Reading Shakespeare: The Pleasure of Tragedy
In this eight-week class, we will examine the pleasure we derive from tragedy through discussions of Hamlet, Othello, and King Lear. Why are these plays continually popular? Why do we return to them despite stories that fill us with pity and terror? Scenes of violence rivet our attention. Wicked characters fascinate us. Evil and grace clash, often to the detriment of the latter. Yet this is the very nature of tragedy, a literary genre which appeals both to our hearts and to our aesthetic sensibilities. This class, then, has a double focus. We will discuss the plots, characters, and issues specific to Hamlet, Othello, and King Lear. We will also attempt to answer, as a group, a broader question: How can we explain the delight we derive from great works of art like these - works that disturb us, yet somehow also soothe us, teach us, and inspire us?
You'll Walk Away with
- A familiarity with Shakespeare's great tragedies
- An understanding of why Shakespeare's works still continue to resonate today
- Those interested in the study of the classics
- All members of the community—working, retired, and in between