ENGL 133
Shakespeare's Uncertain Ends Fall 2018
Division I Writing Skills
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We’ve come to expect that the heroes of Shakespeare’s tragedies learn something. Othello, Lear, Hamlet, Macbeth, and all the others, are supposed to achieve some kind of clarifying self-knowledge as a reward for their terrible suffering. After all, the heroes’ flaws are revealed and their delusions are exposed so that they can eventually understand what has happened to them and why. They are meant to learn from their suffering. Or so we’d like to think. But the plays don’t always cooperate with our desire for some compensating enlightenment. We don’t always come away with a clear sense that Shakespeare’s tragic heroes have arrived at a true self-recognition; in other words, they don’t always fully grasp how their fate is implicated in their character. Nor are we granted an obvious, edifying moral to compensate for the misery we witness. What, then, do we discover at the end of a Shakespeare tragedy?
The Class: Type: seminar
Limit: 19
Expected: 19
Class#: 1654
Grading: no pass/fail option, yes fifth course option
Requirements/Evaluation: three essays (two 5-page essays and one 10-page essay), short writing assignments, class participation
Prerequisites: none
Enrollment Preferences: first-year students
Distributions: Division I Writing Skills

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