Is Shakespeare the greatest writer in the history of the English language? Why do audiences still flock to performances of his plays? What themes in his plays still resonate with us after 400 years? This course explores the world of William Shakespeare, arguably the most influential writer in Western literature, through a close study of several of his plays. Students read three to four plays representing Shakespeare’s comedies, tragedies and histories. A typical semester might include “Hamlet,” “Othello,” “A Midsummer Night’s Dream,” and “Richard III.” In addition to reading the plays, students perform selections from the works, write analytical essays and shorter responses, read excerpts from biographical and critical material on Shakespeare, and view film adaptations of the plays. (Semester, .50 credit) Offered 2020–2021.