Shakespeare I


English 130 introduces students to Shakespeare’s early plays and some of his poetry. This class features discussions about literary themes and techniques, as well as historical information about Shakespeare and his times. Students who pass English 130 will evince some understanding of the themes and historical events that captured the Bard’s attention. Students who excel will be able to contextualize such materials—esthetically and historically—and offer original insight into their particulars.

It is my hope that EN 130 will help you become an appreciative reader of Shakespeare and a better writer. The only way to achieve this is to require as many reading and writing assignments as time will allow. I hope that you find this work to be interesting, if not downright exciting. However, should you find what we do to be utterly dull, pretend that it is the most thrilling thing since Carli Lloyd got her first soccer ball. Ask questions during class. Know that we will change our pace at my discretion. Come to office hours.


Students who successfully complete this course will be able to:

  1. Discuss the themes of texts listed on the course schedule.
  2. Discuss the cultural and critical common denominators of what we read.
  3. Write blog entries that provide close readings of a text—that is, readings that offer an awareness of

the text’s themes, and how those themes relate to the cultural and critical contexts discussed in class.

  1. Demonstrate a competent understanding of the materials on the course schedule through work done

during timed examinations.


There will be a midterm and a final, quizzes and class participation assessments, and two essays. Exams will assess your ability to offer critical and objective information about the materials we read. Quizzes, when given, will come at the beginning of a class, and will provide an objective indication of your daily preparedness. We will discuss your writing assignments at greater length over the course of the semester. The numbers break down like this:

Exams:                                                  45% of quarterly grade

Essays:                                                 40% of quarterly grade

Quizzes/Blog entries:                          15% of quarterly grade

Each quarter’s grade will be worth 40% of your final grade; a final exam will constitute the final 20%. Your score for each quarter will be measured by dividing the number of points you’ve earned by the number possible to that point in the semester.


Each student will be issued a copy of The Riverside Shakespeare or The Norton Shakespeare. This text, or its electronic equivalent, must be brought to class daily, along with a notebook and pen.

Barring exceptional circumstances, students who have excused absences must make up missed assignments within a week of the original due date.

Students must complete all major assignments to pass the course.



8              Course introduction

10           Sonnets 3, 18, 20

13           Sonnets 73, 94, 116

15           Sonnets 124,127, 130

17           Sonnets 138, 142, 152

18           Parents’ Day

20           Writing workshop

22           Writing workshop

24           Essay 1 due

27           Richard III

29           Richard III

31           Richard III; Extended Weekend


5              Richard III

7              The Taming of the Shrew

10           The Taming of the Shrew

12           The Taming of the Shrew

14           The Taming of the Shrew

17           College View

19           The Taming of the Shrew; Review

21           Test 1

24           A Midsummer Night’s Dream

26           A Midsummer Night’s Dream

28           A Midsummer Night’s Dream


1              A Midsummer Night’s Dream

3              In-class essay

5              The Merchant of Venice; Extended Weekend

10           PSAT

11           End of Q1

12           The Merchant of Venice

15           The Merchant of Venice

17           The Merchant of Venice

19           Much Ado about Nothing

22           Much Ado about Nothing

24           Much Ado about Nothing

26           Much Ado about Nothing

29           Test 2

31           Henry IV, Part 1


2              Henry IV, Part 1; Fall Preview Day

5              Henry IV, Part 1

7              Henry IV, Part 1

9              Henry IV, Part 2

12           Henry IV, Part 2

14           Henry IV, Part 2

16           Henry IV, Part 2; Extended Schedule

19-23     Thanksgiving Break

26           Henry V

28           Henry V

30           Henry V


3              Henry V

5              Henry V

7              Henry V (film)

10           Henry V (film)

12           Review

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