English 117B

Shakespeare: Tragedy

Section Semester Instructor Time Location Course Areas
1 Fall 2022 Puckett, Kent
TuTh 12:30-2 Wheeler 315


“We seem,” writes A. C. Bradley in his Shakespearean Tragedy, “to have before us a type of the mystery of the whole world, the tragic fact which extends far beyond the limits of tragedy. Everywhere, from the crushed rocks beneath our feet to the soul of man, we see power, intelligence, life and glory, which astound us and seem to call for our worship. And everywhere we see them perishing, devouring one another and destroying themselves, often with dreadful pain, as though they came into being for no other end.” We’ll read and discuss many of Shakespeare’s tragedies—early, middle, and late—both to see how they work as aesthetic objects and to relate them to theories of and ideas about the nature of tragedy from Aristotle to Hegel, Nietzsche, Freud, Arendt, and others. We’ll want both to understand Shakespeare's sense of the tragic as a response to his time and to see how Romeo and JulietHamletOthelloKing LearMacbeth, and other plays might help us to understand what remains true about the experience of the tragic in literature, history, and life.

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