"City and Civility in Shakespeare"

City and Civility in Shakespeare

Course Description:

Is the fulfillment of human destiny to be found in a well-governed civic community or does this destiny somehow transcend the limits of even the best possible polity? Shakespeare's "Roman" tragedies -- as well as his more fanciful, sylvan comedies -- are guided by a remarkably consistent and characteristically penetrating pursuit of this inquiry. In this class we shall enter the richly imagined and rigorously articulated world of Shakespeare in order to understand better the bearing of civic life on the pursuit of human happiness.

Requirements, Expectations and Grading:

This class will be conducted as a seminar. You must attend every class prepared to learn. A lack of preparation will adversely affect your prospects for learning and, perforce, your final grade. You will be required 1) to write brief, daily essays on the passages required for class discussion (these will account for no less than 40% of your final grade), 2) to discuss your own and your classmates' essays as they shed light on the required reading (accounting for no less than 40% of that your final grade), and -- where appropriate -- 3) to complete a comprehensive final examination, where appropriate (which will account for no more than 20% of your final grade).

You should expect to spend at least 6 hours each and every week studying for this class, in addition to your regular attendance. (If you carry a load of fifteen credit hours, and follow this rule of thumb in all your classes, you will still be investing less time developing your own "human capital" than you will spend enlarging your employer's capital after you have graduated! I think you are worth it.)

Class Schedule:


Assigned Reading

Week  1

Introductions; D. Sayers, “The Lost Tools of Learning,”

Weeks 2 -3


Weeks 4-5

Julius Caesar

Weeks 6-7

Antony and Cleopatra

Weeks 8-9

1 Henry IV

Weeks 10-11

As You Like It

Weeks 12-13

The Tempest

Weeks 14-15

The Merchant of Venice

Department of Political Science

Marquette University
Wehr Physics Building, Room 468
PO Box 1881
Milwaukee, WI 53201-1881
(414) 288-6842 (phone)
Visit the contact page for more information