Welcome to Shakespeare for 2012-2013 academic year. The semester course will focus on Shakespeare's growth as a playwright. We will compare comedies and tragedies, discuss the nature of each genre, and talk about Shakespeare's life and times. There will be a class discussion of each play, act by act, and students are stronly urged to participate not only by making observations or asking questions, but also by volunteering to read lines aloud.
Your grade will be based on surprise reading quizzes, two in class essay exams, and points added for class participation if you deserve them. Reading quizzes will be worth 25 points and essays will be worth 100 points. The essays will take up the entire period and test your ability to absorb what is said in class and write a clear and concise respose to a thematic question about the play under study. You will have the opportunity to rewrite your essay after I return it with my comments. I will go over my comments in class, and should you decide to do a rewrite, I am available at 7:15 AM in the classroom for additional guidance. You may take your essay to the writng center if you cannot see me, but you cannot rewrite it on your own. An essay submitted for a higher grade cannot exceed 92.
Nothing can be done about surprise quizzes. Faling them leaves a severe wound, so do the reading. We will begin the year by discussing Shakespeare's life and what makes him stand above every other writer. You will be expected to read the first two acts of "A Midsummer Night's Dream," the first play we will discuss in class, by next Thursday. Obtain a copy of the play and read ahead; the edition does not matter, though most students seem to use the No Fear series to advantage. Other editions of the play are available in the school library(but not the bookstore). Get hold of them ahead of time and keep up with the reading. You will lose points if you do not have a copy of the play under study in class while it is being discussed. I also reserve the right to take points away for chronic lateness, so be prepared and be on time. I will also enforce the ban on cellphones in the classroom.
If you are absent you are responsible for checking the course notes for reading assignments or announced essay exam dates. You are also obligated to check the website for additional notes I might add after reflecting on the daily discussion. After discussing a Midsummer Night's Dream we will read 12th Night, followed by The Merchant of Venice and King Lear.
I am certain that this will be an enjoyable semester and encourage you to anticipate it with the same confidence. If you have any questions before Friday, please email me
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