extended evening sessions, 4-9 Monday and Thursday, with pizza intermission.

The Monday sessions will be a complete dramatic reading of the play involving the whole class, stopping to discuss salient points, with the aim of complete understanding of language, structure and meaning.

The Thursday sessions will be a single or double feature of contemporary and classic film adaptations, followed by discussion of the relation between play and film. Sample pairings would be: Romeo and Juliet with Bernstein’s West Side Story; Macbeth with Geoffrey Wright’s Macbeth and Kurosawa’s Throne of Blood; and King Lear with Moorhouse’s A Thousand Acres.

Two written assignments will involve a choice of structural analysis of a play, re-casting Shakespearean scenes or motifs into original short fiction, or selecting and following a Shakespeare play through all its cinematic variations. Texts will be individual editions of the plays, along with Michael Greer’s Screening Shakespeare for individual background. Intermediate: prior writing or literature course recommended.


Prior writing or literature course recommended.

Always visit the Registrar's Office for the official course catalog and schedules.