Summer 2024 - ENGL 312 D100

Shakespeare and the Stage: 1570-1642 (4)

Class Number: 2715

Delivery Method: In Person


  • Course Times + Location:

    May 6 – Aug 2, 2024: Tue, Thu, 12:30–2:20 p.m.

  • Exam Times + Location:

    Aug 7, 2024
    Wed, 7:00–10:00 p.m.

  • Prerequisites:

    30 units or two 200-division English courses.



Study of the dramatic works of William Shakespeare and other early modern English authors. This course may be repeated for credit if a different topic is taught.


Shakespeare and the Social World

Over the course of the semester, we will study six of Shakespeare's most well known plays, engaging in a great deal of close reading but also considering the significance of history, both to contextualize our close reading and to attempt to understand the modern perspectives we bring to the texts. Though we may find much truth and beauty in Shakespeare, we won’t study his plays as a repository of “universal truths” untouched by his moment in history and our perspective in time. Rather, considering how Shakespeare’s plays engage in the historical practices, ideologies, and cultures of the Elizabethan period, we’ll explore questions surrounding topics such as marriage and other family relations; social status and class; constructions of gender; race; tyranny; kingship; war; and (of course) cross-dressing.  We will also, importantly, keep sight of the fact that these play-texts were written to be performed for an audience in a commercial theatre; thus we will be considering how the material conditions of playacting for a paying audience in early modern London might have influenced theatrical decisions. But, of course, Shakespeare’s theatrical audience did not die with the end of the English Renaissance, and his plays live and breathe in wonderful (and some not-so wonderful) modern performances, many of which are film productions. We will watch clips of individual scenes and discuss how performance decisions can alter, enhance, and entirely change our experience of the Shakespeare text.


  • To gain an understanding of the literary and socio-historical significance of the writing of William Shakespeare.
  • To learn to read early modern English texts carefully, critically, and skillfully.
  • To improve skills in critical writing about drama.
  • To improve academic essay-writing skills. 


  • attendance and active participation 10%
  • short paper #1 (5-6 pages; 1800-2200 words) 30%
  • short paper #2 (5-6 pages; 1800-2200 words) 30%
  • final exam 30%


NOTE ON ACADEMIC HONESTY: The improper use of materials found on the Internet and in print has become a frequent problem at colleges and universities. Plagiarism and other forms of academic dishonesty, such as cheating on tests, papers, or exams, will not be tolerated in this class. If I find that a student has cheated on a test or exam or improperly submitted material taken from an Internet or print source or generated by an AI tool, I will treat the case as one of academic dishonestly in accordance with the university policy on cheating. Ensure that you are familiar with the University’s policy on plagiarism and academic honesty, available at the following URL:

As well, please be aware that all use of ChatGPT, Grammarly, or any other AI tool for writing or editing your work is strictly prohibited in this course and will result in an F for the assignment. 

Late papers will be penalized by 5% per day, unless an extension has been granted in advance.

All assignments must be completed in order to pass the course.



Shakespeare, William. Othello. Folger Shakespeare Library Edition. Simon and Shuster, 2017 (ISBN: 9781501146299)
Shakespeare, William, A Midsummer Night's Dream. Folger Shakespeare Library Edition. Simon and Shuster, 2004 (ISBN: 9780743482813)
Shakespeare, William, The Tempest. Broadview Press 2021 (ISBN: 97815548154)
Shakespeare, William, Macbeth. Folger Shakespeare Library Edition. Simon and Shuster, 2003 (ISBN: 9780743477109)
Shakespeare, William, Twelfth Night. Broadview Press, 2014 (ISBN: 9781554810949)
Shakespeare, William, Henry IV Part One. Broadview Press, 2013 (ISBN: 9781554810512)




A Midsummer Night's Dream
Twelfth Night
Henry IV, Part One
The Tempest


Your personalized Course Material list, including digital and physical textbooks, are available through the SFU Bookstore website by simply entering your Computing ID at:

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 website 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.


Students with a faith background who may need accommodations during the term are encouraged to assess their needs as soon as possible and review the Multifaith religious accommodations website. The page outlines ways they begin working toward an accommodation and ensure solutions can be reached in a timely fashion.