This course offers an introduction to some of Shakespeare’s greatest and most popular works, with no prior experience expected or required. We will read some of Shakespeare’s poetry and plays including comedies such as A Midsummer Night’s Dream, tragedies such as Othello, and romances such as Cymbeline and A Winter’s Tale. We will engage these texts through a range of critical lenses and will discuss how the plays interact with our own ideas about gender and sexuality, political power, and race and religion. Our coursework will cultivate critical skills in reading and writing about language, literary form and historical context. We will also explore how Shakespeare’s plays can be performed through an in-class performance assignment. Additional course requirements include short response papers (3-4 pages each), two exams, attendance, and participation in discussion.