English 145B
Shakespeare's Early Plays



Professor Yen 
(916)  278-6176

Calaveras 160


Texts: Folger editions

The Taming of the Shrew, A Midsummer Night's Dream, The Merchant of Venice, Twelfth Night, Henry IV Part One, Julius Caesar

Course Description

In this course, we will read six of Shakespeare's early plays, studying his works through careful consideration of characters and themes. We will discuss how male, female, comic, and heroic characters are portrayed; and how the characters illuminate significant themes explored in the plays-- themes such as honor, revenge, love, jealousy, justice, mercy, power, and ambition.

You will be asked to read the plays carefully, perform scenes from the plays, and analyze the texts and some film clips that we will use to supplement our readings. I also expect you to come to class prepared to contribute your responses to the reading questions for each play that are available on the SacCT course home page. And finally, you are also encouraged to come to class with your own questions to help jumpstart each day's discussions.

Course Goals

By the end of the semester, you should be able to:
•  enjoy Shakespeare's early plays, both on the stage as well as on the page
•  develop your own interpretations of Shakespeare's early plays through literary analysis
•  articulate your understanding of the plays and their relevance to our contemporary lives
•  continue to explore other Shakespeare plays on your own-- with confidence and pleasure.


Faculty Home Page

English Department
California State University, Sacramento