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ENGL 3563 Shakespeare


Teresa Nugent, Ph.D.




In 1592, a washed-up dramatist and university wit, Robert Greene, publicly complained about a new success in the London theater world, an “upstart crow” who stole other writers’ works and turned them into stage sensations. Who was this newcomer who was ruffling feathers and raising eyebrows? None other than the son of a glove maker, a 28-year-old from the West Midlands named William Shakespeare.

In this course we explore a selection of Shakespeare’s works, including sonnets, history plays, comedies and tragedies. You will have the opportunity to select some of the plays that you’ll study. In addition, we’ll research Shakespeare’s background, the atmosphere of Elizabethan London, and how Shakespeare’s works reflect and critique the contemporary issues of his day. We will ponder how Shakespeare became one of the most famous writers of English literature and created works that many people believe transcend the trappings of place and time.

ENGL 3563 (section 581) is an online course that covers Shakespeare’s poetry and drama. Prerequisites: Restricted to students with 57-180 credits (Junior or Senior).


By the end of the semester, students who actively participate in course activities and apply themselves to reading and writing assignments will be able to perform the following tasks:

  • Read Shakespearean language with ease and understanding.
  • Identify and critique the nuances of Shakespeare’s poetry and prose.
  • Comprehend and analyze critical commentaries on the early modern period and draw connections between Shakespeare’s works and the economic, political, religious, and social contexts in which they were composed and performed.
  • Improve your analytical writing skills through frequent composition of short answers and essays that formulate and defend interpretations of specific texts.
  • Design, build, and present a creative project based on one of Shakespeare’s plays.

In general, this course aims to stimulate each student’s intellectual curiosity and develop critical reading, thinking and writing skills.

  • Critical reading is the ability to recognize allusions, underlying assumptions, subtle implications, and meaningful omissions in a particular text.
  • Critical thinking analyzes the significance of these observations in relation to the text itself, and assesses the relationship between a text and the cultural and historical period in which the text was written.
  • Critical writing successfully articulates this analysis, explaining how it leads to a particular interpretation of the text. An effective critical essay provides textual evidence to support a particular interpretation of a text.



The Norton Shakespeare Essential Plays and Poetry, Third Edition.
Stephen Greenblatt et al, eds., October 2015. ISBN: 978-0-393-93863-0.


Course Quiz 3%
Eight Sets of Discussion Posts 48% (6% each)
Paper 1 16%
Paper 2 17%
Final Project (including proposal, presentation, peer-reviews and quiz) 16%

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