Spring 2019 - ENGL 313 D100

Late Shakespeare (4)

Class Number: 1666

Delivery Method: In Person


  • Course Times + Location:

    Mo 10:30 AM – 12:20 PM
    WMC 3210, Burnaby

  • Exam Times + Location:

    Apr 12, 2019
    12:00 PM – 3:00 PM
    AQ 3181, Burnaby

  • Prerequisites:

    Two 100 division English courses, and two 200 division English courses.



A study of the works of Shakespeare performed after 1600. Students may take both ENGL 311 and 313 for credit towards the English major. Students with credit for ENGL 312 may not take this course for further credit without permission of the department.


"Shakespearean Decisions"

This course will treat four great Shakespearean tragedies: Hamlet, Othello, Macbeth and King Lear. We will examine carefully the decisions made by central characters and protagonists, by way of the notion of “hot cognition”, an umbrella term used to encompass emotion, affect and motivation, especially as these impact decision making.

We will begin by reading a few pages of Aristotle, whose emphasis on error is key to understanding tragic decisions. Then we will move on to cover the plays. We will start with Othello, then read Hamlet and Macbeth, and lastly King Lear. We will pay careful attention to how rhetoric and persuasion function in these plays, looking not only at how characters persuade and manipulate each other, but also how they “work” on themselves -- via, for example, the stories they tell (what Freud calls object relations) -- to persuade themselves of something or to make a course of action more appealing, especially at crucial moments of decision making. What emerges is a playwright fascinated by the faults, flaws and foibles of the mind under strain.



Regular attendance (this includes enthusiastic participation) (10%)

First essay 5-7 pages due around mid-term (40%)

Second essay 5-7 pages due at end of term (40%)

Short collaborative mini-play performance (10%)



All photocopies (from Aristotle, for example) will be supplied by me, at cost. This should not be more than a dollar or two per person.


The Norton Shakespeare (Tragedies), ed. S. Greenblatt, et al. W. W. Norton and co., third edition, 2015.
ISBN: 978-0393938609

Department Undergraduate Notes:

IMPORTANT NOTE Re 300 and 400 level courses: 75% of spaces in 300 level English courses, and 100% of spaces in 400 level English courses, are reserved for declared English Major, Minor, Extended Minor, Joint Major, and Honours students only, until open enrollment begins.

For all On-Campus Courses, please note the following:
- To receive credit for the course, students must complete all requirements.
- Tutorials/Seminars WILL be held the first week of classes.
- When choosing your schedule, remember to check "Show lab/tutorial sections" to see all Lecture/Seminar/Tutorial times required.

Registrar Notes:

SFU’s Academic Integrity web site http://www.sfu.ca/students/academicintegrity.html is filled with information on what is meant by academic dishonesty, where you can find resources to help with your studies and the consequences of cheating.  Check out the site for more information and videos that help explain the issues in plain English.

Each student is responsible for his or her conduct as it affects the University community.  Academic dishonesty, in whatever form, is ultimately destructive of the values of the University. Furthermore, it is unfair and discouraging to the majority of students who pursue their studies honestly. Scholarly integrity is required of all members of the University. http://www.sfu.ca/policies/gazette/student/s10-01.html