OXFORD TUTORIALS

SHAKESPEARE: CHIVALRY IN SHAKESPEARE
THE EIGHT GREAT HISTORIES

Reading & Assignment Schedule,

First Semester
WEEK
Session/Date            Play/Act(s)

Date        Play/Act(s)
1. Richard II, Act 1                                 
2. Richard II, Act 2 
3. Richard II, Act 3 
4. Richard II, Acts 4-5             
5. Henry IV, Pt. 1, Act 1 
6. Henry IV, Pt. 1, Act 2
7. Henry IV, Pt. 1, Act 3
8. Henry IV, Pt. 1, Acts 4-5  
9. Henry IV, Pt. 2, Act 1
10. Henry IV, Pt. 2, Act 2
11. Henry IV, Pt. 2, Act 3
12.  Henry IV, Pt. 2, Acts 4-5
13. Henry V, Act 1     
14.  Henry V, Acts 2-3                       
15. Henry V, Acts 4-5
16. Semester Exam

Second Semester

WEEK
Session/Date            Play/Act(s)
1. Henry VI, Pt. 1, Act 1
2. Henry VI, Pt. 1, Act 2
3. Henry VI, Pt. 1, Act 3
4. Henry VI, Pt. 1, Acts 4-5    
5. Henry VI, Pt. 2, Act 1
6. Henry VI, Pt. 2, Act 2
7. Henry VI, Pt. 2, Act 3
8. Henry VI, Pt. 2, Acts 4-5
9. Henry VI, Pt. 3, Act 1
10. Henry VI, Pt. 3, Act 2
11. Henry VI, Pt. 3, Act 3          
12. Henry VI, Pt. 3, Acts 4-5
13. Richard III, Act 1
14. Richard III, Act 2
15. Richard III, Act 3
16. Richard III, Acts 4-5

Course Description & Required Texts
:

This full-year (two semesters) course covers eight of Shakespeare's historical plays (or "Histories').  Although not as 'light' as the Comedies, the Histories do include some humor and involve some of Shakespeare's most fascinating characters, including the unforgettable and comical Sir John Falstaff and the valiant Henry V.  Students will be introduced to enduring questions about leadership in general, and kingship in particular.  They will investigate the causes behind the Wars of the Roses and the virtues within the medieval code of chivalry.  Students will analyze literary devices and participate in a 'Readers' Theater.'  Students are encouraged to attend a live performance of Shakespeare, and to watch at least two video productions of Shakespeare's plays. There will be weekly reading assignments as well as assigned parts to read in class. The tutor sets the scene with historical background and guides discussion of selected themes and topics.

First Semester (covering the period from 1398-1420): Richard II (New Folger Library/ Mass Market, 1996: ISBN 0671722832); Henry IV, Part 1 (New Folger Library/Mass Market, 1994: ISBN 0671722638; Henry IV, Part 2 (New Folger Library/ Mass Market, 1999: ISBN 0671722646); and Henry V (New Folger Library/Mass Market, 1995: ISBN 0671722654).

Second semester (covering the period from 1422-1485): Henry VI, Parts 1-3 and Richard III. The first three plays are available in a single, economical volume under the title: Henry VI, Parts 1-3 (Penguin/Mass Market, 1989:
ISBN 0451523121). Richard III is available in a separate Penguin Edition (Penguin, 2000: ISBN 0140714839).

Course Requirements:

Students are responsible to keep up with the weekly reading assignments (one or two Acts per/week) and to take a weekly reading quiz (“Finish This Line”) at the beginning of each class.  They are also to read the Summaries & Study Questions for each play before reading. The Study Questions are meant to be a guide to assist students with their reading and comprehension.  Students are not required to write out or turn in their answers to the instructor.  In addition to the weekly reading assignments and quizzes there will be two other assignments each semester, as follows:

1st Assignment: Study the Literary Glossary and Literary Devices provided by the tutor.  Be prepared to use these terms and to give examples of these devices in class discussions, and to take a Midterm Exam on both (Matching and Multiple Choice).  Students will be encouraged to know that a mastery of these literary terms is a key component in the Advanced Placement English Exams (each of which can be worth up to a full year of college credit).

2nd Assignment: Pick a passage of at least  twenty lines from Henry V.  Memorize the passage for recitation in class.  Be prepared to answer questions about the context and significance of the passage, as well as the meaning of specific terms and phrases, and the use of specific literary devices.

3rd  Assignment: Pick a character and write a succinct, expository essay of 300-500 words topic:

                      “The Development of [Your Selection's] Character in Shakespeare"

Analyze the methods which Shakespeare utilized to reveal this particular character.  Include references to the implicit and explicit revelations of this character's motives, ethics and agenda.  Address the question of whether or not Shakespeare's characterization is realistic, convincing, over-simplistic or stereotypical.   Students will be encouraged to know that this kind of skill, the ability to evaluate and articulate character development, is another critical component in the Advanced Placement English Exams.  Students may also be encouraged to take a greater interest in the importance of character through this kind of exercise.  As one of our early patriots, Samuel Adams, once said: "The public cannot be too curious concerning the characters of public men.”

 4th Assignment:   Write a book review on Henry V
           (250-400 words = one or two type-written pages)

A book report is completely factual. It includes information on the author, title, place and year of publication as well as a summary of the content of the book. A book review, on the other hand, is much more personal. It is really an expression of the reader's opinion of the work, or of specific aspects of the work.   Here are some guidelines:

         Guidelines for Writing a Book Review on Fiction:
You have read your book. Your next step will be to organize what you are going to say about it in your report. Writing the main points in an outline will help you to organize your thoughts.  What will you include in the outline?  Start with a description of the book. The description should include such elements as:

1. The setting--where does the story take place? Is it a real place or an imaginary one? If the author does not tell you exactly where the story is set, what can you tell about it from the way it is described?

2. The time period--is the story set in the present day or in an earlier time period?  Is it set in the future?  Let your reader know.

3. The main character(s)--who is the story mostly about? Give a brief description. Often, one character can be singled out as the main character, but some books will have more than one.  When there are several main characters, you are free to focus on one which is of particular interest to you. 

4. The plot--what happens to the main character? WARNING! Be careful here. Do not fall into the boring trap of reporting every single thing that happens in the story. Pick only the most important events. Here are some hints on how to do that. First, explain the situation of the main character as the story opens. Next, identify the basic plot element of the story--is the main character trying to achieve something or overcome a particular problem? Thirdly, describe a few of the more important things that happen to the main character as he/she works toward that goal or solution. Finally, you might hint at the story's conclusion without completely giving away the ending.

5. The conclusion-- The four points above deal with the report aspect of your work. For the final section of your outline, give your reader a sense of the impression the book made upon you. Ask yourself what the author was trying to achieve and whether or not he achieved it with you. What larger idea does the story illustrate? How does it do that? How did you feel about the author's style of writing, the setting, or the mood of the novel. You do not have to limit yourself to these areas. Pick something which caught your attention, and let your reader know your personal response to whatever it was.   (Adapted from the Lakewood Public Library Online: Lakewood, Ohio: http://www.lkwdpl.org/)