Free Course: A Survey of Shakespeare’s Plays

This is a course on Shakespeare’s career, given at Brandeis University in the spring of 2010, by William Flesch.  It covers several representative plays from all four genres: comedy, tragedy, history, and romance. We consider both the similarities and differences among those genres, and how his more and more radical experimentations in genre reflect his developing thought, about theater, about time, about life, over the course of his career. In terms of texts, any complete Shakespeare will suffice, including this free version online from MIT. The Norton Shakespeare, edited by Stephen Greenblatt, is also recommended.

1. Introduction on Shakespeare’s thinking about time, especially in Sonnet 73, and then Richard II: Audio

2. Richard II, part 2: Audio

3. Richard II, part 3: Audio

4. Richard II, concluded; Midsummer Night’s Dream: Audio

5. Midsummer Night’s Dream concluded: Audio

6. Merchant of Venice: Audio

7. Hamlet, part 1: The idea of revenge: Audio

8. Hamlet, part 2: Introspection vs. drama: Audio

9. Hamlet, concluded: The circumstances of revenge and moral luck: Audio

10.  King Lear, part 1: Audio

11. King Lear, part 2: Audio

12. King Lear, concluded: Audio

13. Macbeth, part 1: Audio

14. Macbeth, concluded: Audio

15.  Antony and Cleopatra, part 1: Audio

16.  Antony and Cleopatra, part 2:  Audio

17.  Antony and Cleopatra, part 3: Antony: Audio

18.  Antony and Cleopatra, concluded: Audio

19: The Winter’s Tale, part 1: Things Dying: Audio

20.  The Winter’s Tale,  and the course, concluded: Things New Born Audio

Support Open Culture

We’re hoping to rely on our loyal readers rather than erratic ads. To support Open Culture’s educational mission, please consider making a donation. We accept PayPal, Venmo (@openculture), Patreon and Crypto! Please find all options here. We thank you!

Open Culture was founded by Dan Colman.