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This subject introduces students to a variety of Renaissance dramatic genres (morality plays, travel plays, comedies of humours, history plays, domestic tragedies, satire, and tragedy), and in so doing, examines issues pertaining to the occult, religion, foreignness, politics and the early modern household. It focuses on plays by Shakespeare and his contemporaries not only in terms of aesthetics but of the commercial exigencies of the early modern theatrical marketplace. It develops an historically informed conception of the London stage by treating plays as marketable commodities and part of a repertory of offerings used to compete with other companies and attract playgoer patronage. Shakespeare is treated as an outstanding playwright but also as a shareholder in his own company, with a vested interest in its commercial success.
Intended learning outcomes
On successful completion of this subject, students should have:
- a familiarity with the way that competitive commercial impulses affected the production of drama in the Elizabethan and Jacobean periods;
- developed a close understanding of a variety of Shakespearean and non-Shakespearean plays;
- the ability to apply various reading strategies as required by specific texts and contexts;
- gained some understanding of significant developments in Shakespearean criticism over the past four centuries; and
- a better appreciation of the critical processes which have led to the canonisation of Shakespeare’s work.
At the completion of this subject, student should gain the following generic skills:
- the ability to communicate knowledge in oral, written and creative forms;
- the ability to manage their time through productive use of time and responding to deadlines;
- the ability to think and work creatively and apply imagination in responding to tasks; and
- the ability to think critically and analyse through recommended reading, performance analysis and discussion.
Last updated: 3 November 2022