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University Honors Program

ENGL 399 - Honors Seminar: "Extreme Shakespeare: Tragedy"

What makes us desire the experience of tragedy? What accounts for Shakespeare’s distinctiveness, influence, and intensity for generations of readers and theatergoers, from lawyers, political figures, military leaders, and even economists to writers, artists, philosophers, and psychologists? Using criticism, theory, adaptation, performance, and film, we’ll explore these and similar interdisciplinary questions to consider his “extreme” or radical imagination, skepticism, linguistic inventiveness, and entertainment value in selected tragedies. We'll include his megaviolent experiment Titus Andronicus, his megaphilosophical experiment Hamlet (with attendance at the Theater Department’s spring production), and his megabloody Macbeth (with attendance at the professional performance at McCain). Expected responsibilities include one or two short papers, one or two hour exams, and a final project.