Dreams, Rivalries and Romance

Ref: C3741416

In the Autumn we will consider Shakespeare's 'Cymbeline' and Dylan Thomas's 'Under Milk Wood'. 'Cymbeline' tries to combine romance, tragedy,comedy and history. How successfully does Shakespeare connect two contrasting plots? In 'Under Milk Wood' does Thomas depict a rural paradise or a community troubled by dreams, fears, longings, gossip, and fantasies about sex? As well as discussing the themes we will also consider Thomas's superb experiments with language. The second term begins with Shakespeare's 'King John'. Does this play show us that politics is a chaos of opportunism, and uncertainty? How powerfully does Shakespeare dramatise the theme of mistaken assumption, and the consequences of unexpected events. The course will end with Chekhov's 'Uncle Vanya'. Instead of creating a conventional plot full of exciting events, Chekhov gives us a new kind of drama. He unfolds the psychological predicaments of confused characters who are often aware of the boredom of life.

Course aim

We will study the themes, style and structure of two challenging plays by Shakespeare. We will also discuss two contrasting comedies.

Do I need any particular skills or experience?

  • The course is for anyone who is interested in Literature. Although the course is taught at Level 3, there are no entry requirements apart from an interest and enthusiasm for literature.

By the end of the course I should be able to:

  • Discuss the social, psychological and moral themes.
  • Comment on the language and imagery of key passages.
  • Discuss the unique structure of each play.
  • Provide evidence for arguments and counter-arguments.
  • Discuss the cultural, social and political contexts.

How will I be taught?

  • Your tutor will encourage you to take part in discussion. Each week you will be given questions and issues to think about in preparation for the next week's session. You will have the opportunity to introduce a topic, but this is not required.

What kind of feedback can I expect?

  • The tutor will give you informal feedback on your progress. You can contact the tutor by email if you need advice or feedback. The tutor will give you advice about how to build up your confidence if you feel shy about participating.

What else do I need to know?

  • For the first session, you will need to bring a copy of Shakespeare's Cymberine.

Pre-course work, reading and information sources

  • It would be helpful if you could read the whole play before the first meeting. At the first meeting we will be concentrating on Act 1.

What can I do next?

  • Progress to another WEA course
  • Become involved with the WEA in a range of voluntary work and other activities including campaigning as a WEA member
  • You could progress to Higher Education courses. Follow link to the PEARL website for information http://pearl.open.ac.uk/

Download full Course information sheet

Dreams, Rivalries and Romance


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