English 416 Shakespeare:
Machiavellian Politics and the Ethics of History
Dr. Michael Bryson
Sierra Tower 832
This course will explore
Shakespeare's history plays.
Shakespeare’s time the threat of political chaos was often personified in
the figure of the stage-Machiavel. This kind of figure is portrayed as being
capable of any and all nefarious schemes and duplicitous actions.
Elizabethans held a notion of the Machiavel as a soulless creature dedicated
to endless manipulation, betrayal, and violence as means to power and
advantage (not, of course, that such tactics were wholly unfamiliar in
England). The question Shakespeare's history plays ask, is how different are the
tactics (both onstage and in the realm of “real life”) of the Machiavel from
those of the King?
essay, final essay.
the range of 5-6 pages, this will be comprised of responses to essay questions, and will require you to present an analysis of characters from the
blocks of plays we will have read to that point. These essays will not require
secondary sources, but will require you to read the plays closely, and
evidence from the plays (using
to back up your arguments. The midterm will be assigned 6/13 and
be due in class 6/20.
as with the midterm, this will be in
the range of 5-6 pages,
will be comprised of
responses to essay questions, and will require you to present an analysis of
characters from the blocks of plays we will have read to that point.
should follow MLA format.
The final quiz/essay will be due by
Thursday, July 13th. Finals must be submitted via email by 11:59:59 PM. No exceptions.
Complete Pelican Shakespeare
5/30) Introductions: Machiavelli—The Prince
6/1) King John
6/6) Richard II
6/8) Henry IV, part 1
Henry IV, part 2
6/20) Henry VI, part 1
6/22) Henry VI, part 2
6/27) Henry VI, part 3
7/6) Henry VIII