Shakespeare's women: Rosalind, Ophelia, Lady Macbeth
Time: 10:00 - 12:00
This course will be delivered online. See the ‘What is the course about?’ section in course details for more information.
Course Code: HLT188
Duration: 3 sessions (over 3 weeks)
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What is the course about?
The course will explore the representation of three of Shakespeare’s female characters: Rosalind (As You Like It), Ophelia (Hamlet) and Lady Macbeth (Macbeth). We will consider their wit, madness and ambition, through discussion of Shakespeare’s language, the historical context, and the plays in performance.
This is a live online course. You will need:
- Internet connection. The classes work best with Chrome.
- A computer with microphone and camera is best (e.g. a PC/laptop/iMac/MacBook), or a tablet/iPad/smart phone/iPhone if you don't have a computer.
We will contact you with joining instructions before your course starts.
What will we cover?
We will explore the following:
Rosalind in ‘As You Like It’: wit, comedy and the performance of gender.
Ophelia in ‘Hamlet’: madness and the cultural legacy of Ophelia.
Lady Macbeth in ‘Macbeth’: ambition, sexuality and female agency.
We will pay close attention to Shakespeare’s language and its effects, and we will also consider how the historical context can inform our understanding of these characters. We will also compare some different performances to explore some of the ways in which these roles have been interpreted.
What will I achieve?
By the end of this course you should be able to...
Understand and define some of the ways in which Shakespeare’s language creates character and drama in these plays.
Understand and define some of the ways in which historical context and performance can inform our reading of the female characters in these plays.
What level is the course and do I need any particular skills?
The course is open to all; you do not need to have prior knowledge of Shakespeare's plays to participate.
How will I be taught, and will there be any work outside the class?
You will be taught through close reading of set extracts, online class discussion, short video clips of performance extracts, and visual slides.
It is recommended that you read or watch each play before the relevant class for maximum enjoyment, starting with As You Like It. Subsequent plays will be Hamlet and Macbeth.
The course will be taught online through close reading of textual extracts (provided in advance), visual slides, video clips and class discussion.
You may be given optional short questions/exercises to guide your reading or to prepare for a class.
Are there any other costs? Is there anything I need to bring?
You will need to read read and/or watch the set plays. Key extracts and online performance links for discussion will be provided online in advance of the class, so you can read any edition, but the Arden (Third Series) editions are recommended.
When I've finished, what course can I do next?
You may be interested in the following course by the same tutor: HLT207 Wild Justice: Hamlet, Dr. Faustus, the Duchess of Malfi and other relevant courses, including HLT42 An Historical Tour of Drama, HLT24 Classic Drama, HLT305 Reading Shakespeare: a director's perspective - look for these and other coureses on our website at www.citylit.ac.uk under History, Culture and Writing/Literature/Drama.
Sophie has taught Literature, Performing Arts and Interdisciplinary Arts and Humanities for over twenty years, working for the Open University, Leeds University, and a range of Adult Learning Institutions before joining City Lit. Previously she freelanced as a theatre and opera director in community theatre and at English National Opera. She has an MA in Nineteenth Century English and American Literature, and a PhD in Early Modern Life Writing. She brings both experience and enthusiasm to her work with adult audiences.
Please note: We reserve the right to change our tutors from those advertised. This happens rarely, but if it does, we are unable to refund fees due to this. Our tutors may have different teaching styles; however we guarantee a consistent quality of teaching in all our courses.