English 542: Shakespeare’s Dramatic Art

Prof. Charles Ross

Fall 2007 MW 4:30-5:45

HEAV 101


Texts (available at Von’s or On-Line):

Barton, John. Playing Shakespeare: An Actor’s Guide. New York: Anchor Books, 1984.

Jordan, Constance, and Karen Cunningham. Shakespeare and the Law. Routledge, 2007.

Hart, H. L. A. “Positivism and the Separation of Law and Morals.” 71 Harvard Law Review 593 (1958).

Holmes, Oliver Windell, Jr. “The Path of the Law,” 10 Harvard Law Review 457 (1897).

Hutson, Lorna, “Forensic Aspects of Renaissance Mimesis.” Representations 94 (Spring 2006): 80-109.

Shakespeare’s plays: any good edition.


The goals of this course are:

1) To read and understand a variety of Shakespeare’s plays.

2) To develop facility speaking Shakespearean verse

3) To think about how Shakespeare’s plays dramatize the relationship between law and morality.



August 20: Action Statement: Juliet

August 22: Taming of the Shrew


August 27:

August 29:


September 5: Cymbeline

September 7:


September 10:

September 12:


September 17: Macbeth

September 19: (Visitors)


September 24:

September 26: Love’s Labor’s Lost


October 1:

October 3:


October 10: I Henry IV

October 15: [Prof. Ross away]

October 17: [Prof. Ross away]


* [trip to Chicago, Saturday October 20]


October 22: Measure for Measure

October 24:


October 29:

October 31: As You Like It


November 5:

November 7:


November 12: Othello

November 14


November 19:


November 26: Romeo and Juliet

November 28:


December 3:

December 5:


1. Classroom participation.

2. A 3-minute video project in which you recite, with feeling, at least 25 lines of verse.

3. A 3-5 page paper analyzing the action of a scene. Due September 17.

4. A 3-5 page paper comparing a scene with a movie version. Due October 22.

5. A 10-20 page term paper.

6. A final exam, with identifications and essay.

How you use the concepts of law and morality in these papers, or what if anything Shakespeare means by standards of right and wrong, is up to you.


Study Hints:

·        Read the assigned plays.

·        Read and outline each play: for each scene, list the characters, summarize what is happening, then write a one-sentence “action statement” that states in the main clause of the sentence the most important action that one character takes in that scene. This exercise is for your benefit to help you realize the structure of the plays.

·        Bring your text to class and take notes.


In the event of a major campus emergency, course requirements and deadlines are subject to change.


Possible legal or moral topics:



corruption of the blood



sumptuary laws

attempted murder


sword control


ecclesiastical law







land tenures


pater familias


EEBO: Parliament prorogation



Charles Ross



HEAV 304 M 3:00-4:15; T 11:00-12:30, or by appointment.

Home phone: 567-4958; cell 427-7960

Syllabus and attachments:          http://web.ics.purdue.edu/~rosscs/courses/master%20list%20of%20courses.htm