Introduction to Shakespeare

I.     Course Prefix/Number: EGL 234

       Course Name: Introduction to Shakespeare

       Credits: 3 (3 lecture; 0 lab)

II.    Prerequisite

EGL 101 or placement into EGL 101.

III.   Course (Catalog) Description

Course introduces the study of Shakespeare through focus on six to eight plays, selected from among comedies, tragedies and histories. Content includes social, cultural, literary, and historical context of the plays; changing interpretations; individual examples of performance taken from films, recordings, and attendance at local theatres (when possible); terminology and methods of literary analysis and evaluation.

IV.   Learning Objectives

The student will be able to:

  1. Identify the distinctive characteristics of the conventions of Shakespearean comedy, tragedy, history, and romance.
  2. Explain Shakespeare’s techniques of characterization with regard to the protagonist, antagonist, foil, clown, fool, humour character, etc.
  3. Interpret the formal elements of Shakespearean language using appropriate terminology, such as: speaker, metaphor, symbolism, irony, tone, meter, rhyme, simile, personification, etc.
  4. Analyze Shakespearean works in the context of their literary, cultural, and historical backgrounds.
  5. Synthesize knowledge of genre, formal elements, and background material.
  6. Incorporate secondary sources in the analysis and interpretation of literary texts.

V.    Academic Integrity and Student Conduct

Students and employees at Oakton Community College are required to demonstrate academic integrity and follow Oakton's Code of Academic Conduct. This code prohibits:

• cheating,
• plagiarism (turning in work not written by you, or lacking proper citation),
• falsification and fabrication (lying or distorting the truth),
• helping others to cheat,
• unauthorized changes on official documents,
• pretending to be someone else or having someone else pretend to be you,
• making or accepting bribes, special favors, or threats, and
• any other behavior that violates academic integrity.

There are serious consequences to violations of the academic integrity policy. Oakton's policies and procedures provide students a fair hearing if a complaint is made against you. If you are found to have violated the policy, the minimum penalty is failure on the assignment and, a disciplinary record will be established and kept on file in the office of the Vice President for Student Affairs for a period of 3 years.

Please review the Code of Academic Conduct and the Code of Student Conduct, both located online at

VI.   Sequence of Topics

Assignments based on reading of six to eight plays; for example:  Henry IV; Part I; A Midsummer Night’s Dream; As You Like It; Hamlet; King Lear; The Tempest.

VII.  Methods of Instruction

Methods include lecture, discussion, collaborative work, student presentations, quizzes and other assignments which foster critical analysis of the subject matter.  In addition, video clips from the plays studied are incorporated into many classroom sessions.  As an optional activity, tickets will be available at a student rate to the Chicago Shakespeare Theater, after the group determines when it would be best for them to attend.

Course may be taught as face-to-face, hybrid or online course.

VIII. Course Practices Required

Course may be taught as a face-to-face, hybrid or online course.

Students will come to class with assigned materials already read and prepared for discussion.  Journal entries, three tests and a final exam and three 3-5 pages papers will be required, as well as one in-class presentation of a paper.  Detailed hand-outs on these assignments will be provided.

IX.   Instructional Materials

Note: Current textbook information for each course and section is available on Oakton's Schedule of Classes.

Assigned texts of the six plays to be studied.  Audio-visual aids as provided in class.  Other handouts and materials, as distributed.

X.    Methods of Evaluating Student Progress

3 papers, 3 tests, 1 presentation, each 10% of grade; total 70%.
Final exam, 20% of grade.
Journal, 10% of grade.

XI.   Other Course Information

If you have a documented learning, psychological, or physical disability you may be entitled to reasonable academic accommodations or services. To request accommodations or services, contact the Access and Disability Resource Center at the Des Plaines or Skokie campus. All students are expected to fulfill essential course requirements. The College will not waive any essential skill or requirement of a course or degree program.

Oakton Community College is committed to maintaining a campus environment emphasizing the dignity and worth of all members of the community, and complies with all federal and state Title IX requirements.

Resources and support for
  • pregnancy-related and parenting accommodations; and
  • victims of sexual misconduct
can be found at

Resources and support for LGBTQ+ students can be found at

Electronic video and/or audio recording is not permitted during class unless the student obtains written permission from the instructor. In cases where recordings are allowed, such content is restricted to personal use only. Any distribution of such recordings is strictly prohibited. Personal use is defined as use by an individual student for the purpose of studying or completing course assignments.

For students who have been approved for audio and/or video recording of lectures and other classroom activities as a reasonable accommodation by Oakton’s Access Disabilities Resource Center (ADRC), applicable federal law requires instructors to permit those recordings. Such recordings are also limited to personal use. Any distribution of such recordings is strictly prohibited.

Violation of this policy will result in disciplinary action through the Code of Student Conduct.