Have a Question? Contact the Humanities Office or an Academic Unit

ENGLISH 2CR3 Shakespeare: Comedy, Play, Ro

Academic Year: Fall 2017

Term: Fall

Day/Evening: D

Instructor: Dr. Cathy Grisé

Email: grisec@mcmaster.ca

Office: Chester New Hall 325

Phone: 905-525-9140 x 23510


Office Hours: Tues. 1:30-3:30 pm, or by appointment, CNH/325

Course Objectives:

Course Description:

This course studies a selection of Shakespeare’s comedies, problem plays, and romances as representatives of early modern dramatic forms and genres. We will examine the plays both as literature and performance, considering a number of issues of contemporary and modern concern: e.g., genre and dramatic/literary devices, gender, sexuality, race and culture, reward and punishment, and social order and disorder.

Learning Outcomes:

By the end of this course students will be able to:

  1. A. Identify and analyze the generic forms and conventions of Shakespearean comedy and romance (content provided by instructor in lectures, explained further by TAs in tutorials, and used by students in tests, exams, and essays)
  2. B. Interpret pertinent themes and topics in the plays studied, including some relevant social and critical issues of Shakespeare’s time (content provided by instructor in lectures, explained further by TAs in tutorials, and used by students in tests, exams, and essays)
  3. C. Produce a close reading and scene analysis with the techniques learned for studying early modern drama (tools and techniques introduced by instructor and TAs in lectures and tutorials, and practiced by students in close reading project, essay, and exam)
  4. D. Create thoughtful and informed answers to verbal and written questions related to course content (practiced in lectures and tutorials and demonstrated in quizzes, tests, and exam)
  5. E. Write effective essays synthesizing and evaluating Shakespeare’s comedies and romances (demonstrated in essay and essay component of exam)

Textbooks, Materials & Fees:

A Midsummer Night's Dream
by William Shakespeare, Publisher: Simon & Schuster
ISBN: 9780743477543, Status: Required

As You Like It
by William Shakespeare, Publisher: Simon & Schuster
ISBN: 9780743484862, Status: Required

Measure for Measure
by William Shakespeare, Publisher: Simon & Schuster
ISBN: 9780743484909, Status: Required

The Tempest
by William Shakespeare, Publisher: Simon & Schuster
ISBN: 9780743482837, Status: Required

Additional short readings and PowerPoint lectures will be supplied on Avenue.

Method of Assessment:

Course Expectations

Students are expected to attend two lectures and their assigned tutorial every week. As well, students will read carefully the 4 assigned plays and some additional readings available on Avenue. Students are expected to keep up-to-date with lectures and tutorials, read assigned materials on Avenue, complete all the readings on time, and submit assignments for the deadlines. This weekly work was carefully designed by your instructor to maximize your learning and to prepare you to succeed on your final assignments and exam. The method of assessment reflects this variety of tasks and responsibilities.

A. Reading Quizzes: weekly, best 10/12 quizzes counted: 10 %

Submitted through Avenue, due every Tuesday 9 am.

  • Associated Learning Outcomes: A, B, and D

B. Play Review Tests: 5% each, best 3 / 4 grades; total: 15%

Deadlines: AMND, Sept. 28; AYLI, Oct. 26; MM, Nov. 16; TT, Nov. 29.

  • Associated Learning Outcomes: A, B, and D

C. Lecture Attendance and Participation: twice weekly, 5%

Measured by attendance sheets every lecture and in-lecture written submissions (from discussions and group work) every week

  • Associated Learning Outcomes: A, B, C, and D

D. Tutorials: weekly performance: 10%, assignments: 5%; total: 15%

Measured weekly by in-class attendance and participation in tutorial activities, such as discussion contributions, submission of tutorial discussion paragraphs, and short writing assignments (including thesis statement exercise, due week of Nov. 6-10). Tutorial assignments will be determined by your TA.

  • Associated Learning Outcomes: A, B, C, and D

E. Close reading project: 15%

Deadlines, due in tutorial: Part 1, 250 words, week of Sept. 25; Part 2, 250 words, week of Oct. 23-27; Part 3, 250 words, week of Nov. 13-17. Final submission due in tutorial week of Dec. 4-5 for exam study purposes. Students who attend 9 or more tutorials will be given access to the exam study submissions of their tutorial.

The work on this assignment will take place in lectures and tutorials (as well as at home), and it will be used as the basis of an essay question on the final exam.

  • Associated Learning Outcomes: C, D, and E

E. Essay: 15%

Deadline, in tutorial, week of Nov. 20-24, 1500 words. Please submit a hard copy to your TA and an electronic copy on Avenue Drop Box. Topics will be made available at the beginning of November.

  • Associated Learning Outcomes: A, B, C, and E

F. Final Exam, in December exam period: 25%

  • Associated Learning Outcomes: A-E

Policy on Missed Work, Extensions, and Late Penalties:

Late penalties for major assignments are 5% per business day; late assignments will be accepted up to one week after the deadline, after which special consideration must be sought from the TA and instructor. An extension may be requested from your TA if you ask in advance of the deadline (at least 24 hours before); it may be granted at the TA’s discretion. Students who have other commitments that may interfere with their meeting deadlines for time-sensitive assignments (such as quizzes or tests) may contact the instructor to discuss possible alternate arrangements.

Students with SAS accommodations are expected to meet in person with the instructor before Sept. 25 to discuss their learning needs and the barriers to accessibility they may face in the course. If you have missed more than 3 classes in a row please contact your TA and/or instructor right away to see what we can do to help.

There is a distinct possibility that missed tutorial work may not be made up. If you have missed tutorial assignments and in-tutorial work you are responsible for contacting your TA to see if there are any opportunities to make up some of the marks lost.

MSAF information: Missed assignments cannot be re-weighted. Students who submit an MSAF to the instructor are required to follow up with the instructor and TA to discuss a new deadline, usually one week after the first deadline for a major assignment. Please bear in mind that your instructor receives many MSAFs all at once and will respond to your individual request as soon as she is able.

Please Note the Following Policies and Statements:

Academic Dishonesty

You are expected to exhibit honesty and use ethical behaviour in all aspects of the learning process. Academic credentials you earn are rooted in principles of honesty and academic integrity.

Academic dishonesty is to knowingly act or fail to act in a way that results or could result in unearned academic credit or advantage. This behaviour can result in serious consequences, e.g. the grade of zero on an assignment, loss of credit with a notation on the transcript (notation reads: "Grade of F assigned for academic dishonesty"), and/or suspension or expulsion from the university.

It is your responsibility to understand what constitutes academic dishonesty. For information on the various types of academic dishonesty please refer to the Academic Integrity Policy, located at www.mcmaster.ca/academicintegrity

The following illustrates only three forms of academic dishonesty:

  1. Plagiarism, e.g. the submission of work that is not one’s own or for which other credit has been obtained.
  2. Improper collaboration in group work.
  3. Copying or using unauthorized aids in tests and examinations.

Email correspondence policy

It is the policy of the Faculty of Humanities that all email communication sent from students to instructors (including TAs), and from students to staff, must originate from each student’s own McMaster University email account. This policy protects confidentiality and confirms the identity of the student.  Instructors will delete emails that do not originate from a McMaster email account.

Modification of course outlines

The University reserves the right to change dates and/or deadlines etc. for any or all courses in the case of an emergency situation or labour disruption or civil unrest/disobedience, etc. If a modification becomes necessary, reasonable notice and communication with the students will be given with an explanation and the opportunity to comment on changes. Any significant changes should be made in consultation with the Department Chair.

McMaster Student Absence Form (MSAF)

In the event of an absence for medical or other reasons, students should review and follow the Academic Regulation in the Undergraduate Calendar Requests for Relief for Missed Academic Term Work. Please note these regulations have changed beginning Fall 2015. You can find information at mcmaster.ca/msaf/. If you have any questions about the MSAF, please contact your Associate Dean's office.

Academic Accommodation of Students with Disabilities

Students who require academic accommodation must contact Student Accessibility Services (SAS) to make arrangements with a Program Coordinator. Academic accommodations must be arranged for each term of study. Student Accessibility Services can be contacted by phone 905-525-9140 ext. 28652 or e-mail sas@mcmaster.ca. For further information, consult McMaster University's Policy for Academic Accommodation of Students with Disabilities.

Academic Accommodation for Religious, Indigenous and Spiritual Observances

Students requiring academic accommodation based on religion and spiritual observances should follow the procedures set out in the Course Calendar or by their respective Faculty. In most cases, the student should contact his or her professor or academic advisor as soon as possible to arrange accommodations for classes, assignments, tests and examinations that might be affected by a religious holiday or spiritual observance.

Topics and Readings:

Weekly Reading Schedule, Fall 2017


  1. Sept. 5-8: Introduction to the course: Shakespeare and Comedy

  • Readings: available on Avenue-Content- Week of Sept. 5-8

  • Tuesday: Shakespearean Comedies: Genre and Conventions

  • Wednesday: The Stage in Shakespeare’s Time

  • No tutorials this week


 2.  Sept. 11-15: A Midsummer Night’s Dream, Acts I-III: Romantic Comedy

  • Tutorials and TA office hours begin this week

  • Avenue Quiz due Tue. @ 9 am

  • Lecture Tuesday: Love and Romance in AMND and Shakespeare’s Time

  • Lecture Wednesday: Magic and the Faery World in AMND

  • Tutorial: Introduction to tutorials, beginning of AMND discussions: Tutorial discussion paragraph due at the start of class (details for tutorial discussions and assignments will be supplied by your TA and sometimes on Avenue – please keep up to date on both of these sources of information)

3. Sept. 18-22: A Midsummer Night’s Dream, IV-V

  • Avenue Quiz due Tue. @ 9 am

  • Lecture Tuesday: Vision, Illusion, and Imagination in AMND

  • Lecture Wednesday: The Play-Within-the-Play and Order Restored in AMND

  • Tutorial: Close reading project assigned, AMND discussions continued: Tutorial discussion paragraph due at the start of class


4. Sept. 25-29: A Midsummer Night’s Dream 3.2.440-92, close reading project

  • Avenue Quiz due Tue. @ 9 am

  • Lecture Tuesday: Sounds and Sense – Verse forms; alliteration, rhyme, and everything in between

  • Lecture Wednesday: Scansion and Metre Part 1 – feet, lines, and how-to

  • Tutorial: Close Reading Project Part 1 due and workshopped in class

  • Sept. 28: Play review test on Avenue


5. Oct. 2-6: As You Like It, I-III: Festive Comedy

  • Avenue Quiz due Tue. @ 9 am

  • Lecture Tuesday: Plots and Subplots: Conflict and Exile

  • Lecture Wednesday: Setting in AYLI: The Pastoral and the Court

  • Tutorial: AYLI discussions begin: Tutorial discussion paragraph due at the start of class


Reading Week: Oct. 9-15


6. Oct. 16-20: As You Like It, IV-V

  • Avenue Quiz due Tue. @ 9 am
  • Lecture Tuesday: Identity, Gender, and Crossdressing
  • Lecture Wednesday: Language and Wordplay
  • Tutorial: AYLI discussions continued: Tutorial discussion paragraph due at the start of class


7. Oct. 23-27: As You Like It 5.4.112-55, close reading project

  • Avenue Quiz due Tue. @ 9 am
  • Lecture Tuesday: Rhythm and Metre Part 2: regular vs. irregular, making sense of the meaning behind the sounds
  • Lecture Wednesday: Repetition and Rhetorical Figures: emphasis and effects

  • Tutorial: Close Reading Project Part 2 due and workshopped in class

    Oct. 26: Play review test on Avenue

  • 8. Oct. 30-Nov. 3: Measure for Measure, I-III: Problem Play

  • Avenue Quiz due Tue. @ 9 am

  • Tuesday: Problem Plays and the Setting of MFM

  • Wednesday: Bed Tricks and Head Tricks

  • Tutorial: MFM discussions begin: Tutorial discussion paragraph due at the start of class


9. Nov. 6-10: Measure for Measure, IV-V

  • Avenue Quiz due Tue. @ 9 am
  • Tuesday: Conversions and Confessions
  • Wednesday: Resolution and Closure in a Problem Play
  • Tutorial: Thesis exercise workshopped in class, MFM discussions continued
  • Thesis exercise assignment due in tutorial. See your TA for further details.


10. Nov. 13-17: Measure for Measure 3.1.58-170, close reading project

  • Avenue Quiz due Tue. @ 9 am
  • Tuesday: Repetition and Rhetorical Figures Part 2: manipulating emotions and people, exploring double and triple meanings
  • Wednesday: Figurative Language and Poetic Devices: putting it together
  • Tutorial: Close Reading Project work, Part 3, due and workshopped in class
  • Nov. 16: Play review test on Avenue


11. Nov. 20-24: The Tempest, I-III: Romance

  • Avenue Quiz due Tue. @ 9 am
  • Tuesday: Romance and the Supernatural
  • Wednesday: Plotting and Subplots
  • Tutorial: TT discussions begin: Tutorial discussion paragraph due at the start of class
  • Essay due- hard copy in tutorial, electronic copy on Avenue


12. Nov. 27-Dec. 1: The Tempest, IV-V

  • Avenue Quiz due Tue. @ 9 am
  • Tuesday: Masques and Spectacles
  • Wednesday: The Magician Retires
  • Tutorial: TT discussions continued: Tutorial discussion paragraph due at the start of class
  • Nov. 29: Play review test on Avenue


13. Dec. 4-6: Close Reading Project and Exam Review

  • Avenue Quiz due Tue. @ 9 am
  • Tuesday: Close Reading Conclusions and Review
  • Wednesday: Conclusions and Exam Review
  • Tutorial: Summary and Review
  • Close Reading Project final draft due in tutorial


14. Date TBA: December Exam in the exam period