In this 9 week course, students will discover Shakespeare’s greatest characters- Hamlet, Othello, Macbeth and others through games, dramatic readings, and interactive projects! -The class is designed to be ala carte- you can learn about all these plays, choose a specific play to focus on, or do the entire course. Each class will have a game of some kind, an engaging quiz, and a short explanation of the setting, characters, and motifs of one or more plays. Each class will also include a close reading of a famous speech.
Background on the Tragedies- the Wheel of Fortune
I will explain the basic structure of Elizabethan tragedies and the concept of Fortune, which is a motif Shakespeare uses in all of his tragedies. I will also debate the concept of “The Tragic Flaw:” the notion that otherwise good people are brought down by single character flaw. Finally, we will quickly summarize the premise behind all 11 of Shakespeare’s tragedies.
The Greek Plays
I will summarize Shakespeare’s two tragedies that are set in ancient Greece and provide commentary on their themes and ideas. I will also draw parallels between the Ancient Greek tragedies of Aeschylus and Euripides and Shakespeare, with a particular emphasis on the Greek philosopher Aristotle’s beliefs on the function of tragedy, which influenced every major drama for the last 2,000 years.
The Roman Plays- From Republic to Empire
We will take a bloody, backstabbing journey to ancient Rome, and discuss how Shakespeare shows through these four plays the dissolution of a republic into an empire. We will discuss the themes of democracy, dictatorship, mob rule, and savagery. Plays covered: Coriolanus, Julius Caesar, Antony and Cleopatra, and Titus Andronicus.
“Hamlet”- The man at the crossroads
We will explore the universality of this timeless tragedy, and do close readings of his famous soliloquies.
“Macbeth: The Tower built on lies-
In addition to the character and his speeches, I’ll draw parallels to the history behind the play, including witchcraft in the Jacobean era, and the Gunpowder plot against the king!
“Othello”- The Lovers and the Devil
I will talk about how Shakespeare dramatizes race and prejudice in the context of Othello’s struggle with prejudice and his own jealousy.
“King Lear”- The Blind Fools and the Hermit
I will discuss the complex plot of Shakespeare’s tragedy about old age, blindness, betrayal, and families ripped apart by greed.
Think Like a Director
I will teach the students to think like a director and develop a concept for the characters, set, lights, etc. I’ll also briefly take you through famous productions of these great tragedies by the Royal Shakespeare Company and others.
Get $10 off my class “Shakespeare’s Tragedies: The Fates of Men and Nations” with coupon code HTHESG5B2Q10 until Dec 31, 2022. Get started at https://outschool.com/classes/shakespeares-tragedies-the-fates-of-men-and-nations-xKCYUkC9 and enter the coupon code at checkout.