L220: Introduction to Shakespeare ♥♥ Shakespeare in love ♥♥

Spring 2018 ♥ MW 3-4.15 ♥ LA 136

Our course is aimed at the novice, the student who has little or no experience with Shakespeare on the page, in the theater, or at the cinema.  We will engage in intensive study of six plays and the sonnets. Each concerns itself with the class theme, love. Some possibilities: The Taming of the Shrew, A Midsummer Night’s Dream, Much Ado about Nothing, As You Like It, Twelfth Night, Macbeth, Othello, Antony and Cleopatra, All's Well That Ends Well. We will certainly watch a film production of each dramatic text we study and seek to improve our analytical and argumentative writing skills in the process. 

Syllabus ♥♥

Twelfth Night

General Information and Course Book ♥♥

English L220: Introduction to Shakespeare

Spring 2018  MW 3-4.15  LA 136

Office:  LA 105  Hours: please contact me

email: stapletm@ipfw.edu   phone: 481.6841 (message)

webpage: www.elmlsteach.org


Greenblatt et al., eds., The Norton Shakespeare: Essential Plays. The Sonnets (vol. 3E)

Please note: this is the edition I'll be using, and some of the assigned reading for presentations is from this text. If you choose not to buy it, you are still responsible for the material. Perhaps a friendly classmate will help you out.  But you can't be lackadaisical here.

Electronic Devices:

Yes, please. Feel free. I only ask that you use their magic powers for Good.

8 January ♥♥

Introductions; fear and trembling; the Sonnets

10 January ♥♥


Dr. S: Intro, Walter Cohen (1789)

17 January ♥♥


Lizzie:  sonnet 55

Kate: sonnet 73

22 January ♥♥


Kristen : find some love in the play or elsewhere

Joseph: find some love in the play or elsewhere

24 January ♥♥

more Sonnets; The Taming of the Shrew

Maus, Shakespearean Comedy (121)

D'Jara and Abby will help us with this intro

Vivien Leigh as Cleopatra

29 January ♥♥

The Taming of the Shrew

Intro, Jean Howard (137)

Our helpers for this Intro will be Alex and Jacob

31 January ♥♥


Find some love in the play or elsewhere

Tyler and Todd will be helping us with this

5 February ♥♥


Katherine’s speech (5.2)

Madeline and Chris will be helping us with this

7 February ♥♥

Romeo and Juliet

Intro, Stephen Greenblatt (1035)

Christine and Lindsey: this is your mission

12 February ♥♥


Find some love in the play or elsewhere

Natalie and Megan: you're up

14 February ♥♥


Romeo’s speech, “In faith, I will” (5.3.74)

Taylor: it's you alone.  Our other presenter took a powder


19 February ♥♥

A Midsummer Night's Dream

Intro, Stephen Greenblatt  (209)

Zach and Fyodor:  this one's yours

21 February ♥♥


Find some love in the play or elsewhere

Sierra and Andrew

26 February ♥♥


Hippolyta and Theseus dialogue: "'Tis strange, my Theseus" (5.1.1-29)

Brittani and Devon: your turn

28 February ♥♥


What is ironic about the play by the "rude mechanicals" in Act 5?

Lizzie and Kate

12 March ♥♥

 As You Like It

Intro, Jean E. Howard (405)

Kristen and Joseph

14 March ♥♥


Find some love in the play or elsewhere

D'Jara and Abby

Helen Mirren as Rosalind

19 March ♥♥


Rosalind and Orlando dialogue, "Good day and happiness, dear Rosalind" (4.1.27-191)

Alex and Jacob

21 March ♥♥


Rosalind's final pairings at the end of the play--how do they comment on each other and the action overall concerning love?

Tyler and Todd

26 March ♥♥

Twelfth Night

Intro, Stephen Greenblatt (477)

Christine and Lindsey

28 March ♥♥


Find some love in the play or elsewhere

Taylor and Fyodor

2 April ♥♥


Viola's speech, "A blank, my lord" (2.5.107-115)

Natalie and Megan

4 April ♥♥


Chris: the weirdness of the final pairings in Act 5

Madeline: the problem of Malvolio

Titania and Bottom

9 April ♥♥


Intro, Walter Cohen (1285)

Zach and Sierra

11 April ♥♥


Find some love in the play or elsewhere

Andrew and Brittani 

16 April ♥♥


Desdemona and Emilia dialogue (4.3.15-100)


18 April ♥♥


"What you know, you know. From this time forth, I never will speak word."


23 April ♥♥

Venus and Adonis

(Internet ed., U of Victoria)


YouTube video, short

YouTube video, long

Kristen: Does Shakespeare humiliate his heroine?

25 April ♥♥

Venus and Adonis

Megan: Why is Adonis not more interested in the goddess of love?


Ellen Terry by Julia Margaret Cameron


You are allowed five (5) absences for any reason you choose. Students who miss more than this will fail the course, without exception, regardless of circumstances. I do not distinguish between “excused” and “unexcused” absences, nor am I responsible for material that you miss because you are absent. Students who miss the attendance call (the first five minutes of class) will be marked absent; students who get up and leave in the middle of class will be marked absent. Please take care of your rest room issues BEFORE class. If you must leave, give us the high sign. 


Your take-home exams are due on the scheduled non-class dates by 9 a.m. via email. Late papers = 0. No exceptions. These will be short, 4-6 pp.  Your first exam may be revised after meeting with the instructor in the office and discussing your plans.


It should go without saying that students are also expected to do their own work; indebtedness to secondary materials (either printed or electronic) must be clearly indicated so as to avoid plagiarism: 

—(piecemeal) using someone else’s words and phrases as if they were your own, not pararphrasing or summarizing properly, even with proper documentation;
—(grotesque) using someone else’s ideas as if they were your own, without proper documentation;
—(more grotesque) allowing someone else to write your paper for you.     



The course grade will be determined by a rough averaging together of your  take-home midterm, take-home final exam, and the less formal writing I will assign individually for presentational purposes. I reserve the right to take into additional factors into account; improvement, class participation, and, of course, attendance. Grades are not negotiable, personal, or subject to the influence of extracurricular academic factors. 


You may email me at any time. I will usually get back to you quickly: stapletm@ipfw.edu

I always acknowledge an email submission with a reply confirming receipt. If you DON'T hear from me after a reasonable period of time, it means I didn't get the paper. It is YOUR responsibility to follow up in this case, not mine.  


To get you involved and your voices heard, we'll try and run things like a seminar for part of every class period. At first, I'll be assigning our short presentation topics ahead of time, or you can volunteer. They will sharpen your mind and engage you in the material: expert introductions from our book;  “find the love”: a line, passage, or scene germane to our theme; important speech. Before you come to class, you'll write up a brief version of your presentation (one paragraph), including a picture that will help us visualize. And you'll email it to me. I will then post it on my teaching blog, which will be accessible for all to see while you're talking.  You may read notes, do a PowerPoint, or PERFORM. 

FIRST EXAM (Due 2 March)


1. (226)

 Let me not to the marriage of true minds
Admit impediments. Love is not love
Which alters when it alteration finds,
Or bends with the remover to remove:
O no; it is an ever-fixed mark,
That looks on tempests, and is never shaken;
It is the star to every wandering bark,
Whose worth's unknown, although his height be taken.
Love's not Time's fool, though rosy lips and cheeks
Within his bending sickle's compass come;
Love alters not with his brief hours and weeks,
But bears it out even to the edge of doom.
   If this be error and upon me proved,
   I never writ, nor no man ever loved. 


2. (82)

 A woman moved is like a fountain troubled,
Muddy, ill-seeming, thick, bereft of beauty;
And while it is so, none so dry or thirsty
Will deign to sip or touch one drop of it.
Thy husband is thy lord, thy life, thy keeper,
Thy head, thy sovereign; one that cares for thee,
And for thy maintenance commits his body
To painful labour both by sea and land,
To watch the night in storms, the day in cold,
Whilst thou liest warm at home, secure and safe;
And craves no other tribute at thy hands
But love, fair looks and true obedience;
Too little payment for so great a debt.
Such duty as the subject owes the prince
Even such a woman oweth to her husband;
And when she is froward, peevish, sullen, sour,
And not obedient to his honest will,
What is she but a foul contending rebel
And graceless traitor to her loving lord?
I am ashamed that women are so simple
To offer war where they should kneel for peace;
Or seek for rule, supremacy and sway,
When they are bound to serve, love and obey.
Why are our bodies soft and weak and smooth,
Unapt to toil and trouble in the world,
But that our soft conditions and our hearts
Should well agree with our external parts? 


3. (175)

Lovers can see to do their amorous rites
By their own beauties; or, if love be blind,
It best agrees with night. Come, civil night,
Thou sober-suited matron, all in black,
And learn me how to lose a winning match,
Play'd for a pair of stainless maidenhoods:
Hood my unmann'd blood, bating in my cheeks,
With thy black mantle; till strange love, grown bold,
Think true love acted simple modesty.
Come, night; come, Romeo; come, thou day in night;
For thou wilt lie upon the wings of night
Whiter than new snow on a raven's back.
Come, gentle night, come, loving, black-brow'd night,
Give me my Romeo; and, when he shall die,
Take him and cut him out in little stars,
And he will make the face of heaven so fine
That all the world will be in love with night
And pay no worship to the garish sun.
O, I have bought the mansion of a love,
But not possess'd it, and, though I am sold,
Not yet enjoy'd: so tedious is this day
As is the night before some festival
To an impatient child that hath new robes
And may not wear them.


4. (165)

 How happy some o'er other some can be!
Through Athens I am thought as fair as she.
But what of that? Demetrius thinks not so;
He will not know what all but he do know:
And as he errs, doting on Hermia's eyes,
So I, admiring of his qualities:
Things base and vile, holding no quantity,
Love can transpose to form and dignity:
Love looks not with the eyes, but with the mind;
And therefore is wing'd Cupid painted blind:
Nor hath Love's mind of any judgement taste;
Wings and no eyes figure unheedy haste:
And therefore is Love said to be a child,
Because in choice he is so oft beguiled.
As waggish boys in game themselves forswear,
So the boy Love is perjured every where:
For ere Demetrius look'd on Hermia's eyne,
He hail'd down oaths that he was only mine;
And when this hail some heat from Hermia felt,
So he dissolved, and showers of oaths did melt. 


Identify each quotation

Who said it? Where, and why? 

Explain, specifically, how it relates to the theme of our class, love

Which words or phrases make reference to the concept of love in the play or series it's from, and why does your evidence matter?  

Devote a solid paragraph-page to each quotation

Paragraphs should be focused on a single topic, with topic sentences, evidence, and analysis. They should not consist of a series of broad, unrelated statements.

Relate the quotations to one another

 This is where we see what you've got. Which words and phrases seem especially important in each quotation as they relate to the other quotations?  

Avoid summary or storytelling: analysis only, please

What each quotation says is fairly clear. So there's no need to rehash or summarize the Shakespeare. Assume we can all read it. Why does it matter? Why is it important? What insight can you bring to the material?

Check out the Writing page--Revision

Go up to the site menu and click on Writing. Pay special attention to the sections on analysis, lead-ins and quotations, and quoting poetry.

We cite Shakespeare in parentheses by (Play abbr. act.scene.line-numbers).  VA, Oth. TN, AYL

Your paper should be 4-6 pp., double-spaced.

Due date:  Friday, 2 March, 9 a.m., by email

You are allowed to revise your first exam, provided that you meet with me in the office to discuss it first. You are welcome to turn it in any time before the due date for your second exam expires: 9.a.m. on 30 April



1. Venus and Adonis

A.  Adonis:

If love have lent you twenty thousand tongues,
And every tongue more moving than your own,
Bewitching like the wanton mermaid's songs,
Yet from mine ear the tempting tune is blown    800
For know, my heart stands armed in mine ear,
And will not let a false sound enter there;

Lest the deceiving harmony should run
Into the quiet closure of my breast;
And then my little heart were quite undone, 805
In his bedchamber to be barr'd of rest.
No, lady, no; my heart longs not to groan,
But soundly sleeps, while now it sleeps alone.

What have you urged that I cannot reprove?
The path is smooth that leadeth on to danger: 810
I hate not love, but your device in love,
That lends embracements unto every stranger.
You do it for increase: O strange excuse,
When reason is the bawd to lust's abuse!

Call it not love, for Love to heaven is fled, 815
Since sweating Lust on earth usurp'd his name;
Under whose simple semblance he hath fed
Upon fresh beauty, blotting it with blame;
Which the hot tyrant stains and soon bereaves,
As caterpillars do the tender leaves.  820

Love comforteth like sunshine after rain,
But Lust's effect is tempest after sun;
Love's gentle spring doth always fresh remain,
Lust's winter comes ere summer half be done;
Love surfeits not, Lust like a glutton dies;   825
Love is all truth, Lust full of forged lies.

B.  Venus:

Since thou art dead, lo, here I prophesy:
Sorrow on love hereafter shall attend:
It shall be waited on with jealousy,
Find sweet beginning, but unsavoury end,   1160
Ne'er settled equally, but high or low,
That all love's pleasure shall not match his woe.

It shall be fickle, false and full of fraud,
Bud and be blasted in a breathing-while;
The bottom poison, and the top o'erstraw'd   1165
With sweets that shall the truest sight beguile:
The strongest body shall it make most weak,
Strike the wise dumb and teach the fool to speak.

It shall be sparing and too full of riot,
Teaching decrepit age to tread the measures;   1170
The staring ruffian shall it keep in quiet,
Pluck down the rich, enrich the poor with treasures;
It shall be raging-mad and silly-mild,
Make the young old, the old become a child.

It shall suspect where is no cause of fear;   1175
It shall not fear where it should most mistrust;
It shall be merciful and too severe,
And most deceiving when it seems most just;
Perverse it shall be where it shows most toward,
Put fear to valour, courage to the coward.   1180

It shall be cause of war and dire events,
And set dissension 'twixt the son and sire;
Subject and servile to all discontents,
As dry combustious matter is to fire:
Sith in his prime Death doth my love destroy,   1185
They that love best their loves shall not enjoy.'


2. As You Like It (4.1.77-103)


R: Am not I your Rosalind?

O: I take some joy to say you are, because I would be

talking of her.

R: Well in her person I say I will not have you.

O: Then in mine own person I die.

R: No, faith, die by attorney. The poor world is almost six thousand years old, and in all this time there was not any man died in his own person, videlicit, in a love-cause. Troilus had his brains dashed out with a Grecian club; yet he did what he could to die before, and he is one of the patterns of love. Leander, he would have lived many a fair year, though Hero had turned nun, if it had not been for a hot midsummer night; for, good youth, he went but forth to wash him in the Hellespont and being taken with the cramp was drowned and the foolish chroniclers of that age found it was Hero of Sestos.  But these are all lies: men have died from time to time and worms have eaten them, but not for love.

O: I would not have my right Rosalind of this mind, for, I protest, her frown might kill me.

R: By this hand, it will not kill a fly. But come, now I will be your Rosalind in a more coming-on disposition, and ask me what you will. I will grant it.

O: Then love me, Rosalind.

R: Yes, faith, will I, Fridays and Saturdays and all.

O: And wilt thou have me?

R: Ay, and twenty such.


3. Twelfth Night (2.5.101-15)


 O:  What dost thou know?
V:  Too well what love women to men may owe:
In faith, they are as true of heart as we.
My father had a daughter loved a man,
As it might be, perhaps, were I a woman,
I should your lordship.
O:  And what's her history?
V:  A blank, my lord. She never told her love,
But let concealment, like a worm i' the bud,
Feed on her damask cheek: she pined in thought,
And with a green and yellow melancholy
She sat like patience on a monument,
Smiling at grief. Was not this love indeed?
We men may say more, swear more: but indeed
Our shows are more than will; for still we prove
Much in our vows, but little in our love.


4. Othello (4.3.75-100)


E: Why the wrong is but a wrong i' the world: and having the world for your labour, tis a wrong in your own world, and you might quickly make it right.

D: I do not think there is any such woman.

E: Yes, a dozen; and as many to the vantage as would store the world they played for. 

But I do think it is their husbands' faults
If wives do fall: say that they slack their duties,
And pour our treasures into foreign laps,
Or else break out in peevish jealousies,
Throwing restraint upon us; or say they strike us,
Or scant our former having in despite;
Why, we have galls, and though we have some grace,
Yet have we some revenge. Let husbands know
Their wives have sense like them: they see and smell
And have their palates both for sweet and sour,
As husbands have. What is it that they do
When they change us for others? Is it sport?
I think it is: and doth affection breed it?
I think it doth: is't frailty that thus errs?
It is so too: and have not we affections,
Desires for sport, and frailty, as men have?
Then let them use us well: else let them know,
The ills we do, their ills instruct us so.

D: Good night, good night: heaven me such uses send,
Not to pick bad from bad, but by bad mend!


1. Address the following prompt

The opinions that Rosalind, Viola, and Emilia offer about love above disprove the negativity that Venus and Adonis express about the subject: yes or no?

Keep in mind: just like Emilia, Viola, and Rosalind neither Venus nor Adonis is disinterested (i.e., neutral). He does not desire the Goddess of Love, yet to justify his viewpoint, he mouths platitudes about the differences between love and lust. He has no experience with either, of course. And  Venus has her own bias, which fulfills Shakespeare's etiology about love. She is angry, disappointed, and grief-stricken at Adonis's death--so we will all suffer as a result!


2. Relate your evidence to the other quotations above. Be specific

Which words or phrases from Venus are important to read in the context of each selection? Why does your evidence matter?Explain, specifically, how it relates to your argument regarding the prompt. 

3. Devote a solid paragraph-page to each quotation

Paragraphs should be focused on a single topic, with topic sentences, evidence, and analysis. They should not consist of a series of broad, unrelated statements. 

4. Avoid summary or storytelling: analysis only, please

What each quotation says is fairly clear. So there's no need to rehash or summarize the Shakespeare. Assume we can all read it. Why does it matter? Why is it important? What insight can you bring to the material? 

5. Check out the Writing page

 Go up to the site menu and click on Writing. Pay special attention to the sections on analysis, lead-ins and quotations, and quoting poetry. 

We cite Shakespeare in parentheses by (Play abbr. act.scene.line-numbers)

Due date for second exam (and the revision of your first exam, if you do it): Monday, 30 April, 9 a.m. via e-mail.

I generally do  not return final exams with commentary unless the student specifically requests it.  If this is your wish, notify me by e-mail.