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1. Three Acts of Comedy, Two of Tragedy
About this Lecture
In this first module, we explore the ‘generic engineering’ of Romeo and Juliet – Shakespeare’s deployment of comedic devices in a play that ultimately turns out to be a tragedy.
In this course, we explore several aspects of Shakespeare’s Romeo and Juliet, thinking in particular about the play in performance. In the first module, we think about how Shakespeare manipulates, fuses, and pays with genre, before moving on to think about the Queen Mab speech and Romeo and Juliet’s relationship with A Midsummer Night’s Dream (written at the same time and performed in the same season). After that, we explore the three female characters in the play – Juliet’s mother, Juliet’s nurse, and Juliet herself – before focusing on the mock-death scene (and comparing it to a similar scene in Cymbeline). In the final module, we think about the relevance of the play to modern audiences, exploring five influential and enlightening adaptations of the original play.
Born in Bristol, and educated at Oxford and St Louis, Dr John Lennard has taught English, American, and Commonwealth Literature in Cambridge, London, and Jamaica over more than twenty years. He has written two widely used textbooks (on poetry and drama) and monographs on Shakespeare, Paul Scott, Nabokov, and Faulkner, as well as two collections of essays on contemporary genre writers in crime, science fiction and fantasy, and romance. Enthusiastic, discursive, widely knowledgeable, and a demon for punctuation (on which he has also published extensively), he has been a popular Summer School Course Leader and lecturer for the Institute of Continuing Education since 1992.
Cite this Lecture
Lennard, J. (2018, August 15). Shakespeare: Romeo and Juliet - Three Acts of Comedy, Two of Tragedy [Video]. MASSOLIT. https://massolit.io/courses/shakespeare-romeo-and-juliet-john-lennard/three-acts-of-comedy-two-of-tragedy
Lennard, John. "Shakespeare: Romeo and Juliet – Three Acts of Comedy, Two of Tragedy." MASSOLIT, uploaded by MASSOLIT, 15 Aug 2018, https://massolit.io/courses/shakespeare-romeo-and-juliet-john-lennard/three-acts-of-comedy-two-of-tragedy